One of my New Year's resolutions for 2014 was to "eat better breakfasts". I realized that I'd, for the most part, eliminated processed foods from my routine with the exception of good ol' cereal. Let me start by saying, I love cereal. It's delicious, it's comforting, it's easy, it tastes like childhood. But... it doesn't have protein, it doesn't keep you full for hours, and even the "healthy" cereal has a nice dose of sugar first thing in the morning. Basically, besides tasting fantastic, it's not really doing much for you.
So for weeks I cooked over-easy eggs with toast, spinach, and tomatoes. I made warm oatmeal with apples and maple syrup on cold winter mornings. And then I discovered this homemade granola recipe and it was a game-changer. One bite of this stuff and you will forget store-bought cereal ever existed. It it that good. And the smell of it cooking the oven? Beyond words. The warmth of the cinnamon and banana are met perfectly with the tangy bite of strawberry. It makes the perfect snack on its own, but is divine over almond milk or with greek yogurt.
I get the occasional eye-roll when I tell people I make my own granola, but honestly people, it takes about 15 minutes to mix up plus a little more in the oven and one batch lasts us about two weeks. Totally worth it. Oh, and it's packed full of protein and lots of other good-for-you things.
Yields about 8 cups
3 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup pecan pieces
1/2 cup walnut pieces
2 tablespoons chia seeds (optional)
2 tablespoons hemp seeds (optional)
1 tablespoon flax seed meal
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon honey (or agave)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 medium ripe banana
1.2 oz freeze dried strawberries (I use trader joe's brand)
Preheat oven to 350. Mix oats, almonds, pecans, walnuts, chia & hemp seeds, flax seed meal, cinnamon, and sea salt in a large bowl. Set aside.
Blend together (either with an immersion blender or stand blender) the coconut oil, maple syrup, honey, vanilla, and banana until smooth and creamy. Pour maple syrup mixture into oats mixture and stir until oats are completely moistened.
Press the granola into a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment. Bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven, let cool. Using a metal spatula (or your hands), break up the granola into desired chunks. It will continue to harden as it cools. Mix in strawberries and serve. Keeps for 2-3 weeks in an airtight container.