Scrumptious recipe at the bottom . . .
I’ve been in the kitchen again – well actually, I haven’t really been out of it much since I got the food mixer for my birthday! I’m having loads of fun, rekindling the passion I had for baking in my teenage years! I don’t seem to have had much time for it in the last ten years – I suppose life sort of got in the way a bit!
I’m not really what you’d call a master chef . . . Or even a minor chef for that matter, as I don’t really like cooking as such! I’m not sure know why I don’t like to cook – maybe because I have a sweet tooth (and baking’s much more fun!) . . .
Maybe because my mum used to serve us food doused in salt and boiled to within an inch of its existence when we were kids; just put me off cooking for life!!
Now I’m in the kitchen more these days, my husband’s getting a bit territorial, as he usually does most of the cooking! He says the kitchen is his domain and we should stay out of it! Once he tastes some of my creations, he usually relents . . .
I have a sweet tooth . . .
Because I have a sweet tooth, I’ve decided that I need to take a closer look at some of the traditional ‘sweet’ recipes that I used to love as a child, and see if I can ‘healthy’ them up a bit . . . That is replace the unhealthy ingredients for healthier ones! I’ve had some delicious successes so far – and one or two disasters . . !
This week healthy Granola has been on my ‘to-do’ list! Granola is one of those foods that by all accounts, really should be healthy – oats, nuts, seeds, dried fruit, etc . . . Where exactly can food manufacturers go wrong . . ??! Where indeed!!! On my last shopping trip, I looked at a few of the processed Granola’s on the shelves . . .
Trans-fats, Sugar, Sugar Syrup Powder, Flavouring, Glazing Agents, Antioxidants, Artificial Colouring, Glycerol, Sunflower Oil, Palm Oil, Citric Acid, Preservatives, Fructose, Emulsifiers, Modified Starch, Malt Extract, Salt, Sodium Bicarbonate, Ammonium Bicarbonate, Molasses, Invert Sugar Syrup . . . Etc (there were loads more more!!) . . . That’s where they go wrong!!!
As you can see; as with most processed foods, it is better to make it yourself! If you do take the time to make your own, you can be certain that you are only feeding your family good, wholesome ingredients, and not these artificial ‘foods’ – I don’t even know what half of these ingredients are let alone want my children to be eating them . . . Do you?!!
Make your own healthy granola!
I’ve made my own healthy Granola quite a few times already as it doesn’t last very long in my house – my family absolutely love it! It’s so versatile – you can put anything you like into it – there really isn’t a wrong way of making it . . . I even packaged it up at Christmas in some lovely little Kilner jars, and gave it to relatives for presents!
This recipe is super yummy and so flexible, and is free of all the nasty added sugar and salt you get in commercial granola! Below is my favourite cereal version, but there are many ways to tweak the recipe depending on your preferences. For the nuts you can put either all almonds or all cashews (or split them as listed below or even try a totally different type of nut). Also, the same thing works for the seeds – you can either put in all pumpkin seeds or all sesame seeds or put in half and half. You could easily play around with the amounts of sunflower seeds and flaxseeds as well.
I have it almost every morning for breakfast. Sometimes just in a bowl with milk, sometimes sprinkled over yoghurt. For a treat, I Like to chop an apple and cover it with Greek yoghurt, and sprinkle the Granola on-top – Delicious! My youngest daughter will just eat a big bowl of it on it’s own, and my husband likes to eat spoonfuls of Nutella (I’ve got a recipe for healthy Nutella that isn’t loaded with trans-fats and sugar too!) dipped in Granola!
Here’s my Granola recipe . . .
Don’t forget, you can add in other (healthy) ingredients like shredded coconut, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, etc; these are just the ingredients that I personally like!
- 3½ cups / 300g rolled oats
- ½ cup / 75g raw chopped almonds
- ½ cup / 75g raw chopped walnuts
- ½ cup / 75g raw chopped hazelnuts
- ½ cup / 75g raw chopped cashews
- ½ cup / 60g raw sunflower seeds
- ½ cup / 60g raw pumpkin seeds
- ½ cup / 60g dried chopped apricots
- ½ cup / 60g goji berries
- 3 tablespoons chia seeds
- 3 tablespoons flax seeds
- 6 tablespoons peanut butter (or coconut oil)
- ½ cup / 170g honey
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- Also need – parchment paper and a little coconut oil for brushing
#2. Mix the dry oats, almonds, cashews, walnuts, hazelnuts, seeds and apricots together in a large mixing bowl.
#3. Heat the peanut butter and honey together in a small saucepan over low heat. Once the butter melts stir in the vanilla and salt.
#4. Pour the hot liquids over the dry ingredients and stir together with a rubber spatula until evenly coated.
#5. Spread the mixture onto the prepared baking sheets in one even layer. Bake for 75 minutes.
#6. The granola will become crisp as it cools at which point you can break it up into small chunks by pounding it in a zip lock bag. Mix in the goji berries and store in an air tight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.
I used cups in my recipe because I got fed-up trying to convert all the American recipes I found on-line. I’ve done the conversions for you . . . But if you do decide to get some cups, I think you’ll find it’s much quicker and easier – you just scoop and go! Here’s the ones I got from Amazon – and they’re half-price at the moment too!
Let me know how yours turns out!!
Jo (The Baker!) Matthews xx 😉