October Granola

During the Summer, I was following an 8-week program that was helpful in getting me back to exercising and eating more optimally.

One of the aspects I liked about the program was that each week was devoted to a particular subject or area of health. I felt it emphasized good habits to incorporate into my routine, rather than advising to stop drinking coffee and eating sugar, etc., which would have made me just put the book back on the shelf where I found it!

Week 3 was devoted to energy, which I'm sure most of us feel we could use more of. The dietary portion of the week listed beneficial foods that give us more of that desired energy to get us through our busy days.

Berries of all types are one of the recommended foods, which I didn't have to give much thought to in July when I reached this chapter. Blueberries, blackberries and raspberries were plentiful at the farmer's market, and I was adding handfuls to my morning whole grain cereal or yogurt.

Now, in October, I'm adding dried berries to my favorite granola recipe, while I wait for fresh cranberries to come along. Whole grains and nuts are also good energy sources, and here I used rolled oats and pecans.

I have been making this granola recipe for several years, and I just can't seem to tear myself away. I usually use whatever fruit and nuts I happen to have in the pantry, as I did here, but I may start to pay more attention to some variations and share them with you.

I hope this recipe gives a boost to your morning or afternoon. I have used it to make the Granola Bread, but most often I make it to enjoy with cereal or yogurt.

Homemade Granola for Granola Bread
adapted from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day

1/3 cup honey (raw, if possible--I've become a convert)
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup canola oil
2 tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 cups rolled oats
1 cup chopped pecans
3/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup dried blueberries

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a high-sided cookie sheet or a lasagna pan with parchment paper, oil or butter.

2. Mix honey, maple syrup, oil, water, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and salt in a large measuring cup.

3. In a large bowl, combine the liquid mixture with the dry ingredients, except for the dried fruit, and mix until everything is coated with the honey mixture. Spread the mixture evenly over the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, until the granola is golden brown. Baking time will vary, depending on your pan. (I use a 9 x 13 inch pyrex pan, and baking time is at least 45 minutes).

4. After the baking is complete and the oat mixture is cooled, add the dried fruit.

5. Store in a large glass jar or other well-sealed container.