Friday, December 31, 2010

Bountiful Granola - Homemade and WONDERFUL!

Today for the first time I made homemade granola...and for certain, it will not be the last.  I have been using the Kashi brand as that is about all that is available at our small town grocery store. At nearly $5 a box, topping my probiotic, plain organic yogurt off with granola could get expensive. I haven't had time to go into Madison to buy it bulk from larger grocers, as suggested by friends.

However, I was given a tip that I could buy ingredients for homemade granola in bulk at the Copp's off Century Ave. in Middleton, Wisconsin. Last week I made a point to get there, with a goal of making granola on one of my days off during winter break. I had found a master granola recipe - which basically consisted of rolled oats (not quick oats), brown sugar, a bit of wheat germ and salt...and to that you could add whatever. I added a plethora of healthful foods and tripled the size of the original recipe.

First, I chose to omit the sugars and opted for natural substances to hold my granola together, namely PURE maple syrup (definitely do not mistake Mrs. Butterworth or Log Cabin as healthy choices!), and agave nectar. One can substitute honey if you do not have access to the nectar, which comes from a plant and I discovered at Costco. I also added Arbonne's fiber booster powder as despite all the salads and fruit I eat, I am apparently still low on fiber. Below is a run down of my recipe:

Bountiful Granola - makes approx. 3 quarts

Dry Ingredients – fold together in a large bowl

3-4 cups organic rolled oats
2 cups sliced almonds
1 cup dark flax seed (lighter, if preferred)
1 cup raw pumpkin seeds (roasted if preferred, no salt)
¾ cup roasted, no salt sunflower seeds
¾ cup bulgar wheat
½ cup Bergin nut white sesame seed
3 T. Korintje cinnamon
2 T. wheat germ
1 scoop Arbonne Figure 8 Fiber booster (optional)
To add later:2 cups dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, pomegranate, etc)
Bring to simmer on stovetop:
2 T. unsalted butter
½ cup medium amber pure maple syrup (dark amber if available)
¼ cup agave nectar (honey may be substituted)
1 T. water (per the master recipe water will help your granola form clumps)

Fold dry ingredients together. Once butter is melted slowly add wet ingredients to dry mixture, mixing as you go. Place mixture into baking stones (bar pans works best) and pat to flatten out. Bake at 250 degrees for 20 minutes. Add dried fruit if desired, bake 10 min. more. Allow to cool, store in airtight containers and use over several weeks. May store in freezer as well.

You may use a metal cookie sheet, as instructed by the original recipe, but be sure to spray the pan with non-stick cooking spray. I love the baking stones as no additional oil needs to be added and my stones were essentially clean once I scraped the granola out once baked.  Also, the original recipe instructs to bake the granola, then add fruit, and bake ten minutes more. Honestly, I missed the part about adding it after the initial baking and mixed in dried fruit right after I folded in the wet ingredients. I used Craisins as I had no raisins on hand, and it seems just fine - not crunchy and over baked.
I also happen to LOVE cinnamon and it is good for you (if I recall correctly it helps control diabetes). I use Korintje cinnamon which I get from Pampered Chef, which is much more potent than other cinnamons we have used. I started with two tablespoons, and decided because my batch was so large, that another was needed for good measure. One can not have too much cinnamon, in my opinion. (LOL)
I added so many wonderful whole foods to my granola that I decided to call it "bountiful granola". It certainly is a good representation of the bounty God provides in order that we may eat healthy and take care of His temple, of which our bodies are. If you decide to make your own granola, or perhaps already do, I would love to hear what your favorite ingredients are. Since I am new to this I will be open for more ideas.
Have a wonderful and healthy new year everyone!
Rita S.

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