I have a confession to make. A deep, dark, dirty secret to reveal.
I buy berries out of season. Mostly from California.
You don’t have to tell me I should know better. Every week that I pick up a box, sometimes two or three, I feel a little guilty. And then when I throw those damned plastic clam shell containers in the garbage because they’re not even recyclable I feel a little more guilty. Like I couldn’t just slap Mother Earth in the face, I had to kick her in the shins too.
Last summer I became accustomed to enjoying a handful of berries over a bowl of crunchy granola and yogurt and when there were no strawberries left at the farmer’s markets I just couldn’t help myself. This satisfying breakfast is now part of my daily routine. Enjoyed over the Daily Puppy, there’s no better way to start the day.
Now that it’s a staple in our diets, I wanted a recipe to make my own cereal, in an effort to eliminate things like xanthan gum and modified milk ingredients from our pantry. Finding a store-bought, low-fat granola that doesn’t taste like Styrofoam packing peanuts is difficult at best, so I was a little skeptical about a low-fat, homemade version. I came across this recipe for low-fat granola, inspired by Mark Bittman at Everybody Likes Sandwiches and decided to give it a whirl, omitting the dried fruit given that it’s topped with fresh fruit anyway.
The result? Perfection. This definitely ranks on the list of best granolas I’ve had. I’ve spent all weekend resisting calling it Special A. Ah-ha.
Inspired by Everybody Likes Sandwiches Granola Inspired by Mark Bittman
Makes a lot
6 cups oats, not quick cook
1/2 cup regular, uncooked quinoa
1 cup dessicated coconut
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup flax seeds (or ground flax)
1/2 cup wheat germ
1 cup pecan pieces
1 heaping tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspon ground cardamom
dash of salt
1/2 – 1 cup maple syrup
1. Heat oven to 300F.
2. In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients. Add the maple syrup and stir well with a wooden spoon to get everything coated. If you feel that it needs more liquid, add a bit more maple syrup or orange juice (note: I used OJ and it gives it a hint of citrus that is divine).
3. Spread the mix out into a large baking dish and bake for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally to make sure that nothing burns. When the granola appears “golden”, remove from the oven and let cool. Store in an air-tight container.