Homemade Granola

Maybe it’s just me, but paying an arm and a leg for something that you can easily make on your own is outrageous.  Enter, granola.  Who doesn’t love this stuff.  It’s crunchy, comes in many different flavors and make a bowl of oatmeal, among other things, a knockout meal or snack.

Well, paying more for the pre-made stuff isn’t the only reason making your own makes more sense.  Have you ever looked at the back of the package?  Loaded with sugar and questionable ingredients, it’s no reason granola sometimes gets a bad rap from nutritionists.

The answer?  That’s right, make you own!  Homemade granola is not only healthier – it’s also easy!  So go ahead, experiment with your favorite flavors.  Berries, walnuts, maybe baked quinoa instead of oats.  Whatever, you come up with, I promise you’ll be happy!

Homemade Cranberry Chocolate Granola

2 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup slivered almonds
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp + 1 tsp agave nectar (or honey)
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Cooking spray (or butter)
2 tbsp dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.

In a large bowl, combine the the oats, cranberries, almonds, salt and cinnamon.  Stir in the agave nectar and vanilla until thoroughly mixed.

Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray or butter.  Spread out oats mixture into an even layer.  Cook in the oven for 20 minutes, turning every 5 minutes to ensure the mixture doesn’t burn.

Once oats are browned, remove from oven and let cool at least 20 minutes before adding chocolate.  Seal in airtight container and enjoy.

Sunday Morning Pancakes

I had great plans of getting up early this morning and running all of my errands so I could make it into the city for a sample sale which starts today. However, when my alarm went off at 7am and I peeked out of my window only to see clouds and a hazy sky – I lost all motivation to get out of bed and proceeded to hit snooze repeatedly.

Once I finally got out of bed I made the decision to not rush my morning and to go into the city at a later time (probably better I don’t spend the money anyways). I contemplated what to have for breakfast but soon realized there weren’t many options (Errand #1: Get groceries).

As I thought over the items I actually had in the pantry, pancakes came to mind. Now, normally I am not a huge fan of pancakes but this morning they sounded good. Realllly good. I also knew that I could freeze the extras and enjoy them for breakfast during the week which is promising to be hectic.

Since I would be eating the leftovers during the week (when I try and eat a bit healthier) and I had quite a large meal out at dinner on Saturday night with my Sister, I decided to make these a bit more nutritious my making them whole wheat.

In the end, my pancakes hit the spot and they gave me the energy boost I needed to get on with my day.

Whole Wheat Pancakes (blueberry & chocolate chip varieties)
makes about 10 medium sized pancakes
3/4 cup Whole Wheat Flour
3/4 cup All Purpose Flour
1/4 cup Wheat Bran
2 tsp. Baking Powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups milk
1 tbs. honey
2 large eggs
2 tbs. vegetable oil
1 tbs butter
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (optional)
1/2 cup blueberries (optional)

In a large bowl combine the whole wheat flour, all purpose flour, wheat bran, baking powder and salt. Whisk with a fork until combined and aerated. In a separate whisk together the milk, honey, eggs and vegetable oil until combined.

Preheat griddle to 300°F. Once warm, melt butter on griddle. When butter is melted combine dry ingredients and wet ingredients, stirring only until combined (about 10 stirs). There may still be lumps and that is okay, the batter should not be over mixed.

Pour approximately 1/4 of batter onto griddle (I use an ice cream scoop to ensure consistency). Repeat with remaining batter. Place chocolate chips onto some of the pancakes and blueberries onto the others, if desired. When the sides and top of the pancake begin to bubble, flip over. Cook on other side for approximately 2-3 minutes.

pancakes

Enjoy!

(I had one blueberry and one chocolate chip with a sliced plum….)

pancakes2

Sunset photo from dinner at the beach with my sister last night….

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