Monday, July 25, 2011

Busy Gal Granola

This is one of my 'throw it together' recipes. I had yet to make it to the market and a busy day ahead, so I made homemade granola with the supplies I had sitting in my pantry to pair with yogurt and peaches (frozen) for next days breakfast (or mid-day snack). You can add whatever you'd like (or have) to this recipe; play with it! 

2 cups dry oats
1/2 cup raw pepitas 
1/2 cup raw whole almonds (with a mallet or can crush into little pieces)
Pinch of celtic sea salt
Dash of vanilla extract (optional) 

*I am not "gluten-free" but use gluten-free oats. Why? Gluten is an unnecessary additive for anyone when it comes to oats. Oats do not need to contain gluten, though it is present in many brands. 

In a large bowl combined oats, seeds and nuts. Mix and gradually add agave (not a lot-you want the mixture to stay pretty dry or it won't turn out). Add salt and cinnamon to taste. Mix well then transfer to a nonstick baking sheet. Spread the mixture out to create a thin layer. Bake on low (ideally no higher than 200 degrees fahrenheit) to allow all the nutrients to stay intact (my oven has a 'dehydrate' option, yours might too-those on raw diets use dehydrating machines when "cooking" foods). Use a spatula to move the mixture around from time to time while it bakes. Remove from oven when golden brown (could take a few hours on low temperature; about an hour if you cook it on a high temperature). If you're not into the whole "raw" thing-bake on 350 and finish with a quick broil (very quick or it will burn) to give your granola an extra golden brown kiss! Set aside to cool and harden. 

I am a huge believer in soaking nuts and seeds (oats and grains too!), it helps your body digest them (see soaking benefits and how-to in 'Pretty Porridge'). A lot of people get bad stomach aches after they eat, if that's you, it could mean you're not digesting your food properly so take note of which foods do this and then email me! I'll help you with some suggestions and steps to take to avoid the aches (perhaps some type of digestive enzyme would do the trick-we'll need to make sure it's the right one for YOU though). Stomach aches or not, if you have the time I suggest soaking. I didn't soak the oats this particular time (since they're just quick oats for oatmeal), but I did soak the nuts and seeds. 

Home-work? Perfect! Since this recipe takes little time to actually make and more time soaking or in the oven, it's a great opportunity to get some work done or do some cleaning!

I am in love with Siggi's yogurt! It's non-fat and contains much more protein than your average yogurt so it keeps you full longer, plus has a great thick texture. It's not certified organic but it is natural, meaning the cows are not injected with any growth hormones; they are also grass fed. Most often I'll buy plain which does not contain a sweetener of any kind (I add my own Stevia and/or vanilla extract) however the ones that do have some sweetness (fruit flavors and vanilla) contain agave instead of sugar or high fructose corn syrup. 

Why agave? My personal reason for using agave is because it's a natural sweetener that is low in the glycemic index and glycemic load-both measure the impact that foods have on our blood sugar levels. Agave releases insulin slowly rather than quickly. Foods that raise blood sugar more rapidly can release hormone insulin-no good if you're looking to keep your blood pressure regular and/or avoid weight gain. Overtime raising blood sugar too quickly (and often) can lead to metabolic syndrome (insulin resistance) such as stroke, coronary artery disease and type 2 diabetes. 

Have dairy issues? Try So Delicious Cultured Coconut Milk Yogurt or Amande Cultured Almondmilk! Both contain those added sugars that I am not a fan of but I am also not a fan of feeling deprived. It helps to have some kind of option to incorporate from time to time-especially if you have an allergy to dairy. Always try to go with the 'plain' version of prepackage foods, less additives and even sometimes less calories! 

Happy morning! xo

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