As much as I love dishes that are just decadent with their buttery and sugary goodness, I enjoy adding a bit of nutrition into my diet as well. I start every morning with my own granola recipe. It is highly nutritious and even more delicious. It is high in fiber and contains a ton of omega's (healthy fat). It's an excellent source of other various vitamins and minerals as well, such as vitamin E and Folic Acid. The texture is not like the kind of granola you can buy at the store- it is far superior. It's chunky and crunchy with a slight chew, not overly crumbly and not uniform throughout. You can snack on it plain or you can toss a handful of dried fruit in it when you serve it. However, be advised, if you package it with dried fruit it will loose it's crunch. It tastes great dry, but I always eat it with yogurt (a genius combination of a container of 0% greek yogurt for protein and a container of low fat french vanilla yogurt for taste). The best part of this recipe is that it is completely adaptable. If you don't have any fiber one cereal, just use 8 cups total oatmeal. OR if you can't find oat bran, just use enough wheat germ and flax seed to total 3 cups. You just have to follow the basic formula and you can adjust it as needed or wanted. You can even have some fun with it and use 1 TB maple extract instead of vanilla to make a maple flavored granola or instead of simply cinnamon use pumpkin pie spice. It is completely versatile and makes a great big batch so it'll last you quite a while, unless you're like me, in which case it might last you two weeks haha.
2 cups rolled oats
2 cups fiber one cereal bran sticks (one sleeve's worth)
1/2 cup milled flax seed
1/2 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup oat bran or regular bran
1 1/2 cups variety chopped nuts (walnut, pecans, or almonds)
1/2 cup canola oil
1/4 cup plus 2 Tb honey
2 Tb REAL maple syrup (preferably grade B)
1/4 cup dark brown sugar (light will work fine too)
2 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp cinnamon
1.) Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and prepare 2 sheet pans with parchment paper (if you use aluminum foil it will stick to the granola when it cools). Mix the first 6 ingredients in a large bowl.
2.) Mix all but vanilla extract that remains for ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Turn off heat and add vanilla, stirring one last time. Pour the syrup mixture into the dry mixture and stir until everything is moistened.
3.) Spread evenly between the two pans and place in oven to toast for 20 minutes. Take the pans out after ten minutes and toss the granola then pat back down rather firmly. Return to oven for remaining ten minutes.
4.) Once the mixture comes out allow it to cool completely before breaking it into chunks.