Saturday, February 26, 2011

Homemade Granola

I trudge down the stairs, kicking my backpack out of my path when I turn the corner. Another long day come and gone, and I am exhausted.
My bare feet hit the hardwood and I am surrounded by the smell of cinnamon, sugar and honey. I take a deep breath and inhale as I smile at one of life's simple pleasures: freshly baked anything.
While upstairs in my room, I am a slave to George Mason University, spending countless hours flipping pages and squinting at my laptop into the wee hours of the morning.
Downstairs in my kitchen, I decompress. My usually-very-structured self lets her hair down and I breathe. If you knew me, you would know if I have twelve hours in a day I fill eleven of them to the brim. When I cook, though I do enjoy the company of a friend or my mother, I do it for me.
While we all know I adore a monstrous brownie or three tier cake, there are also moments where my body needs something earthy. Something that will fuel me instead of just fill me.
And for that, I present you this granola. What starts as a lonley two cups of old fashioned oats evolves into a crunchy, sweet and salty combination sure to become a star on top of your yogurt, sprinkled on your cereal or grabbed in full handfuls straight from the container. The good thing about this recipe, adapted from Better Homes and Gardens, is that you can change things here and there to fit your taste.
I happen to be on a major sea salt kick, so with every bite of sweet honey and spicy cinnamon, you have the contrast of big salty crystals. Divine!

Homemade Granola
2 cups regular rolled oats
1 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup shelled sunflower seeds
1/4 cup toasted wheat germ
1/4 cup ground flax seeds
2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
1/2 cup honey
2 tbsp cooking oil
1 cup dried fruit (we used golden and regular raisins and cranberries)
2 tsp sea salt

1. Preheat oven to 300F. Grease a cookie sheet and set aside. In a large bowl, combine the oats, almonds, sunflower seeds, wheat germ, flax seeds and sesame seeds. In another bowl, combine honey and oil. Stir into oats mixture, making sure entire mixture is saturated.
2. Spread entire mixture evenly in the prepared pan and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake in oven for 30-35 minutes or until light brown, stirring at 20 minutes. Remove from oven after cooked and stir in dried fruit.
3. Spread on a large piece of foil to cool and store in an airtight container for up to one week.

I am off to a Mary Kay makeup party, oh sheesh. Happy weekend!


Monet said...

I wanted to say AMEN after each and every line. You captured my feelings about baking/cooking very well. And like you, I love making homemade granola. Thanks for sharing tonight! I hope you have a restful Sunday full of love and laughter!

Medifast Coupons said...

Great looking granola, can't wait to give this a try. The husband and I need this to sit and chill and catch up.