Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Honey Nutty Granola

I love homemade granola.  It's a great pantry staple, especially in my house.  I love to make it at the beginning of the week and keep it in a jar on the kitchen counter for easy access.  It can be used as a healthy breakfast in the morning or an easy snack over yogurt in the afternoon.  It's crunchy.  It's sweet.  What's not to love?

What I especially love about homemade granola is how you can make it exactly how you like it!  For me, I am not a raisin fan.  I know, I know they're juicy, sweet, and yummy to most people.  I used to like them a little bit when I was a kid.  But you know those little red boxes of Sunmaid Raisins?  I think I ate too many of those at the lunch table throughout my childhood.  Come to think of it, I was only eating the raisins so I could turn the box into a whistle.  Does anyone remember that?  Moral of the story... too many raisins. 

So, for me, my perfect granola is crunchy, nutty, just slightly sweet, and no raisins. Otherwise known as my Honey Nutty Granola.  I usually don't crave anything too sweet in the morning.  So, I like just a slight hint of honey and the sweet taste of dried figs, dried apricots, and dried cranberries.  And as for the crunch?  You can't beat roasted walnuts.  

As you know, granola is mostly made of oats and yes, oats technically are gluten free, but they are usually cross-contaminated with grains that do contain gluten during the production process.  People with gluten sensitivities and most people with celiac disease can handle oats in their purest form (though there is ongoing research to determine if the oat protein avenin is harmful for some celiacs). So, I always make sure I use certified gluten free oats in my recipes, such as Bob's Red Mill.

Lauren Marie’s Tip: If you find a great granola recipe that you want to try but it uses wheat germ, just substitute grounded flax seeds.  It will bind the granola together just like the wheat germ, but the flax seeds are gluten free!

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