Friday, March 7, 2014

Maple Cinnamon Granola

Maple Cinnamon Granola
Granola is definitely one of my go to breakfasts, especially on mornings that I plan to workout and need something to sustain me for a couple of hours.  However, granola always seems to be up for debate as to whether it is healthy or not because although it is usually a great source of fiber and healthy fats it can also be very high in calories, fat and sugar.  This recipe gives you the option to adjust all that to your preference and decide how much sugar and fat you want to add.  I have to admit, as this recipe stands, it is a bit sweet for my taste, so I am sure the amount of maple syrup could be reduced, even by half, and it would still taste perfect.  I added in a lot of nuts as well, because I rely on them as protein and they usually prevent me from getting hungry for hours afterwards.  The dried blueberries are a healthy source of antioxidants and vitamins, although they also contain a lot of sugar.  But my kids love them and I love to see my kids eat what I bake, so I tossed them in at the end.  The result is an amazingly flavorful, indulgent breakfast that when served with some fresh fruit and a little organic milk, soy milk or Greek yogurt is a perfect way to start the day. 

* I like to top my serving of with a couple of tablespoons of chia seeds for an extra nutritional boost.

Maple Cinnamon Granola

4 C. organic old fashioned rolled oats
2 C. chopped raw pecans, divided in half
1/3 C. ground flax seed
1/3 C. wheat germ
1 T. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 C. organic canola oil
1/2 C. pure maple syrup
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 C. dried blueberries, optional

Preheat the oven to 325F.  In a large bowl, mix together the oats, half of the chopped pecans, flax, wheat germ, cinnamon and salt.  In a smaller bowl, whisk together the oil, maple syrup and vanilla really well and pour over the oat mixture.  Stir well to coat the oats completely and spread into one or two large baking pans.  Bake until dry and crisp, stirring at least once, about 25 -30 minutes.  Once cooled, mix in the remaining pecans and the dried blueberries, if desired. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a couple of weeks.

ready to pour into the pan

ready to bake

hot from the oven

finished product
The Perfect Breakfast

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