Granola to Start Off the Day

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I must admit the first few days after graduating I was a little unmotivated and uninspired to do much of anything.  Usually I have a running list going in the back of my head of dishes I want to make, however, I was struggling to figure out what to make for dinner, never mind what to post on my blog. Luckily, I was able to snap out of it and get back into a routine of doing things.

Most days I start off the day with a bowl of fruit, yogurt, and my favorite granola. I’ve had the idea to do a post on homemade granola in the back of my head for awhile now – almost as a fall back if I had nothing more exciting to post.  However, I didn’t want it to be a throw away recipe.  I know in terms of a blog post granola is unconventional and unoriginal.  However, this granola recipe is a departure from the standard flavors of store bought brands.  This recipe combines freshly zested and juiced oranges, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, and toasted coconut. After about ten minutes in the oven your house will smell like a New York City bakery.

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Store bought granola tends to be very high in fats and sugars, because inevitably it will sell more (and taste better) if it is doused in butter and maple syrup.  Although this is okay every once in awhile when you are out to breakfast enjoying a parfait or treating yourself to your favorite indulgent brand of chocolate granola, this granola tastes delicious too without being overly decadent.  You don’t have to feel bad about having it every morning.

This recipe that I came up with uses only a small amount of vegetable oil and sugar.  The dried wild blueberries, apricots, and coconut naturally sweeten the granola.  My favorite way to eat this granola is over a cup of yogurt, however, it can also be enjoyed with milk, ice cream, frozen yogurt, oatmeal, or on its own, like trail mix.

Breakfast Granola

Yields 4 cups

Ingredients

3 cups of rolled oats

2 Tablespoons of vegetable oil

1 Tablespoon of light corn syrup (or honey)

2 Tablespoons of brown sugar

1 Tablespoon of vanilla

1 Tablespoon of cinnamon

1 teaspoon of fresh grated nutmeg

1 orange (zested and juiced)

1/4 cup of water

1 cup of toasted, shredded coconut

1/2 cup of slivered or sliced almonds

1/2 cup of dried wild blueberries (if you can’t find them you can substitute with dried cranberries or raisins)

1/2 cup of dried apricots (chopped)

Directions

Preheat your oven to 275º.  In a large bowl combine the oats, vegetable oil, corn syrup, brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, orange zest, orange juice and water.  Mix together until it begins to clump together.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and pour the oat mixture onto the pan.  Spread the mixture out into an even layer and place in the oven for one hour.  Rotate the pan half way through. (I like large chunks of granola so I did not touch the granola while it was cooking, however, if you prefer loose granola mix it on the cookie sheet periodically while it is cooking.)

Once this granola has browned and becomes crispy remove from the oven and let cool for five to ten minutes.  Then add the coconut, almonds, wild blueberries and apricots and mix together on the cookie sheet.

Store the granola in an air-tight container.  Enjoy this granola on its own or with milk, yogurt or oatmeal.

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