I try to stay away from processed foods. To my active imagination, anything labeled with multi-syllabic ingredients I can’t pronounce must have been created in a laboratory, not in a kitchen. It’s the main reason I’ve stayed away from breakfast cereals for years, but another motivating factor has been the amount of sugar these companies manage to pack in. We are not meant to consume the staggering quantities of sugar the processed food industry foists on us. I don’t know about you, but I do not feel well when I consume large amounts of the stuff, and a roller coaster ride of spiking blood sugar levels throughout the day leaves me lethargic, queasy and generally as spent as if I’d run a marathon. It’s very unhealthy and as we learn more and more about the value of good nutrition there’s a lot of evidence out there pointing the diabetic finger at these giants of industry.
I began making my own granola a few years ago and have found it super easy to make. The fact that I get to control exactly what goes in there is priceless. Packed with nuts and seeds, it is an extremely satisfying way to start the day. Since I’ve been eating it I don’t experience the mid morning ‘hungries’ (or ‘hangries’!) a drop in blood sugar is likely to produce. And at about 20 cents an ounce it’s just as affordable as a commercially available cereal on sale at your local grocery store, but WAY more healthy.
When I get down to tackling this project, I usually make about 12 Quarts. It goes fast in my house! You’ll need a large bowl, several sheet trays and an oven preheated to 350F.
With a high protein, low carb breakfast in mind I start with 4 cups regular oats mixed with 3 TBSP melted coconut oil and 1/4 cup maple syrup. If you like oats, there’s no reason why you couldn’t double, or even triple this amount. Spread them on a sheet tray and bake at 350F for about 15 minutes. Pour them it into your big bowl and begin baking the other ingredients, without oil, in the same oven. (nuts have natural oils so you don’t need to add any here). Pecans, walnuts, almonds, cashews, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds — any combination of your favorites in any amount. Bake each nut separately, being careful not to burn them — about 10 minutes per tray — and pour into the oat bowl. I like to add shredded coconut and organic raisins to the bowl with the oven-warm nuts and toss to combine. It softens them really nicely.
The beauty of this ‘recipe’ — such as it is — lies in its inherent flexibility. Add anything you want to it, in any combination. Chia seeds, hemp seeds, any dried fruit of your choice. Toss almond flour with some oil and sweetener and it will clump up a little, creating ‘nuggets’. Go heavier on the oats and lighter on the nuts. Add more sweetener, or toss in a medley of dried fruits. The choice is yours.
I eat mine every morning with some Greek yogurt and banana. Sometimes I add in a little apple sauce. My husband adds sweetener because, as you noticed, there’s very little added to the mix. It’s super easy to make, but a little time consuming if you’re doing a lot of nuts. It usually takes me about 1-1/2 hours, time well-spent when I think about the health benefits. Plus, it’s so delicious I find myself looking forward to breakfast. What more could you ask for?