Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Jewel Eats: Homemade Granola

I've never been CRAZY about granola.  I've always said that I can take it or leave it. What is IT anyway?  It gets too soggy to be eaten with milk, so it's not cereal, and most store-bought granola is too sugary and sweet to be eaten on it's own with a side of bacon.  It's not even efficient really.  It takes more time to make granola than it takes to stove-cook a serving of old-fashioned rolled oats.  It's not even incredibly I'm basically talking myself out of giving you this recipe! 

What it IS, in it's most basic form, is rolled oats, some kind of nut, and some kind of sweetener.  Mix it all together, throw it in the oven, and in 20 minutes you have PART of a breakfast.  

I consulted several granola recipes (like this one and this one), before finally settling on this one from Martha Stewart.  I didn't plan ahead to make this granola, so I just tried to find a recipe that used ingredients that I knew I already had in stock in my pantry.  

This recipe uses 1/4 teaspoon of salt.  Since this was my first time making granola, I went ahead and added it in.  The salt does provide a nice contrast to the subtle sweetness without making the granola salty.  You can totally leave it out too, or add less, to make this dish REALLY REALLY low sodium.

Here's my granola before going into the oven.  And...that's all I have to say about this picture.

And there we go!  Finished granola, next to some Greek yogurt, frozen blueberries that I'd thawed, and yes, a tiny extra drizzle of honey for the yogurt. 

Things to know about this recipe:
  • I put this together on a Saturday morning, when I didn't feel like cooking.  Typically I make pancakes from scratch on the weekend.  And trust me, that's not as fancy or complicated as it sounds.  I found a great pancake recipe a while back and since then I haven't bought pancake mix in four years.  As long as you have flour, baking powder and milk in your kitchen you're pretty much set.  But I digress....if you're looking for something you can pretty much mix and bake on a sleepy morning, this granola fits the bill.
  • Two biiiiiiig issues with store-bought granola are 1) the amount of sugar it has per serving; and 2) the amount of sodium it has per serving.  This granola was not super sweet, hence why I added a drizzle of honey, and much lower on the salt content.  And like I said, you can eliminate the salt altogether if you like. 
  • This granola is the perfect amount of crunchy without leaving cuts on the roof of your mouth.
  • It's cheap.  
  • It's healthy.
  • It makes the perfect snack. I stored some in a mason jar and snacked on it in the days after I made it.
So there you go.  Homemade granola.  Give it a try sometime and I promise, you'll never go back buying granola.  If you keep even the basic things (oats, some kind of nut, syrup) in your pantry, you'd be wasting money by purchasing granola at a store.   I'm serious.  Use the money you save from NOT buying granola and pancake mix to go out and eat a meal that seems it actually take some effort to make.