Healthy Hassle-free Home-made Granola

Alternative diets always fascinate me. I know I will never be able to stick to any one of these forever. Call it me being undisciplined or sheer lack of knowledge or just being plain lazy. However I feel I do follow various forms of these in bits and pieces. Why do I say that? I mostly eat vegetarian food that includes whole grains, nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables with the occasional eggs and chicken forming the only “meat” in my daily diet. Sometimes I turn gluten-free with portions of gluten-free grains like buckwheat, sorghum or millet. On other times I am more vegan when I don’t consume dairy, eggs or chicken. And of course I love raw fruits and veggies and freshly squeezed juices of all kinds.

Talking about raw food, the raw food diets are something that I have been reading lately. I found this definition on the raw food diet here that states “A raw foods diet consists of unprocessed raw vegan foods that have not been heated above 115 degrees Fahrenheit (46 degrees Celsius).” Also the best of raw foods on this link . I landed up reading a list of top 10 Raw food breakfast recipes here in which “Raw Granola” was one of the featured. Then the quest for  more information scouting, led me trying to analyse the differences between muesli and granola - the key difference being muesli is uncooked usually soaked in a liquid like milk or juice preferably overnight and then consumed with yogurt or milk . While granola is toasted with oil and honey to bring out the brown, nutty and flavorful taste. The ingredients over time are nearly the same and guess everyone uses what suits them most.

Hence here goes the next post of my version for a granola recipe - Well of course the Internet needs yet another breakfast recipe and that too for granola now.  But I must admit that I have never prepared granola before and I am very excited to have a new go-to homemade breakfast idea. While I am no expert on granola and how it must be made, putting together nuts, dried fruits , oats , honey and oil is not too difficult. BEWARE though - It will be difficult cutting the soaked almonds and dried apricots and seeds into smaller pieces since you will be distracted to constantly peck like a sparrow on the little pieces of fruit (Just like I kept doing :) ).  I do not have any measured proportions of what the quantities must look like but here is what I followed:

  • Create a base of the cereal you like – Rolled oats work for me but other ideas are rice crisps, millet crisps, bran, wheat germ, puffed whatever cereal that is raw and can be roasted.
  • Pick whole nuts – I like almonds and pecans. I have seen cashew nuts and walnuts added as well.
  • Add in flat seeds – I add in pumpkin seeds, white sesame seeds and sunflower seeds
  • Pick the sweet and chewy, dried fruit you like . I love dried apricots, dried cranberries , sultanas and raisins. Of course I would not use all at once, but rather like to pick a combination of 2 of these.
  •  Choose a flavor you will like . With the above combination of fruits that are toasted with honey and olive oil , I normally like to use cinnamon powder or vanilla extract. I am sure one can use cocoa and chocolate chips as well but I prefer no chocolate in this blend.
  •  I also add in a heaped spoon of ground flax seeds for added nutrition .
  • I am not a big fan of coconut flakes so did not end up using them.

Preparation: Soak the nuts and seeds in water for about 10-12 hours before you make the granola. (I have learnt the primary advantages of soaking nuts and seeds is to improve digestion and better absorption of the nutrients. ) In a large mixing bowl,  add in oats, soaked nuts, seeds and flax-seed powder and mix well with our hands. Spread over a baking tray – The wet soaked nuts and seeds will be baked in the oven so I end up sprinkling less than a tablespoon of olive oil for this tray below. Pour honey based on the desired sweetness you like. Also sprinkle the cinnamon powder or vanilla extract based on your preference. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 120 degree centigrade for about 1.5 hours until the nutty baked aromas start lingering in the house and the color turns golden brown. (I wanted to make it a raw granola by baking at 46 degree centigrade but I wasn’t patient enough to do so . Hence it does not qualify as raw granola I guess.) Also keep stirring the tray every 20-25 minutes to ensure the entire mix is being tossed alright and it does not burn. Once baked mix in the raisins, sultanas and  dried apricots. Serve warm or cool with yogurt or milk. I prefer to eat this with cut strawberries or blueberries or raspberries with a dollop of greek yogurt :)  Or better still just serve it just like that as a snack.

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Some interesting reads around the web on Granola:

1) Difference between muesli and granola on Livestrong

2) Muesli must not be confused with granola on the Food site  magazine.

3) Something on why muesli rules on The Kitchn

4) Almond Coconut Granola at Tasty eats at home

5) Homemade Granola

6) Cinnamon spiced mixed nut granola

7) Super Granola

Also since granola is something that I have never made before, this post is in particular for the link up party “Our Growing Edge” that urbanfoodlover has been invited to be included in the November roundup hosted by Becky from “My Utensil Cook“.  This monthly event aims to connect and inspire bloggers like us to try out new things. So a very BIG Thank you to the talented Genie from the fabulous blog “Bunny Eats Design” for inviting me to this link up party.

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