Sunday, May 2, 2010

Crunchy Granola

My latest cookbook obsession is with Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian.  Lately I have been trying to cook healthier and include more vegetables and less meat into our diet.

Luckily, I married a man that isn't all about meat and potatoes, and he will eat whatever is in front of him with an open mind. I will still have a cheeseburger or steak from time to time. I am not giving up meat, I just don't  feel I need it present at dinner every night to be satisfied.

My adventures into flexitarianism. Bittman writes that the term "flexitarian" is  used to describe meat eaters who eat mostly vegetables and vegetarians who aren't strictly vegan. Bittman writes in his book about the health benefits of eating less meat and his own experiences as a flexitarian and his resulting weight loss.

 Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian is definitely on my list of must have books to add to my library. The recipes are straight forward practical recipes for delicious, healthy cooking. Currently I am borrowing the book from the MLP. Definitely one of my favorite things to do is to check out cookbooks from the public library and, fortunately for me, my library has quite the cookbook collection.

Earlier this week I made Crunchy Granola from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. The recipe is fast and simple. In the book there are flavor variations and a recipe for granola bars. I made the basic granola. We have eaten it as a snack, for breakfast with milk poured over it, and as a parfait with chopped bananas and yogurt. Yum!

Crunchy Granola

6 cups rolled oats (not instant or quick cooking)
1 cup of pecan halves
1 cup of sliced almonds
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup honey
1 cup raisins

Preheat the oven to 300.

Place a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the oatmeal to the skillet and cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes. The oatmeal will become toasty and fragrant.

Add the pecans and the almonds and continue to cook for another 5 minutes. Add the cinnamon, salt and honey and stir to combine.

Transfer the mixture to a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, stirring  twice during baking.

Stir in raisins and let the granola cool on a rack.

Store the granola in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

The recipe states that this granola will last indefinitely, but this granola is so tasty that I can't imagine it  lasting for more than a week. I'm almost ready to make another batch just to have around next week. It makes for a healthy snack and a satisfying breakfast. 

Have you ever had the cereal Great Grains? I used to love Great Grains and this is it...except better! It tastes so much better than that boxed stuff and even more so because I know exactly what is in it. I love cereal. I grew up eating boxed cereal and still love it. Or at least thought I did. I like it when I've worked late and just want something to settle that hunger before I go to sleep.

And it does wonders soaking up the tequila.

But...I'm changing my ways.
After having crunchy granola around...I may never buy that boxed stuff again! 

Really. It's that good.

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