I have been experimenting with different snack food items that both fit healthy eating standards and my self-imposed budget of 100 dollars per week at the grocery. A few friends have wondered how in the world this is possible. To quote your majesty, “You can’t always get what you want”, but it is quite feasible. I will fill you in on all the details, but for starters I will share my latest creation.
Granola and I have a history. Not a long one, but a history none the less. A few years in AmeriCorps, surrounded by silly hippies introduced me to the stuff. Whole Foods Vanilla was my fave for many years. Those big chunks of vanilla flax bites just sent me through the wringer. Later, New Frontiers was my only choice for the bulk aisle, and oh my it was a good one. I immediately fell for the addition of ginger with their Vanilla Ginger granola.
Just a few years later it occurred to me that in fact, this crunchy pastime could be recreated in my very own kitchen. This was quite the realization, I promise you. Mark my words, my life has never been the same. Oh, the ease of this little snack, the versatility, and yes – the crunch – , it’s all too much I tell you. Too much.
So, I suppose this creation was inspired a bit from my earlier days of sprinkling on heaping bowls of yogurt, but mostly it came from what do I have in my kitchen right now? You see, that is the glory of this one. Sssshh…. you dont even need a recipe. You can make it from anything!!! Juice? Sure. Butter? Why not. Nuts of all Kinds, dried goodies, whatever you can think of!
Try this one on for size, then move on to bigger and better things. One that fits your little taste buds just so.
Maple Ginger Granola
4 cups of oats
1/2 cup of whole wheat flour (feel free to omit this! Its only purpose is to create some chunks. But TRUST me, it is just fine and dandy without it)
1/2 tsp. of sea salt
1 tsp of allspice
1 cup of roughly chopped pecans
1/3 cup of flax seeds
1/2 cup of pure maple syrup
1 tsp. of vanilla
1/4 cup of canola oil (or any kind of oil you typically use)
1 cup of dried cherries
1/2 cup of chopped crystalized ginger
Preheat the oven to 350F. Mix the oats, flour, salt, allspice, pecans and flax seeds in one large bowl. Combine the maple syrup, vanilla, and oil in a small boil and stir them both together. Spread evenly onto a sheet pan and bake in the oven for about 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so, until the edges look browned. Don’t over cook, the oats will crisp up more when they cool. Once they do cool, mix in the dried cherries, and the ginger. Serve with yogurt, or milk, over applesauce, or just by the handful.