Recipe: Homemade Granola

 Most commercial packaged granola are filled with simple sugars, white flour and butter, which do not compliment a healthy diet. I recommend making homemade granola if you want to control your sugar and fat intake. I consider granola a necessity since it provides ample amounts of fiber, vitamins, minerals and it also satisfies sweet and crunchy cravings. Granola is filled with a lot of good stuff, but too much of a good thing may be a bad thing especially when you buy it off the shelves at the market. It is although a fact that granola cannot become clusters without a sticky syrup like honey or maple syrup, but you can control the amount you put when you make this recipe at home. I’m all about knowing what you are eating, which is a good way to start a new food lifestyle. I’ve changed this recipe many times and there are many variations which have included orange juice or other dried berries, you can also create your own mix of nuts, sweeteners, spices and seeds. No one says you cannot create your own food:)  

Recipe: Granola with Almonds, Pumpkin Seeds, Flax Seeds, and Goji Berries
With Cold Pressed Coconut Oil, Honey and Coconut Palm Sugar

Ingredients: (makes about 3 weeks worth of granola if you eat ~2 handfuls a day) 

Rolled Oats (not quick oats)   1 kg 
Raw Almonds                          100 g
Raw Pumpkin Seeds               100 g
Flaxseeds (dark or light)       100 g
Goji Berries (unsweetened)  100 g



Honey                                     1 cup

Water                                      1/2 cup
Coconut Oil                          1/3 cup 
                                    + 1/3 cup separated
Ground Cinnamon              4 Tbsp 
Sea Salt                                  1/2 Tbsp 
Coconut Palm Sugar           1 Tbsp

N.B.  Coarsely ground the flaxseeds with a blender or food processor before you prepare the recipe to assure the preservation of nutrients. You never know how long the already milled ones have been sitting unrefrigerated at the store. You should store whole grains, whole wheat and whole nuts in refrigeration to prevent the natural fatty acids from going rancid. 

1) Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celcius and prepare 3 baking trays.

2) In a large mixing bowl combine the rolled oats, pumpkin seeds, almonds, cinnamon, salt and newly ground flaxseeds (grinding instructions above). 
3) In a measuring cup measure the coconut palm sugar, honey, water, 1/3 cup of coconut oil together as the lighter density liquids will sit on top of the higher density liquids for easy measuring. 
4) Pour the liquid into the oats mixture and mix thoroughly until all the oats are coated and forms clusters. 
5) Spoon out the combined mixture onto 3 separate baking trays and bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Check on the granola after 7 minutes to make sure the oven is not too hot or else it will burn the oats. 
6) Take the trays out of the oven and use a spatula to mix the clusters of oats around for even baking.  
7) Return the trays into the oven rotating their places in the oven and bake again for 10 minutes. 
8) While you wait, divide the Goji berries into 2.

9) After 10 minutes the granola should look golden brown. Take the trays out and turn down the oven to 140 degrees Celsius.  
10) Distribute 1/2 of the Goji berries into the 3 trays and mix thoroughly. 
11) Return the trays into the oven, again rotating their places in the oven for 5-8 minutes until the Goji berries puff up and turn a lighter orange in colour. 
12) Take the trays out and combine all 3 into a shallow mixing bowl or tray. 
13) Drizzle the other 1/3 cup of coconut oil onto the warm granola and mix together. This should give the granola a sheen.

14) Mix the remaining 1/2 of the Goji berries. Wait until the granola cools down before putting it into airtight containers. 
15) Serve with yogurt, almond milk, milk, kefir, coconut milk or just eat plain as a snack. 

Pseudo Nutrition Analysis:

There are pros and cons to making such a big batch, you can always share it with friends and family. With the humidity in Hong Kong. it is best to keep the granola in small airtight containers. This granola incorporates a vaste array of vitamins, minerals, protein, medium chain fatty acids, omega 3 fatty acids, fiber and complex carbohydrates all mixed in with only honey and palm sugar. I have begun to eliminate the palm sugar and just been using honey even when this low glycemic index sugar gives the granola a really toasty aroma and flavour. I am very satisfied with just the coconut oil and honey. I chose Goji berries as the dried fruit because it is one of those berries that are high in antioxidants,  and not as sweet as other dried fruits. With baking 1/2 of the berries, the berries become toasted and crunchy and leaving the other 1/2 to be chewy and sweet. The rolled oats provide most of the fiber even when the nuts and berries all have some and the flaxseeds are a good source of omega 3 fatty acids. Other than providing flavour and aroma, cinnamon is a spice that has been studied vastly to show a significant effect on glycemic control, according to a studied published in the International Journal of Preventative Medicine in 2012. This means cinnamon intake can help decrease fasting blood glucose, body fat mass, and triglycerides for those who are dealing with type 2 diabetes. 

My Granola 🙂

             I love starting my day with a handful of this good stuff with almond milk or coconut milk and I save another serving for a snack in the afternoon. I can guarantee to get a good serving of fiber and essential fatty acids with complex carbohydrates as well as just enough simple carbohydrates to ensure sustained energy levels throughout the day. Refer to my coconut oil blog post for the benefits of coconut oil. It is such an easy recipe to follow and relatively cheap compared to store bought granola also with less fat and sugar. Just make sure you do not sit there with a whole batch on your lap, only half a cup a time. Portion control is the key to success.

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