Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Cranberry Nut Granola

Who's ready to settle in with more snow (on the east coast, at least)?! When it's freezing cold and snowing all day, there's little more I want to do than cozy up on the couch, watch the Olympics, drink coffee, and eat some darn good granola (that's not loaded with five different kinds of sugar like Special K's granola)


Please allow me to rant for a minute...
Special K cereal is in no way a healthy start to your day! Yes, it is low in calories. But no, that does not make it healthy. In every flavor of Special K cereal listed on their website, sugar is either the second or third ingredient. This means that there are only one or two ingredients in the box that outweigh the amount of sugar added, and in most of the flavors, that's bleached and refined white rice. There's occasionally some whole grain wheat - so that Special K can advertise that the cereal is made with whole grains - but white rice is the very first ingredient listed in 8 of the 12 flavors.

So what are you really eating when you sit down to a bowl of Special K for breakfast? Well...white rice, refined sugar, occasionally a few oats or whole grain wheat, sometimes two, three, four, or five more kinds of refined sugars, and up to 31 other ingredients like calcium caseinate, polydextrose, or L-lysine monohydrochloride (any idea what those look like?). You won't find essential Omega-3 fatty acids (everything that might have a trace of those has been chemically de-fatted for your "health"), but you will find those pesky trans fats in the form of partially hydrogenated palm kernel oil in a few of the chocolate varieties. And in case you "may not find the time every morning to cut up fruit and mix it with yogurt and sprinkle crunchy flakes of oats on top," they have you covered with the Fruit & Yogurt flavor - complete with nonfat yogurt powder as the 22nd ingredient (following 5 different kinds of sugar) and dried apples as the only distinguishable fruit ingredient (the "berry" specks are actually just red #40 and blue #1).


Sound good?

If not, then you're in for a treat. You can make your own cereal using nowhere near 30 ingredients - in fact, I be you have most of them around already and wouldn't even have to do a Google search just to figure out what the heck they are.


And it doesn't taste half bad, either!

This granola is not only delicious and addictive, but it's also packed with Omega-3's, essential fatty acids of which Americans simply aren't getting enough. Keep an eye out for dried cranberries dried with cranberry seed oil (a great source of Omega-3's), I found mine at Trader Joe's!

Cranberry Nut Granola


Ingredients:

  • 3 cups rolled oats (use certified gluten free if needed)
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (I used roasted almonds and walnuts)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk (or water or dairy milk)
  • 1/4 cup all-natural peanut butter or almond butter
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup (or honey for non-vegan)
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
Directions:
  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a baking sheet or line with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the oats, nuts, cinnamon, ginger, and salt.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix together the flaxseed, almond milk, nut butter, and maple syrup or honey. Let sit for at least 5 minutes to thicken slightly.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir to combine.
  5. Sprinkle the mixture in an even layer onto the baking sheet; bake for 25 minutes.
  6. Toss the granola and bake for another 15 minutes, until browned and almost dry.
  7. Turn the oven off and allow the oven to cool with the granola in it for about 20 minutes, until the granola is crunchy.
  8. Stir in the dried cranberries.



Enjoy - and consider rethinking your breakfast a little! :)




1 comment:

  1. i am not normally a granola person (given the reasons you explained), but this actually sounds great! how much does it make?
    (ps, do you have the nutritional information handy?)

    ReplyDelete