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Granola is one of my favorite foods. I love granola with fresh fruit and some greek yogurt, and Hubby likes to top his smoothies with granola for a crunchy post-workout snack. We've been buying tons of granola and the other day I realized that we could - and should - be making this at home.
Store bought granola can be loaded with oils, flavorings and preservatives, all of which I'd rather not indulge in. Anything made at home gives you the ability to control what goes into your food. In the case of this granola I used healthy coconut oil instead of vegetable or canola oil.
Coconut oil is something I'm only beginning to experiment with. It is pretty easily found in most grocery stores - I get it at Trader Joe's. It is high in saturated fat (hold on, don't freak out yet!) however the saturated fat in coconut oil is different from other oils in that it does not increase LDL levels. Coconut oil has been found to be useful in losing weight, and increases metabolism by reducing stress on the pancreas. It also strengthens the immune system and promotes healthy digestion. Coconut oil is solid at room temperature, so must be melted before being added to most recipes.
When it comes to granola, you can customize with whatever ingredients you like. I added in ground flax seeds and raw almonds. You could also toss in some dried fruit or shredded coconut. I think I'll make this a fall treat next time and use some pumpkin pie spice in place of the cinnamon. Yum!
2 c rolled oats (make sure they are gluten free if that is a concern)
1 tbsp cinnamon (scant)
Pinch of salt
1 tbsp coconut oil, melted
1/3 c honey
1/2 c raw sliced almonds
1/3 c ground flax seeds
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
In a medium bowl, stir together oats, cinnamon and salt. Add in coconut oil and honey, stirring until thoroughly combined. Spread mixture on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake 30-45 minutes, stirring occasionally. (If you wanted the nuts toasted, add during the last 5-10 minutes and make sure to stir frequently to prevent them from burning.) The longer the granola cooks, the crunchier it will be. Cool completely before adding almonds (unless toasting) and flax seed. Store in an airtight container.