Simply beautiful...

Simply beautiful...

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Homemade Granola

Yesterday was a treat. What I mean is that my two kids napped at the same time... for a long time. When you have a toddler and a newborn, you learn very quickly that this is a treat. Along with a few other things I had to get done, I decided to make homemade granola during that quiet time. Our family loves having yogurt and granola or oatmeal for breakfast on a regular basis. I have tried purchasing several different kinds of granola and have found a few we all really like, but recently I had the itch to make our own.

I started simply by trying out my Aunt Mary's recipe. I remember going over to her house when I was younger and her pulling the freshly made granola out of her oven. It looked and smelled wonderful! So, that's where I started... with the one from my childhood memory. It turned out just as I remembered (even though I forgot to add the oil) and was perfect for breakfast this morning.

Aunt Mary's Granola:

2 cups organic old fashioned oats
1 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup wheat germ
1 & 1/2 cups nuts (almonds, pecans, walnuts, etc.)
1 tsp. salt
1 can Eagle Brand organic condensed milk
1/4 cup oil

*** Mix all and spread in a foil-lined pan. Bake at 350 for 1 hour. Stir occasionally. Remove and add 1 & 1/2 cups dried fruit (preferably unsweetened raisins, cranberries, apricots, etc.).
When I spend time making something, I love to know the health benefits as to why I chose certain foods. Here are a few for this granola recipe:
  • I used organic condensed milk to be sure it is free of any unnecessary antibiotics and hormones (I use all organic dairy products for this reason).
  • I also used walnuts for their omega-3 fatty acids. Having a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids can reduce risk of heart disease and stroke and can also reduce symptoms of hypertension, depression, ADHD, joint pain, etc.
  • I also like how this recipe incorporates wheat germ. Wheat germ is full of health benefits such as: digestive health/cleansing (through fiber), antioxidant power to defend cells against free radical damage (Vitamin E), helps your body with the metabolism of food (Vitamin B5/pantothenic acid), helps in the formation of hormones and "good" cholesterol (Vitamin B5/pantothenic acid), helps the body break down proteins and make red blood cells (Vitamin B6/pyridoxine), helps in the creation of antibodies in the immune system (Vitamin B6/pyridoxine), helps to make DNA (Vitamin B9/folate/folic acid), helps maintain normal brain function and is a critical part of spinal fluid (Vitamin B9/folate/folic acid).
I've seen quite a few variations I'd like to try, but next time I think I'll try a recipe that substitutes honey and brown sugar for the organic condensed milk. I'd also like to try using a different nut, but still get the health benefits of the omega-3 fatty acids by adding ground flax seeds to it. My sister-in-law has also given me another challenge... to make an allergen-free granola - one that is gluten, dairy, nut, and egg-free. I'll keep you posted on how those turn out!

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