Yummy Granola

On those mornings when I want cereal for breakfast, granola is the way to go. Who am I kidding? Sometimes this is lunch or dinner too. This time of year is exhausting for me, because I'm spending lots of time in the garden or I'm in the kitchen preserving the harvest. By the time the dinner hour rolls around, the thought of cooking or even chopping up a salad is more than I can handle. Luckily, this isn't every day, but when it happens, granola to the rescue. It's especially yummy with fresh fruit and our local creamery's luscious milk. It's easy to put together and you can adjust the basic recipe to your tastes.

Gather all your ingredients and a big bowl. I start with old fashioned rolled oats. Quick cook won't give you the nice big clusters you want, and don't even consider instant. I use 4 cups of oats.

You can add as many or as little nuts and seeds as you like. I like mine nutty, and today I'm using sliced almonds, raw sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds. You can use pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts, sesame seeds, wheat germ, etc. You will want to use 1 cup of nuts and 1/2 to 3/4 cup seeds. If you don't want the seeds, add more nuts, or oats. This is your granola and you get to make it your way! The beauty of homemade granola is that you don't have to settle for whatever flavor the store brands offer and you will actually get generous amounts of nuts. Another bonus- it's much less expensive to make your own!

Next, I use 1/2 cup flaked coconut and I like this unsweetened variety from Trader Joe's. If you're not a coconut person, leave it out and add more of something else. I add 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon and 1/2 t. salt. Stir all of this together and now we're going to add some liquid ingredients.

I pour 1/3 cup coconut oil in my measuring cup and then add 2 t. vanilla to the oil. You can also use a light vegetable oil. Give this a stir and pour into your bowl.

What kind of sweetener would you like to use? Honey, real maple syrup, agave, or sorghum are all good options. I'm using sorghum today, because that's what I have. Mix everything together making sure you don't have any dry oats in the bottom of the bowl. Now, pour out onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 - 25 minutes. After 15 minutes, remove the pan from oven and using a flat spatula, lift the granola from the outer edges and move it to the center, while spreading the granola in the center to the edges. The outsides will cook more quickly and this helps get everything evenly browned. When granola is lightly browned, remove from oven and let it cool on the baking sheet. It will become crispy as it cools. If you want to add dried fruit, like raisins or cranberries, etc. this is the time to do it. In the summer, I like to use all the fresh fruit that is available, so I don't use dried fruit. Enjoy with milk, yogurt or by the handful!

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