Right now I am on a big Mother Earth kick. I like to make my family's food from scratch when I can. Most times it's more economical and I know exactly what is in their food. Often the convenience foods have ingredients that are unpronounceable. If I don't know what they are, should I really be feeding them to my growing children?
Lately the kids have been harassing me because they don't feel like I have been buying them "good" cereal. Good cereal to them equals sugar cereal. Tonight I made a huge batch of granola. What I like about making my own granola is it's fun, and the kids can get involved. If the kids are involved in picking out the ingredients and then mixing them in, then they are more inclined to eat the food. With homemade granola there is no one recipe. You can make it as individual as you.
My granola blend is this...
1 bag (3 cups) of rolled oats 2 cups of coconut
2 cups of dried cranberries 2 cups of sliced almonds
2 cups of pecan bits 1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup liquid honey 1/2 cup of melted butter 1 tsp vanilla extract
I mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a separate bowl I mixed the melted butter and honey and then added the vanilla. I poured the honey/ butter onto the dry ingredients and thoroughly mixed them together. I find that just digging in with my bare hands mixes it up the best.
I poured the mixture onto a cookie sheet with higher sides, and put it in a 350 degree oven that I had pre-heated. Every 5-6 minutes I used a spatula to stir the granola around. It crisps up really quickly along the edges, so this is a really important step. Let it cook in the oven for about 20 minutes per batch. It took me three batches to cook all of the granola.
The smell of the granola cooking is amazing. The kids were begging to try it while it was still hot. It turns out that hot granola with some heated milk is a really tasty treat. I think for the next batch I will mix things up a little. Instead of the honey I will use maple syrup, and I will exchange the vanilla extract for maple extract. I will add in walnut pieces and dried apple and dried blueberries instead of the pecans and cranberries. Your combinations are only limited by your imagination!