homemade granola goodies from NY

i have a guest post for you today pears:

Hi All!  My name is Lisa and I’m writing to you from the (freezing cold and windy) Big Apple!  I am Ashley’s former work and running partner down in Alabama and feel extremely lucky to have been asked to contribute to her blog!  Down in ‘Bama I contributed to the MyRecipes.com food blog and I really miss writing about food (although I still read about 10 different food blogs each day!) so, thanks for letting me stretch my creative muscles again Ash!

After going on and on about how absolutely delicious and addicting my homemade granola was, Ashley finally got sick of hearing about it and asked me to write about it instead 🙂

If you’re anything like me, you understand the value and importance of nutritional calories and stay away from empty calories as much as you can (Oreos don’t count, right?!).  Well, on a budget, this can be a tough thing to do.  Anything that is labeled “organic” or “healthy” or “super food” is inevitably twice or three times the price of its less healthy counterpart.  So, to fulfill my craving for granola but to save money AND control ingredients, I decided to make my own granola.  Granted, the initial purchase of all the oats, nuts, and dried fruits did set me back a few bucks, but so far I’ve made 3 batches of granola and haven’t had to buy more ingredients!

Below is just a base recipe that I found on Myrecipes.com, feel free to add any other nuts or grains that you prefer.  The original recipe called for walnuts which I swapped for Almonds, and also for ground flaxseed which I didn’t have.  I also added the dried apricots and raisins because I LOVE dried fruits! 🙂

Ingredients

  • 2  cups  regular oats
  • 1/4  cup  chopped almonds
  • 2  teaspoons  ground cinnamon
  • 1/3  cup  orange juice
  • 1/3  cup  honey
  • 1/4  cup  packed brown sugar
  • 2  teaspoons  canola oil ( didn’t have any so I omitted)
  • 1  teaspoon  vanilla extract
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/3  cup  dried apricots
  • 1/3 cup raisins

Preparation

Preheat oven to 300°.

Combine first 5 ingredients in a medium bowl.

Combine orange juice, honey, and brown sugar in a microwave-proof bowl and microwave for 40 seconds.  Take out and stir (make sure the sugar isn’t burning) and microwave again for another 20/30 seconds until the sugar and honey have dissolved.  Stir everything together.

Pour the honey mixture over oat mixture and stir together.

Spread mixture in a thin layer onto a jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 300° for 10 minutes; stir well**. Bake an additional 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Once it has cooled, pour add your dried fruits and pour into an air-tight container!

**The recipe says to stir halfway through cooking.  I did this the first time and ended up with smaller almost oat-sized pieces of granola.  I prefer HUGE crunch, so the second time around I didn’t stir and actually upped the temperature to 325.  This gave me super crunchy granola that stayed in bigger clusters.  It’s all about preference people!

WARNING – this granola is highly addicting.  I found myself making excuses to eat granola for every meal (my boyfriend found this amusing at first, but after a week, he was craving some real dinners!)  I hope you enjoy!

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