I’m not much of a cereal eater. Fruit Loops would have been my go-to until I was well into my twenties. In fairness though, one box would last for months. During my pregnancy, nutrition became job one. When I found out that I was having twins, empty calories ceased to make it across my lips. I tried a plethora of breakfast grains. From holistic, all-natural gritty types to semi-refined border-line top shelf varieties. No luck. I decided cereal wasn’t for me.
Fast forward twenty-five years; Ralph and I are in London needing a quick breakfast. He convinces me to try the granola parfaits at the hotel coffee shop. Nose scrunched and throat constricted, I take my first bite. I loved it! It was like dessert. Lovely crunch, not to sweet with just the right amount of spice. We had it every day for the rest of our holiday. For whatever reason, once I was back in Canada, I went back to not eating cereal. Apparently, my British breakfast parfaits were my “what happens in London stays in London”! so sad…
About a month ago, I was wondering through a local farmer’s market where I spotted a beautiful display of granolas. All different types with beautiful packaging. I’m a sucker for the wrapper so I decided to buy a bag. When the vendor told me the price of my two cup bag of granola, I almost keeled over. Let’s just say, I understood why our London brekkie parfaits were so expensive. Begrudgingly, I bought my miniscule bag of cereal. Once home, I emptied the contents out on a plate to look for the gold. No gold found so I headed to the grocery store to see how much it would cost to make my own.
It turns out, it’s freakin’ expensive to make this stuff! Nice thing though, a little goes a long way. If you opted for boring run-of-the- mill ingredients, you could control the cost but if you’re going to the trouble to make your own granola you may as well use the fun stuff. I’ve made it a couple of times experimenting with maple syrup and honey. We prefer the honey version because it’s a little less sweet. What I love, most about making my own granola, beyond feeling super cool and hip, is the flexibility in the ingredient list. Pretty much everything works as long as you stick to the procedure and keep like ingredients together.
Having said all that and really being pleased with the end product, I still don’t like a bowl of cereal with milk. It takes me so long to finish the bowl, the last of it looks like bloated cardboard bits and the milk is lukewarm – YUCK! Next discovery: the versitile CEREAL BOWL – which is notably unlike a traditional bowl of cereal.
I wish I had thought of these breakfast bowls when my girls were little. I could have given each of them a little bowl of granola then put a variety of fresh fruits, seeds and yogurt [no more soggy cereal] in the centre of the table for them to design their own bowls . Breakfast would have turned into an art class!
This recipe makes a big batch of granola. I freeze half of it to keep it fresh where there’s just the two of us eating it. Whether you make your own or use a commercial product, granola is the perfect base for these lovely breakfast bowls.
Makes 12 cups
Preheat oven 325*F
4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup shredded coconut
½ cup slivered almonds
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups pecans, chopped coarsely
½ cup canola oil
¾ cup honey
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup golden raisins
1 cup dried apricot, chopped
½ cup dried pineapple, chopped
½ cup pumpkin seeds
- Line a large baking sheet with aluminium foil
- In a large mixing bowl, combine oats, coconut, ground cinnamon and almonds.
- In a separate bowl, whisk oil and honey together then pour over oat mixture until well coated.
- Dump onto foil lined baking sheet and spread out evenly with a spatula.
- Place in oven on lowest rack
- Bake for 15 minutes then stir and continue baking another 15 minutes or until the oats have browned nicely.
- Remove from oven and cool completely.
- When cooled mix with dried fruits
- Store your granola in a container with a tight lid.
- Granola will keep for 2 weeks at room temperature.
THE LOVE: If you like chunky granola don’t mix the granola as it’s baking. Pat the wet mixture down into the baking sheet with the back of a spatula and don’t disturb it while baking. Then, after cooking, you can remove it from the pan in granola chunks and store as indicated above.
Thanks for reading.