Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Healthy, Homemade Granola

For Christmas, my mother-in-law--knowing how much I like healthy, vegetarian foods--gave me a great cookbook: Moosewood Restaurant Cooking for Health. Moosewood is a vegetarian restaurant in update New York, and there are tons of cookbooks from the restaurant.

There are still many recipes in the cookbook I want to try, but one that I've made twice now is for granola. The first time, I followed the recipe exactly. This time, I did a few of the add-ons. It's the type of recipe that you can make it what you want.

1/4 cup vegetable oil (I used canola)
1/2 cup honey or pure maple syrup (I did 1/4 cup of each)
1 teas. salt
1 tbs. vanilla extract
2 cups coarsely chopped nuts (such as almonds, walnuts, cashews, hazelnuts)
6 cups rolled oats (just regular oats--not quick-cooking)
1/2 cup sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds (I've only used sunflower seeds)
2 tbs. brown sesame seeds (OK, I never used these, even the first time!)

Variations for this batch:
1/2 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut
some golden raisins

1. In a small sauce pan on low heat, warm the oil, honey/syrup and salt. Stir in the vanilla.

2. Place the nuts, oats, seeds and coconut in a large bowl and stir together. While stirring, gradually pour in the warm oil and honey, and stir until all of the ingredients are evenly coated.

3. Spread granola on an un-oiled baking sheet in a preheated 325 degree oven, bake for 30 minutes; stir after about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, and to prevent clumping, stir every 10 minutes or so until cool (I only did two stirs). Store in closed container at room temperature.

*I added the raisins to the bowl with the oats and everything else and baked everything together. The raisins got really big and some kind of burned. I think I'd add the raisins toward the end (maybe after the 20-minute stir mark) or when everything is done cooking.

I like the granola with milk and eat it like cereal. In plain or vanilla yogurt is good, too!

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