When you have to get out the door in a hurry, cold cereal is an easy choice for breakfast, but so many of the choices are high in sugar and low in health benefits. A few years ago, Clint and I started eating a bowl of bran flakes with a sliced banana and a sprinkle of granola on top for breakfast each mornin. It's hearty and nutritious, and the bran flakes complement the granola well. We found a yummy and inexpensive brand of granola at Aldi, and we stocked up on it. Then, a few months ago, I went in to resupply, and it was gone! Completely gone. I bought a different kind and when I was at the register checking out, I asked the cashier where my favorite granola was. She said Aldi was discontinuing it. Bad choice. Very bad choice.
I complained to Clint, and he said, Why don't we just make our own granola? I had thought about it before, but it seemed like it would be more expensive than store-bought once we added all the nuts and dried fruit and stuff. But he reminded me: the kind we liked best just had coconut and almonds, aside from the oats and stuff.
We decided to try it. After testing several recipes, we found our favorite on Martha Stewart's website (here). We tweaked it a bit, though, using the ingredients we already had. Here's how I made my granola this time:
1/3 cup canola oil
1/4 cup syrup (we've used honey too--it makes the granola taste better, I think, but we didn't have any)
1/2 cup brown sugar
4 cups rolled oats
1 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup flax seeds
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup chopped almonds
(NOTE: You don't need to use all of these nuts. You can use any kind you want--just make sure the total nut + coconut quantity is about 2-3 cups)
(SECOND NOTE: Do NOT add dried fruit at this point! It will burn in the oven and taste awful. Wait till your granola is done baking and then add it in. Learn from our mistake.)
Pour melted "syrup" over the dry ingredients and mix well.
Spread on a greased, rimmed cookie sheet and bake in a preheated (325 degrees) oven for 25-30 minutes, stirring every ten minutes of so.
Here's the granola before it's baked...you can see how pale the oats look.
When it's done, the oats will look golden brown and the nuts will be fragrant. Let the granola cool on the baking sheet, and then crumble it into small pieces. Store in an airtight container. It keeps for a few weeks--if it lasts that long!
And of course, an extra bonus: your house will smell delightful as it bakes.