Thursday, September 3, 2009

From the Oven :: Homemade Cranberry Granola

I love yogurt and granola! It's such a perfect anytime snack... especially with fresh fruits on top.  Yum!  ...But packaged granola often has alot of processed sugars and fats.  Sugar, corn syrup, and fructose are usually the main ingredients in the store bought mixes, or in 'healthy' granola bars.  Humm, not exactly the healthy snack I'm envisioning.  

So I decided to bake my own granola!  ...It's not as convenient as grabbing a box off the supermarket shelf, but it doesn't require more than 5 minutes of prep work and it will keep in the fridge for months.  Well worth the effort just to know what you're eating.  And the taste will be delicious.  You can make any flavor combination you can imagine, and your apartment will smell like sweet, cinnamon-y goodness all day! :-)

I couldn't wait to have it for breakfast.  So the next morning, I surprised A. by making us 'to-go' breakfast yogurt parfaits.  

In glass mason jars, I layered Fage greek yogurt (0% fat), my freshly baked granola, and diced melons ... delicious!!  So easy and healthy... not to mention how cute the jars look. 

You can even make the parfaits the night before, leave in the fridge, and grab as you're rushing out in the morning.  I love these glass jars because you don't have to worry about leaking.  If you are worried about the granola getting soggy overnight, cut out rounds of parchment/wax paper the diameter of your container.  Place the round of paper between the yogurt and the granola.  Problem solved! 

6 cups old fashioned oats (not quick cook)
1/2 cup honey
2 tbsp butter
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
dash of salt
1 cup dried cranberries (you can replace with raisins)
optional: 1 cup nuts, seeds, coconut flakes, even chocolate chips!

Preheat oven at 350F.  In a large bowl with the oats with the honey, room temperature butter, cinnamon, vanilla, salt, and nuts if you are adding them.  Spread oats on a baking pan and bake for 40 minutes, until golden brown.  Remove from the oven and add dried fruits or chips.  Allow the granola to cool to room temperature and store in a sealed jar in the fridge.


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