Granola, homeschooler style

Now that the weather is warmer we’re beginning to crave cold cereal again.  It’s a summertime tradition in our house, and summer lasts a loooong time here in south Texas.

But we’re also eating much healthier and cheaper these days, and I find myself choking a bit even on the very cheapest prepared cereals.  Besides, they just don’t keep a person full.  We find ourselves needing a second breakfast an hour later, and there’s nothing cheap about eating the same meal twice.

And so I’m trying my hand again at granola.  In typical homeschooler style, I can’t just find and follow a recipe.  I have to find 10 recipes and study the proportions of oats to other dry ingredients, dry ingredients to moist, oil to sweetener, etc.  Then I combine them to suit our taste, budget, pantry and whims.

Here is the recipe for what is now in my oven, preserved here for either repetition or mockery, depending upon the results. update: The recipe was a hit.  The amounts below have been tweaked slightly to make it even more perfect.

Granola

  • 8 cups oats
  • 2 cups nuts (slivered almonds and/or walnuts are what we use because they’re cheap at Costco)
  • 3 cups add’l dry ingredients such as flax seed (the first flax seed I’ve ever owned, bought just for granola),  TVP (bought on a whim at the bulk food store because it’s cheap, high in protein and looks a lot like the sort of thing you’d expect to find in granola), raw wheat germ, or just more oats.
  • 1 ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 tbs. cinnamon
  • 1 cup honey (do you really think I measured this?)
  • 1 cup oil and/or butter
  • raisins, coconut or other dried fruit if desired (add after cooking & cooling)

Stir together dry ingredients.  Heat honey and oil together and add to dry ingredients, stirring to combine thoroughly.

Divide onto 2 large cookie sheets and cook 20-30 minutes at 325 degrees, stirring once or twice.  Cool on sheets, add dried fruit if desired, and store in an airtight container.

What do you think, granola makers of the world?  Will it work?  Smells good, looks good, tasted good before it went in the oven…but my kids still remember our last homemade granola.  It was hard as a rock, and I have no clue what recipe I used.

Comments

  1. I have just started making a lot of our own food. I tried your granola (sort of grabbed whatever was in our cupboard). Thank you! It worked out great. I think I need to blend it a bit better next time, but I’m enjoying it.

  2. Our favorite recipe is from The Bread Beckers:

    4 c. rolled oats
    1 stick of butter
    1/2 c. of honey

    This is the base. Add nuts, coconut, cinnamon…whatever strikes your fancy. Bake it at 400 until lightly browned. Simple and everyone loves it.

    • Thank you everyone for the recipes and tips on granola. I can’t wait to try them out on upcoming batches! I’m really ready to do away with commercial cereal, so I think we’ll be making a lot of granola this summer.

  3. I replace the oil in my granola with a few ripe bananas blended up in a little water. It adds a little additional sweetness without the sugar, and reduces the processed oil content.

    With the banana, the granola seems a bit harder out of oven, but as soon as you put milk on it, its not a problem.

    PS. . There are a lot of countries that consume soy products in great quantity and have none of the problems that seem to be popularly warned about these days. Interestingly, when I checked into it, the studies these warnings root back to were funded by the dairy industry. I put soy flour in my granola, and pour soy milk on it (allergic to dairy), and have not had one bit of trouble getting pregnant, etc.

  4. Grains are seeds. ( All this information therefore, pertains to legumes, nuts and seeds as well.)

    Seeds are meant to pass through the system relatively undigested so they can be planted elsewhere (think in nature).

    To make it possible for seeds to pass through undigested, there are some anti-nutrients built in to make them difficult to digest.

    Seeds also need to be preserved until the time is right for sprouting, so they have certain compounds that stop the active enzyme activity of germination.

    These compounds also serve to hinder active enzyme activity in your digestive system.

    Beginning the sprouting process makes seeds more digestible and help your system obtain all the nutrients in the food.

    “Soaking” grains is one way to mimic the sprouting process.

    The Nourishing Traditions cookbook has lots of wonderful information on soaking grains and you can find a lot of info. online.
    Also these websites have some good information on soaking.

    http://www.westonaprice.org/Be-Kind-to-Your-Grains…And-Your-Grains-Will-Be-Kind-To-You.html

    http://www.passionatehomemaking.com/2008/04/whole-grains-grinding-soaking.html

    http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/4976/soaking-whole-grain-flours
    I hope this helps.
    ~Tessa

  5. armymamma says:

    I “third” the TVP warning. http://www.nourishedkitchen.com is a great resource as well, and is very “doable”.

  6. In the recipe I’ve adapted, I add a can of apple juice concentrate–it adds a nice flavor and keeps the granola from getting too dry. And I usually add a couple of tablespoons of vanilla extract. However, these are not an absolute necessity–just a suggestion as a possible add-ins for next time.
    I think I’d lower the oven temperature to 200 degrees and cook for 45 minutes to an hour–stirring every 15-20 minutes. It might help keep the granola from drying out too much or too fast.
    Happy munching! :-)

  7. I was going to comment about TVP, too, but Naise beat me to it. Sally Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions is worth paying full price for.
    It’s a great resource.

  8. We have a really simple recipe that we love…probably not the cheapest way to go , though, because of the maple syrup. Honey might substitute well.
    2 c. flake cereal (any kind)
    6 c. oats (not quick, but I think that would work)
    2 c. nuts
    3/4 c butter
    3/4 c. pure maple syrup (honey might work too)
    any other “things” – coconut, sunflower seeds, wheat germ, sesame seeds – I just kind of add “some” of whatever I have.
    Melt the butter and maple syrup together and pour over the other ingredients. Mix and bake in a shalow baking pan for 45 min. stirring every 15 minutes. Easy and GREAT.

  9. Kim,
    (I didn’t want to comment directly to your post, but I could find no other contact info.)
    Hello, I read your blog…and love it!

    Please do some research on TVP.
    A good place to start is The Weston A. Price Foundation. TVP in the search bar will bring up a whole lot of info.
    Thanks

  10. I thought you weren’t supposed to share a recipe until you knew it was good?

    • My Boaz’s Ruth,
      You’re right – but I have a habit of forgetting recipes. Then if I ever want to recreate (or avoid) one, I’m lost. Since I needed to write it down somewhere and the granola looked and smelled promising, I decided to share it. And if it was a total flop, I thought it would be good for a laugh. :)

  11. Our Family makes soaked granola because of the health benefits. This is the recipe we use:

    8 cups rolled oats
    1 cup butter or coconut oil (or a mix of both)
    1 cup kefir,cultured buttermilk ,or yogurt
    1/2 cup raw honey
    1/2 cup maple syrup
    1 tsp sea salt
    4 tsp cinnamon
    4 tsp vanilla extract
    1 cup dried coconut
    1 cup raisins
    1 cup sunflower seeds
    * Mix oats with the melted butter and oil, kefir,cultured buttermilk,or yogurt and water in a large bowl
    * Cover with a cloth and or plate and allow to sit at room temperature for 24 hours
    * After soaking, preheat the oven to 200 degrees F
    * Mix honey,maple syrup,cinnamon and vanilla and stir over low heat until honey is like a thin liquid
    * Combine honey mixture with oat mixture,mixi ng to incorporate
    * Spread blend out on parchment paper-lined cookie sheet
    * Bake for 2-4 hours, until granola is dry and crisp
    *Cool before removing to a container. it becomes crisper as it cools
    *mix in coconut,raisins and sunflower seeds .
    * Store in airtight container
    * Serve with milk,yogurt,kefir or by itself
    Enjoy!
    ( we often substitute pineapple juice for the other sweeteners)

    • Tessa,
      I’ve been hearing a lot about soaked grains. Can you elaborate at all about the health benefits? I imagine it wouldn’t be hard once you got into the habit of planning ahead.

  12. wait you mean there is a “recipe” for granola. We always ate granola in our house (and turned it into homemade granola bars), but my mother made it based on what she had on hand.

    Good luck. As for any hard as rock granola, you can soak it in kefir, milk or yogurt (overnight in the fridge) for a wonderful cold porridge.

  13. I think it looks yummy. Maybe we’ll add some TVP to our stove top quickie granola recipe.

  14. I am picky about my granola… :-)
    I like some, and really don’t like others…my mom found this recipe and passed it on.
    I think the key is the quick oats…it makes it less hard and easier to eat.

    1 lb. quick oats (be sure they’re the quick kind) (I can’t remember how much this measured as 2 cups or 4 cups? I double the recipe)
    3 c. coarsely chopped raw nuts and seeds – almonds, pumpkin seeds, pecans, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, etc.
    1 t. cinnamon
    ½ t. ground cardamom
    ½ t. mace (I haven’t used this because I don’t have it)
    1 c. packed brown sugar
    ½ unsalted butter (I just use regular butter)
    1/3 c. water
    ½ t. salt
    2 t. vanilla (I think I may try this sometime with a tsp. or so of maple flavoring instead)
    Dried fruit as desired

    Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In food processor or blender, grind HALF the oats into a fine powder.
    In a large bowl, combine whole oats, ground oats, nuts and seeds.
    In microwave-safe bowl (or in pan on stove) combine brown sugar, butter, and water and heat until the butter has melted and the mixture is bubbly. Stir until smooth, then stir in salt and vanilla.
    Pour this mixture over the oats and nuts, stirring well to coat (The person who I got this recipe from says she usually does this with her hands)
    Place in middle of oven and bake 25-30 minutes, or until top is golden. Remove from oven and stir, gently breaking up the mixture into small to medium sized clumps. Return to oven and bake another 15 minutes or so before stirring again. Repeat bake-and-stir until mixture is a uniform golden brown and completely dry. This usually takes 1 to 1-1/2 hours. Cool completely, then stir in any dried fruit you want to use.

  15. I don’t know about TVP but your recipe is similar to mine. I’d either triple the cinnamon or omit it and use almond extract. Then, I add more sweetener… splenda,or sugar with the almond extract and grated apple ( peel and all) plus brown sugar with the cinnamon.

    We love granola! I dehydrate mine though. Baking it is trickier but can work fine. Was it good?!

  16. I got a good laugh about how homeschoolers cook. Take several recipes, study them, then make up your own. I do this all the time but had no idea it had a specific name.

    i have started to make more granola as I am craving cold cereal these days. We eat mostly fruit for breakfast but occasionally we make a change and have oatmeal or granola. I like your recipe. I have dd allergic to all nuts except pecans so we use these. I am allergic to flaxseed so I can’t use that. :( I also add the sunflower seeds although my 3 yod doesn’t like these. I may try the TVP. I love grape nuts so it’s anything close to that, it would make a great addition to my granola.

    Thanks for posting this. I am making a batch this week (if I feel up to it. I am running out of gas alot faster than I expected. I only have 7 weeks left before my baby is due.) I may try some of the things you’ve added.

  17. Kim,
    I mix flax meal into a lot of things. I put it in meatloaf, cookies, breads, muffins, etc. I just add a tablespoon or two to the dry ingredients.

    Bethany in mid-MO

  18. I’ve enjoyed your blog.

    Here’s my fave granola recipe- it can be clumpy which we like:

    Luci’s Granola

    1 c. mix of maple syrup and honey (or just one)
    1/3 + c. (actually 6 T.) oil (I use canola or coconut oil)
    2 t. vanilla
    8 c. oats
    3 c. whole grain flour (2 c. wheat germ was used in original recipe w/1 c. flour)
    2 t. cinnamon
    ½ t. nutmeg
    1 c. coconut
    2 t. salt
    1 c. nuts (I use 2 c. total pecan pieces and almond slivers)
    ‘optional’ extras- 1 c. sunflower or pumpkin seeds, ½ c. of ground flax seed, ½ c. of sesame seeds)
    1/2 c to 1 ½ c. juice (apple is good)
    Add dried fruit after baking

    Place the syrup/honey mixture in a small pot and bring to boiling, then turn down to heavy simmer for 5-10 minutes (while you assemble the other ingredients). Honey should not foam up so much that it overflows. Remove from heat and add oil and vanilla. Combine all other ingredients except juice (I use my mixer) and mix well. Dump the wet into the dry and mix again. Add juice until mixture is pretty wet (soaked maybe but not drippy- hope that makes sense). Divide into two 9×13 glass casserole dishes and bake at 250- anywhere from 40 minutes to 1 ½ hours depending on how toasted you want it. I stir two to four times very carefully so as not to break up all the clumps (b/c we like it clumpy).

    This recipe can be cut in half or doubled. One recipe fits into 2 ziploc gallon bags (I freeze one and we eat the other).

  19. If that one doesn’t work, try this one: we love it! I’m allergic to nuts and sunflower seeds/oils, so I’ve had a hard time finding a granola that I can eat and this one is great and quite filling. It makes an absolutely enormous batch, however, which will probably be good for your brood!

    Ingredients:
    8 c. oats
    1 small package flaked coconut (about 2 c.)–sweetened or no, doesn’t matter
    1 ½ c. brown sugar, honey, molasses, maple syrup, agave, or brown rice syrup
    1 c. water
    3/4 c. oil
    1 T. cinnamon
    1 tsp. salt
    1 tsp. extract (vanilla, etc)

    2 c. Craisins, dates, raisins, chopped apricots or whatever dried fruit you like!

    Preheat oven to 325. Mix oats and coconut in a bowl. In a saucepan, mix remainder ingredients (except dried fruit), bring to boil and simmer 5 minutes until slightly thickened. Pour sugar mixture over oats and mix well until thoroughly coated. Pour into a shallow baking pan and bake at 325, stirring every 10 minutes, until evenly browned, about 30-35 minutes.

    Remove and add dried fruit. Stir and cool completely, then store in airtight container or freeze.

  20. I’ve had the same problem with granola that you do with never remembering what recipe I used that I didn’t like and it being hard, but I’m closer now than I used to be…. I have been doing my granola out of “more for less” cookbook which was a Mennonite cookbook published about 30 years ago and recently reprinted for the 25th anniversary edition. I can’t remember which of the 5 or 6 in there was the best so far, but it was much softer…I think it’s cooking it a tad less and using a bit more wet ingredients. Also, I’ve discovered that as much as I love honey, I don’t like a cooked honey taste. So I’ve been using half brown sugar, half hone (not quite as healthy, a little more processed, but better to my taste buds….)
    Kari

  21. My first thought is “that won’t last you very long” I make about 2x that every 2-3 weeks (with only 5 kids). Also, I use butter and homemade applesauce instead of oil (tastes better to me). Almonds are awesome, but expensive so I use raw sunflower seeds (bought in bulk).

    I did the same as you, I read a lot of recipes and decided to just wing it, I don’t measure ANYTHING.

    Not sure about the TVP, but love to add millet and coconut to our granola.

    • Kathy,
      You’re right about it not lasting long. I was going to make 2 or 3 times as much until my daughter reminded me about the last batch.
      As it turns out, we all agree that it’s rather good but not sweet enough.
      I got my almonds at Costco for less than $3/lb. Not cheap, but not bad either. Nothing like grocery store prices!

  22. It sounds good; but I’m not sure about the TVP. That stuff is hard! Let me know how it turned out. I’ve used equal parts oil/honey, but maybe I don’t need to. Did you grind your flax seed? You get the full nutrition that way (a coffee grinder works great) or else you just poop the seeds right out, I’m serious. It should keep everyone’s tummy full for a long time! Yay! This is my favorite blog…I can’t wait to see if you have a boy or a girl!!

    PS, I’ve started the SuperMom vitamins and they are unbelievable. More energy, less aches and pains (I’m not even pregnant). Thank you SO MUCH for passing that info on your “stuff we love”. Take care! :)

    Tammy

    • Tammy,
      The TVP turned out fine, not nearly as hard as grape nuts and blends right into the granola. Thanks for the tip about the flax seed. I didn’t know, so I guess we won’t get much benefit out of it this time. :p
      Glad you like the Supermoms. I love mine when I remember to take them, but I’m not doing so great this time. I guess the novelty wore off, and I’m feeling better than I typically do which (strangely enough) decreases my motivation to remember vitamins.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Breakfast – granola [...]

  2. [...] Granola – This is our new substitute for our summertime breakfast cereal habit.  Easy, flexible, nutritious and delicious!  btw, thanks to all our readers who contributed granola recipes and tips in the comments on that post.  We're enjoying new variations of granola every time we make it! [...]

  3. [...] Homemade granola with lots of nuts for high-protein staying power [...]

  4. [...] we've even replaced our summertime breakfast cereals (always purchased at 10 cents/oz or less) with homemade granola.  We do still stoop to the occasional case of ramen noodles, but I hardly consider them food. [...]

Don't just think it: say it!

%d bloggers like this: