Every house has staples that are always in the pantry and ours was on the healthy side. There were no Lunchables, Froot by the Foot, or Capri Sun to be found, but we did have a pantry full of nuts and dried fruit. With those two things on hand, the possibilities are virtually infinite. One of the more frequent combinations was granola. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with store bought, but it is so simple to make and it can be just to your liking. I love lots of nuts and seeds in my granola and not too sweet. I go hot cold on if I like dried fruit in my granola and that’s the beauty of making it yourself. I haven’t made granola in the longest time (mostly because my mom sends me bags and bags of it) but my husband asked, so of course I obliged.
I love how versatile granola is. You can eat it for breakfast, for a mid-morning snack, or just a handful after work to hold you over until dinner. In one of the offices I worked in, 11 am was “yogurt o’clock” and I loved adding a big handful of granola on top of my Greek yogurt. I have also been known to eat a bowl of granola, just like cereal, with some milk for breakfast. My point is simply, that you should always have some granola on hand.
I promise, this isn’t because I have been brain washed by the West Coast and am now “crunchy granola”. I very often use pecans in my granola, and not just any old pecans, Georgia pecans. I am incredibly picky about my pecans because my family has been getting all of our pecans from one pecan guy for my entire life. They always come in brown paper bags with the tops rolled down. My grandfather is the middle man and will tell us all about how the crop was this year and the different varieties that we got. Then the cleaning begins. In no exaggeration, I have probably cleaned upwards of 500 pounds of pecans.
I digress, my point is simply that granola can be tailored to any palette, can be made with any ingredients you have on hand, a wonderful gluten-free option, and a healthy meal or snack.
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
- 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1 cup shelled sunflower seeds
- 1/2 cup slivered almonds
- 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- 1 cup sweetened coconut
- Preheat oven to 325º F.
- In a medium bowl, combine oats, sunflower seeds, almonds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, and coconut. Toss to combine.
- In a small saucepan, stir together honey, brown sugar and vanilla. Cook over medium heat stirring constantly until the sugar is dissolved.
- Pour honey mixture over the granola mixture and toss until evenly coated.
- Spread onto a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake for 25 minutes.
- While baking, stir the granola every 10 minutes (twice).
- Let cool on the baking sheet, then break apart and store in an air-tight container.