In honor of this lovely day, I offer a recipe which serves many purposes at the moment over here at Casa Reynolds:
- We are going camping this weekend, and I wanted to pack some granola for breakfasts, snacking and a possible impromptu berry crisp which may come together during an afternoon at the campsite.
- The granola at the stores are typically loaded with sugar and processed oils. They also tend to be stingy on the fruit and nuts, while costing a small fortune. Seriously! I have issues with paying $6.00 and up for rolled oats and additives.
- I cleaned out my pantry today, and found various bags of nuts, dried fruits and coconut used for previous baking adventures this year and wanted to get rid of recycle them into a new and improved product.
- I thought homemade granola would be another great endeavor for me to take on, since I always have so much free time before going on vacation.
*Insert dripping sarcasm here*
So without further ado, I offer you this:
Hug a Tree and Eat Some Granola on Earth Day Cereal
This recipe is very flexible, so use what you have on hand. If all you have are cashews (why anyone would have cashews laying around in their cupboards for longer than 2 days is beyond me, but whatev,) then use them. If you don’t have coconut, you can leave it out. And, the raisins can easily be dried blueberries, cherries, currants or any other dried fruit. Remember: one of the goals to this recipe is to reuse and recycle. Or, as I like to say, “consolidate and eliminate.” Now get cooking!
- 3 cups rolled oats
- 1 cup slivered almonds
- 1 cup cashews, or other nuts (I had walnuts and pecans, so that’s what I used)
- 1 cup shredded sweet coconut
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons oil (I used olive oil, because that’s all I had – you could use canola or any other vegetable oil)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup raisins or any other dried fruit such as currants, dried blueberries, dried strawberries or dried cherries
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon mace (optional)
- 1/4 cup ground flaxseed meal (optional) Again, don’t go and buy this if you don’t already have it in house. Yes, I do have ground flax seed meal in my fridge all the time, I’m freaky like that.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a large bowl, combing the oats, nuts, coconut, brown sugar, dried fruit and flaxseed meal.*
- In a measuring cup or small bowl, stir together maple syrup, oil, spices and salt. Pour over oat mixture and pour onto 1 large sheet pan, spreading evenly.
- Bake in oven for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes to achieve an even color, and to cook through.
- Remove from oven and let cool.
*Note to readers: After making this recipe, I would not add the dried fruit to the wet cereal mixture before baking. Rather, I would stir in the dried fruit once the cereal has baked in the oven for 30 minutes. The raisins seem a bit dried (duh, I know they are dry already, but they seemed to be even more dried and slightly burnt, due to the naturally high sugar content, I suppose.) Still, all in all; success.
Granola can be stored in a large (hopefully recycled) container in a cool, dark cupboard or pantry for 1 month. This made a huge amount of granola, I would say the equivalent of 2 ($7.00) boxes of cereal, for a fraction of the cost. And better ingredients.
Another Earth Day goal met and achieved!