Monday, September 17, 2012

Scot's Granola

Are you a cereal person?  Scot is.  Before we met, cereal might have been 50% of his diet.  His favorite is Cinnamon Toast Crunch.  And after we met, I started eating cereal for breakfast too.  It is easy.  And Cinnamon Toast Crunch is unfortunately really delicious.

We weren't allowed to eat that growing up.  My dad only bought Raisin Bran, Off brand Cherrios (not honey nut), Corn Flakes, or even Grape Nuts.  We would beg my dad to let us get things with marshmallows in it and he always claimed that it was just sugar.  Now, I think:  "Go Dad!"  Then, I was just jealous of all the kids on TV who looked so happy eating Cocoa Krispies.  Or do you remember that one cereal which was basically a box of mini chocolate chip cookies?

Anyways, Cinnamon Toast Crunch is delicious.  And even after transitioning to shopping at Whole Foods only, they have their own "Organic, All Natural, Secretly exactly the same as CTC" version.  And it is just as good.  And I was not convincing myself that it was somehow better for me, they just sold it (they don't sell any regular grocery store cereals at WF) of course, I bought it.

About a year ago, Scot and I decided to remove all processed foods from our diet.  I am not crazy.  I am not going to refuse processed foods as a guest in someone's house or make my own yogurt.  But we did want to make sure to cut out foods that we regularly eat.  For us, the only thing left to cut out was cereal.  

I remember a while back, I wrote about how I was trying to eat savory breakfasts, instead of sweet.  And I still prefer that.  However, I never jumped on the breakfast soup train.  I still haven't been able to eat leftover dinner food for breakfast.  The only savory option that has stuck with me is eggs and toast.  And I probably eat that over 50% of the time.  Other than that, I either eat oatmeal or granola.

Scot is more like 95% of the time, he eats granola.  And he goes all out.  He starts with the granola, adds milk, then drinks all the milk right away.  He tops it with greek yogurt, a banana and usually some berries (often blueberry).  I usually just do milk and yogurt.

And this recipe is the granola I make him, approximately every two weeks.  Except for the times I am too lazy and we have to buy granola in bulk from WF (which is honestly about 20% as good as this).  It is "his" because it is all the things he really likes:  maple syrup, pecans, and coconut.  And lots of fiber (oats and flax).  We haven't been adding the dried fruit lately because we always put fresh fruit in it.  But it is good both ways.

Lastly, I have to admit that this is the best way to make granola.  But this isn't the only way I make granola.  I do get lazy and skip steps.  Sometimes, I just don't feel like pre toasting everything, so I skip that step (and leave out the amaranth completely).  Sometimes I completely leave out the oil, to make it a little healthier (still tastes great).  Sometimes I throw it in with whatever else is in the oven at the time (I have baked this at 400° and it turned out just fine).  But I love this version the best.  Don't let it overwhelm you though, you can just throw everything into a mixing bowl, roughly measure, pour on a baking sheet and bake until toasty.  Still real good.

PS:  If you are curious about "my" version.  I like only honey, only almonds, and no coconut.  I also really like to add dried currants to mine.  But in general, you can swap out any nuts, sweetener, and/or dried fruits.  And add any extras like coconut and spices.

Scot’s Granola

2 tbsp amaranth
2 cups pecans (whole)
1 cup almonds (whole)
1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
½ cup light cooking oil
6 cups oats (not instant or 1 minute)
¼ cup flax seeds
½ tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
½ cup maple syrup
¼ cup agave nectar
1-2 cups of dried fruit (optional)

Preheat the oven to 325°.

Preheat a dry, stainless steel skillet (with lid) to medium/medium-high heat.  Add 1 tbsp of amaranth, cover with lid and give it a shimmy shake.  Continue until most of the amaranth has popped.  Now, throw that popped amaranth away because you probably burnt it.  Repeat twice until you successfully pop and do not burn 2 tbsp of amaranth.  Transfer popped amaranth to a large mixing bowl. 

Toast nuts in the same skillet.  Once toasted, finely chop and add to mixing bowl.  Toast coconut in same skillet.  Once toasted, add to mixing bowl.  In same skillet, add the oats and the oil.  Cook until fragrant and lightly toasted, then transfer to the large mixing bowl.  Add flax seeds, salt and cinnamon to the mixing bowl and mix to combine all the dry ingredients.

Using the same half-cup measuring cup that you used to measure the oil (because then the syrup won’t stick), measure out the maple syrup and agave nectar (just eye ball it) and add to the mixing bowl.  Mix to combine and then transfer the mixture onto a large baking sheet.  Bake in the oven for 30-45 minutes or until desired crunchiness. 

Once the granola has cooled, mix in dried fruit (if desired) and place in sealed container to store. 

(Servings:  10, Prep time:  45 min., Cook time:  45 min., Difficulty:  Easy) 

Printable Version

foodforscot Ratings:

Shanon (taste):  9/10
Scot (taste):  10/10
Effort:  3/5
Dishwashing Effort:  3/5

Always protecting us from danger.