One of my husband’s favorite breakfasts, that he eats almost every morning, is granola and yogurt. Before we became health conscious, we would just buy a random bag of granola at the grocery store and yogurt that was heavily sweetened. But once I started cooking most of our own food, one of the first things I did was start making his granola from scratch. Not only is this way less expensive, but it’s healthier and very tasty.
Making foods from scratch can sometimes seem intimidating if you are not used to it, but this recipe really is easy and much healthier for you than the store-bought brands. Plus, this recipe can be altered to your taste preference- you can swap out the type of nuts, dried fruits, amount of honey, etc. You can take this base and change it up to create your own perfect granola.
Here is the recipe for what I call Mixed Nut ‘Nola- or more affectionately, Josh’s ‘Nola. Although no two batches are the same, this is typical of what I prepare for him.
To Make the ‘Nola
Start with the oats. I buy gluten free oats for us in case I decide to have a little of the granola myself. And since my husband eats so much of this stuff, I make HUGE batches- sometimes two full bags of oats at a time. But for today, I used 1 bag which equals around 10 cups of oats.
Now, for the nuts. You can use any combination of nuts that you want. Today, I decided to use pecans, walnuts, almonds, and cashews because that’s what I had in my pantry. I suggest using chopped nuts, so that they are more evenly distributed, but you don’t have to. I measured out about 4 cups of these and dropped them in the mixing bowl.
I like to add a little almond oil to the granola so I put about 2 tablespoons in there. Then I usually add about 1-2 teaspoons of vanilla extract.
For the seasoning, you can get as creative as you want. You can buy seasoning blends such as Pumpkin Pie Spice or just use plan old cinnamon with a little nutmeg. Today, I am using a Cake Spice blend from Penzeys Spices that my sister gave me for Christmas last year. I only stirred in about 1 teaspoon of this because I didn’t want the spice to be overpowering and my husband seems to prefer less spice in his granola. But you can certainly add more if you want.
To cook it, I mix it all up and stick it on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. I recommend cooking things on parchment paper because it prevents the food from sticking in a way that aluminum foil doesn’t. Make sure you pat down the granola so that it is flat. Meaning, you don’t want large piles of it because it will not cook evenly. And if you want to sprinkle on a little sea salt at this point, feel free.
Now, I drizzle on some honey. I really don’t use a lot of sweetener because my husband’s yogurt has maple syrup in it already and he isn’t a big fan of sweets. Plus, the dried fruit we will add later gives quite a bit of sweetness and flavor. So, I just put a few globs of raw honey on top. As it melts, I will stir the granola to distribute it.
I cook the granola for about 20 minutes at 325, stirring well halfway through. If you start to notice the nuts are looking very dark, or even black, take it out sooner. There is nothing worse than getting a mouthful of burned food first thing in the morning.
Once the oats and nuts are done cooking, dump it back in the mixing bowl and add in the dried fruit and/or dehydrated fruit chips. If you decide to use dehydrated fruit that you are not making yourself, please make sure that the ingredients are ONLY that fruit. Sometimes, food companies will add in extra sugar or fruit juices or preservatives which are not necessary. You want to find a brand that only uses the actual fruit.
Our last step is to stir in the dried fruit. For this batch, I used goji berries, raisins, and dried cherries. Dried figs work very well too as do prunes- you just may want to chop them up first.
Then I let it cool before packing it into mason jars.
And there you have it. My husband always eats his over yogurt but if you don’t do dairy (like me), you can grab a dry handful as a snack or eat it like a cereal with some almond or coconut milk. And if you are experiencing digestive issues, you can soak and dehydrate both the oats and the nuts before making this recipe which may aid in in digestion. Just let them soak in a bowl of water overnight, then dehydrate them so they get their texture back.
Mixed Nut ‘Nola
You Will Need:
- 5 cups oats
- 2 cups chopped nuts (any combination of your choice- pecans, walnuts, and almonds work well)
- 1 cup dried fruit (any combination of your choice- chopped figs, rasins, and goji berries work well)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbs almond oil
- 1/2 tsp cinamon
- honey to taste
- sea salt (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 325 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- While the oven is heating up, put the oats in a large mixing bowl.
- Add the chopped nuts to the mixing bowl and combine.
- Stir in the vanilla extract, almond oil, and cinnamon.
- Lay out the oats and nuts flat onto the baking sheet and drizzle honey on top. You can add a pinch of sea salt if desired.
- Cook for about 20 minutes, stirring halfway through. Keep a close eye on it because the nuts can burn fast.
- When the oats and nuts are toasted, put them back in the mixing bowl and stir in dried fruit of your choice.
Enjoy! And let me know what you like to add to your granola.
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