Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Breakfast: Home Made (Almost) Raw Granola

Strangely enough, as a child one of my moms pantry staples was a no-name brand bag of almond & raisin granola. It was more of a last resort breakfast when there was seemingly nothing else. But I loved it. I seem to remember it being one of those things that I didn't eat often, but when I did I always wondered why I didn't eat it more frequently.

Flash forward to about 3 years ago, when I was struggling to figure out why my body was doing the obscure things it was doing. I kept a box of this amazing granola in my desk & ate it for breakfast every morning. I would sometimes have one of these tasty little pies for lunch, or there was always the pizza place down the street. Gluten, gluten everywhere...

When I learned that oats were somewhat of a no-no for someone who has just learned that they can't eat wheat, I was somewhat conflicted. And while I've never been completely "oat-free", I don't seem to have the troubles with them that others do.

Nowadays, Boston Pizza is a short drive away for fresh gluten free pizza (even though my pizza crust is better), but my granola craving is satisfied in the warmth of my own kitchen. People seem to think I'm some crazy hippie when I happen to mention that I make my own granola, but it's really just easier (and cheaper than any gluten free granola I've ever seen for sale).


6 cups uncontaminated oats
1/2 cup agave
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
healthy splash of home made vanilla
shredded coconut (optional)
good sprinkling of cinnamon


Preheat oven to 350F

Stir all ingredients together in a large bowl until the oats are completely coated.

Dump part of the mixture onto a baking sheet (a jelly roll pan with edges works better here than one without edges- reduces spillage). Don't put too much on at once, you want one thin layer, spread out to cover the entire sheet (You'll need to do 3+ cookie sheets worth, unless you have unusually sized sheets).

Bake for 7 minutes, flip & bake for an additional 7. Keep a close eye on them during the last few minutes of baking, as ovens do vary (but 3 different ovens in 3 different cities peg me at 7 minutes every time ;).

You'll notice after the first half of the baking that the oats closer to the edges of the cookie sheet become browned faster than the ones in the middle. Be sure to rotate the browned ones into the middle & vice versa.

See how the edges are just getting toasted?

If you're doing two pans at a time, rotate the pans between the top & bottom racks in the oven to prevent burning.

Repeat until all of your oats have been toasted.

Before & After

Let your oats cool fully before adding in the rest of the ingredients, otherwise the healthy oils in your nuts & seeds can turn into not-so-healthy oils

Now, I know that your house smells absolutely amazing right now & you're probably feeling the urge to have a bowl right now, but please take my word on this and don't. Warm granola isn't the best plan I'd ever had. "Warm out of the oven" seems like a no-brainer for anything resembling baking, but trust me on this... it makes the almond milk warm and really, it's just gross. 

I have found that a ratio of 6 cups oats to 8-9 cups of nuts/seeds is ideal for me. But I'll warn you- this breakfast cereal requires adequate chewing! After a big bowl, your jaw might be sore if you're not used to it. Add up the rest of your ingredients as you see fit. Great add-ins include:

sunflower seeds
pecans
walnuts
slivered almonds
pumpkin seeds
hazelnuts
brazil nuts

Nuts & seeds such as these are an awesome vegan source of protein & fiber along with all kinds of vitamins & minerals. Did you know that brazil nuts are the best food source of selenium around? AND they're awesome chopped up in granola! Since your nuts are raw, you're going to benefit from the enzymes as well. Walnuts are good for your brain, and pumpkin seeds support your prostate (if you've got one!).

Smaller ingredients such as hemp hearts & sesame seeds (which pack an amazing calcium punch) are best sprinkled onto the cereal on a bowl by bowl basis. Otherwise they sink down to the bottom of the storage container & are only included in your last bowl. Upon serving, I also enjoy dried cranberries, blueberries or raisins and a good splash of almond or coconut milk.

6 cups of oats plus 9 cups of nuts/seeds makes a LOT of granola! You can probably throw a bunch of this stuff in the freezer in (an) airtight container(s) or bag(s) until you run out of your stash in the fridge.  DO keep it in the fridge by the way, to preserve those healthy nut oils! All raw nuts should be stored away from light, heat & air. Consider this when you're buying them from the store too. Unrefrigerated bulk bin nuts & seeds aren't your best choice...


THIS on the other hand IS your best choice for an awesome breakfast!

4 comments:

  1. You're makin' me wish I wasn't allergic to nuts...

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  2. I love your granola, Kristin! I'm a girl who likes chewy granola. :-) You've given so many options that it's easy to make this nut free, too. Thanks for the warning on the warm version, too. ;-)

    Shirley

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  3. You Granola Eating Hippie, You! :~)

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