Recently my boyfriend decided that he wanted to start snacking on yogurt and granola, so in response I've been honing my granola chops. My first attempt was too complicated and included quinoa and crystallized ginger and pumpkin puree and molasses, and in the end none of the delicious ingredients mattered because my stupid oven fried the stuff almost immediately. Let's say it was very dark brown and I'm the only one who ate any of it. Someday I'll make a gingerbread-inspired granola that I'm happy with.
But for now, simplifying is the name of the game. Here's what I came up with in my most recent attempt, and the results are pretty sweet and addictive.
Preheat your oven to 300. If your oven runs hot, like mine seems to, try 275 instead. If I were a more diligent cook, I would have a thermometer to help me determine the actual temp of my oven and you would get more precise instructions.
Mix dry ingredients together in a big bowl:
3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup ground rolled oats (you can do this in a food processor or coffee grinder)
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup almond meal (don't sweat it if you don't have any. I had some from making almond milk awhile back)
1/4 cup soy protein powder (always looking for stealth protein)
1/2 cup raw, unsalted sunflower seeds
1 cup almonds--mine were slivered, but any old cut will do
2 t cinnamon
Melt the wet ingredients in a little saucepan over medium heat just until bubbly:
1/2 c virgin coconut oil
1 cup brown sugar (this produces a pretty sweet granola. Next time I'll cut down to 3/4 cup)
1/2 cup water
Remove wet ingredients from heat and stir in:
1 t almond extract
1 t vanilla extract
1/2 t salt
Let the wet ingredients cool a bit, then dump over the dry ingredients and stir until everything is thoroughly combined. Spray two 11 X 17 jelly roll pans with cooking spray and distribute the mixture evenly over the two pans. You can squeeze the mixture together to form delicious chunks. Toast for about a half hour, but check frequently (every ten minutes, at least) and turn the granola to keep it from burning. Store in an airtight container. Yield: about 8.5 cups.
With no apologies for my TWO MONTH ABSENCE in which I did TONS OF COOKING and even TOOK PICTURES but NEVER POSTED FOR YOU, I'm going to launch right in with a question: how is it that I've never told you about Crockpot Oatmeal?
Oh, I guess it turns out that I sort of did.
I have to tell you, though, I recently told some friends about the Crockpot Oatmeal and when I saw them a month later, they HUGGED ME. ABOUT THE OATMEAL. This is a true story. It's changed their lives (their words). I'm just saying.
And it's not hard to make. All you need is:
1 cup steel cut oats
4 cups liquid (water is perfectly fine, but sub in one cup of soymilk or ricemilk or what have you for extra flava), plus a bit extra
Spices and dried fruit to taste
Mix it all together, set the thing on low before you go to bed, and the next morning you will have a nourishing breakfast treat with an amazingly creamy, slightly chewy texture. I'm raving because I'm eating some right now. My current version used a cup of soymilk, a cup of spiced apple cider, two cups of water, a handful of dried apricots, a handful of currants, and a healthy dose of ground ginger. As god is your witness, you'll never go hungry again.