From Granola Hater to Granola Maker (A Recipe)

December 10, 2012

For years and years, whenever I heard the word granola I would picture Birkenstocks, daily batches of homemade bread, charming wood stoves, and clothes hung out on a line to dry. In other words, I never considered that granola could be a part of my life because granola seemed to belong to a world that this modern, microwave mama could never aspire to.

I also had no clue what was in granola.  Bean sprouts? Crushed eggs shells? Tofu? Bird seed? Mysterious, organic, naturally grown health foods?  Exotic seeds and seasonings?  Certainly no ingredients that would ever be stocked on my non-exotic pantry shelves.

And so I spent many (sad and wasted) years convincing myself that granola was weird and that it probably tasted awful and all healthy-ish, and was definitely not a food for me. (Talk about making a decision based on zero evidence!)

But change was a’comin’!

My wonderful dad-in-law, Ken, is convinced that people’s taste buds change every seven years and lo and behold, somewhere in my 49th year, I found myself parked in the middle of the cereal aisle staring at a box of granola.  Yes, granola.  (And no, I was not wearing Birkenstocks.)

I pondered the picture on the front of box and thought, “You know what?  That looks like it would taste good sprinkled on some yogurt!”    

So I bought a box of granola. And sprinkled said granola on said yogurt.  And was happily surprised to find that I liked it.  Hooray for the 7-Year Taste Bud Switch!

Now fast forward from that Moment In The Cereal Aisle to the Saturday after Thanksgiving when we had some special guests coming for breakfast.

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We had never even met Matt and Theresa Steen in real life  but I’ve always believed that just because people are complete strangers is no reason not to have them over a meal.  I had run across Matt in an online blogging group I’m a part of and quickly discovered that in addition to being a blogger, he is also a pastor and has a website dedicated to pastors.  When I read on his blog that he and Theresa were coming to the Outer Banks, I invited them over for breakfast.  And they came!  And we had such fun!

And just how does this fit in with granola?

Well, when I woke up on the morning of the Steen’s visit and pondered my planned menu  (fresh baked muffins, yogurt, juices, grapes and sliced oranges), I thought, “It would sure be nice to have some granola to sprinkle on our yogurt but I don’t have any in the house and I don’t know how to make it.  And even if I did, I doubt if I have any granola-ish ingredients on hand.”

Imagine my surprise when I Googled granola and found recipes!  Tons of recipes! And I even found a recipe that called for ingredients that were actually on my shelves. 

I was so excited!  In one year, I had gone from a granola hater to a granola MAKER!

Here is the result of my first granola making expedition. And it was delicious!

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I served it to Matt and Theresa for our breakfast together . . .

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and I have eaten it for breakfast every day since.

I. Am. Hooked.

Here is this morning’s granola-centric breakfast.  

I started with old fashioned oatmeal with unpeeled diced apples stirred in halfway.  (I’ve also used blueberries, strawberries and peaches.)   I also added a couple teaspoons of brown sugar.  (A little vanilla stirred in is delicious, too.)

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I spooned on a couple dollops of vanilla yogurt.

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And then I added the crowning touch: Becky’s Homemade Granola . . .

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topped by a sprinkle of cinnamon.   

Just think!  In one bowl I am getting honey, olive oil, nuts, two kinds of fruit, oats, and dairy.  You just can’t believe how good and healthy and simple this breakfast is.

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Here is the granola recipe which I got from A Beautiful Mess.

2 cups oats (old-fashioned, not the quick cooking kind)
1 1/2 cups nuts/seeds of your choice  (I’ve used pecans and almonds–both are delicious.)
1/3 cup oil (I use olive oil)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
a pinch of nutmeg
a pinch of ginger
1/3 cup honey or maple syrup  (I used honey)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 
1/4 cup dried fruit or other additions you like. (I used Craisins.)

1. In a bowl, combine the oats and nuts/seeds.
2. Pour in oil and honey (or maple syrup) and stir to combine.
3. Add in seasonings and vanilla and mix well.
4. Spread out on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper and bake at 350 F for 30-35 minutes, stirring every 15 to make sure all pieces bake evenly.  
5. Add in dried fruit during the last 10 minutes of baking.

(To make chunky granola, simply don’t mix during the baking process. Once you remove your granola from the oven break it up into small chunks for a different kind of texture. This is great for snacking granola; like for camping or carrying around in your purse)

This will last for two weeks in an air tight container.

By the way, if you like cooking ideas and instructions, scroll down the right column of this blog to the BlogHer TV Video.  The videos change frequently and all of them have to do with great cooking tips. (And if you watch the video, I get a little extra advertising money, so  feel free to watch them often!)   :-)

 

18 responses to From Granola Hater to Granola Maker (A Recipe)

  1. Wow! Living in California, during the 70′s, granola was EVERYWHERE! And it stayed pretty popular. I remember years ago vacationing in Catalina at a B&B, and every morning the innkeeper baked homemade granola to offer for Breakfast. The whole inn filled with a spicy aroma. It looked like yours, fresh and yummy! I could almost smell it in your picture, Becky!! Big difference between shelf purchased granola and homemade…kinda like everything else!

    • Jojy, yes, I can imagine you wonderful Californians being big granola eaters! And thankfully I don’t HAVE to imagine the smell of that fresh granola baking–you’re right, homemade is so much better than store bought!

  2. Hi Becky, Well, I love granola and made it at home several times.
    Ken and I used to go to the bulk foods aisle of Whole Foods Market and get the stuff to make it. If you have never been to a Whole Foods supermarket You have not lived! lol

    • Fran, nope, I’ve never been to a Whole Foods Market. I’ll have to put it on my Bucket List! (And I’ll also have to drive at least 2 1/2 hours to get there!)

  3. Love oatmeal too! And with a sprinkle of granola even better! For extra fiber, I sometimes add ground flax seed meal. Maple syrup added is delicious too, as are bananas and blueberries. Mmm…

    • Whitney, I’ve never tried ground flax seed meal. Does it add any taste? And yes, granola definitely makes oatmeal better!

      • Flax is sort of an acquired taste. I wouldn’t say it really enhances the taste, but it is very good for you.

  4. Yummy – I am a granola lover – love Cliff bars – but they are expensive but very filling and good. I am going to make this recipe for my sister (the vegetarian) who is always looking for something good to snack on and I think I may try to make it into a cereal – add cornflakes or something. I have to make sure I feed my sister as she can’t even make a baked potato in the microwave successfully – so, I load her up with food whenever I see her – she shares a lot with the other nuns at her house – especially on the nights my sister is in charge of cooking – they are all thankful! It is nice to have a receptive audience for your cooking. Oh, I love Birkenstock shoes! and I would give anything for a wood burning stove and a cabin. Maybe not in the bitter cold as described above. My aunt and uncle and my cousins lived for years on a farm without central heat and my memory of that fireplace scent when I walked through their door is very dear to me.

    • Mary, isn’t it amazing how a simple smell can bring back such a rush of precious memories? Although I can’t imagine a house with no central heat, I love the thought of living somewhere that smells like woodsmoke. Ahhh . . .

  5. I had nearly the same reactions as you, Jenna! Except the Birkenstocks — I confess to being in Becky’s camp on those. Otherwise, though, I have always loved granola, homemade bread, wood stoves, and even laundry-on-the-line.

    The ‘other perspectives’ concept is fascinating… for instance, it would never have occurred to me that a wood stove could be considered a dream prohibited by cost. In my world, where temperatures reach ridiculous depths below zero and heating oil was delivered yesterday for 3.85/gallon, burning wood to supplement fuel usage is the only way to afford to stay warm. I suppose the initial purchase/install of a wood stove would be expensive, though, in a house that doesn’t already have one? I really have no idea! I also wonder what heating oil costs in other parts of the U.S… 3.85/gallon always seems ridiculous to me (and that’s at a locked-in, auto-delivery discount), but again, I don’t know what others pay.

    • I decided I was curious enough to look it up… according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (did anyone else not know we had one of those?!), my 3.85/gallon is somewhat BELOW the national average (3.95, which I think is the actual price before discount in my area, would be right in line with national prices). That’s absolutely crazy. I figured it was inflated here, because the harsh winters create such high demand, plus there are outrageous delivery costs to get the fuel to this area even before it’s delivered to consumers. How do people afford to stay warm? I’m now even more thankful for my tiny cabin and my woodstove.

      OK — I am now ending my completely unrelated-to-the-original-post ranting!

  6. Can’t wait to try the recipe. It looks delicious Becky. Thanks for sharing it.. At first I read the post with a bit of bemusement – granola has been a staple in my diet since childhood and it never occurred to me that someone would find it an odd or strange food. (it would be like if I wrote a blog post about bananas). Then I realized my perspective and experiences with granola are unique – I am a vegetarian who regularly eats tofu and my husband has been known to bake bread (in a bread machine) and the thought of a wood burning stove sounds like my dream stove (if we could ever afford one!!). And while I have never owned a pair of Birkensocks, I had a cousin who swore by them and pretty much lived in them for a decade (at least the parts of the year Canada isn’t covered by snow). And all this made me realize that possibly lots of the things that seem absolutely normal to me can seem so different to others- and vice versa. I love hearing about others perspectives and what the world is like for them. Thanks for sharing your granola perspective! Welcome to the Lovers of Granola Club. (who knows… Next up… Tofu??)

    • Jenna and Krista–My post is not to imply that I don’t like the other things I mentioned! I grew up with home made bread (and I still make it), I think wood stoves are fabulous and I’ve always admired my sister, Ruth, for hanging her clothes on the line. They smell fabulous and make for some great pictures! :-) It’s just that I thought I could never aspire to that level of person who has all those cool thing in her life on a regular basis!

      Having said all that, it IS fascinating to read other people’s backgrounds and experiences and tastes and realize that what is a “normal” life experience for one person is completely different for another one. Love it!

      (And by the way, Kristina, what an enlightening perspective on wood stoves from someone who uses them as a necessity! I can certainly see how you would opt for a wood stove over paying outrageous prices for fuel And off topic ranting is always welcome here.) :-)

  7. i eat my granola in the form of cereal bar from quaker or generic,lol

  8. Just gonna put this out there… You converted me on the granola as well!

    Thanks for being such great hosts!

    • Matt, it was so nice meeting you and Theresa; we enjoyed your company immensely.

      Just be glad we didn’t serve you pig’s feet! (Or was it pig’s toenails I was threatening you with?) :-)

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