As I’ve worked my way through the top 100(ish) recipes that have been imported by Plan to Eat users, I’ve noticed that many of the recipes are for items that are kitchen staples. You know, those things that can be bought in a can or a box at the supermarket, but are much better (and better for you) when you make them for yourself at home.
This week, our family tried out the basic granola recipe at the 100 Days of Real Food blog. With 436 imports, it ranks an impressive #2 in our Top 100(ish) marathon.
Oats are a breakfast staple in our home. They’re inexpensive, easy to prepare, and can be presented in a variety of ways. They’re a quick way to feed a crowd of hungry bellies. But when the weather gets warm (hello, August) those bellies tend to grumble a bit at hot oatmeal. And so we start making granola.
Granola has always been synonymous with those back-to-the-land-commune-living hippies. If something or someone is particularly “au natural” then one might refer to it as “granola” and the meaning will be perfectly understood. But somewhere along the way, it seems that granola lost its naturalness. Really, have you read the labels of those cereal aisle granolas lately?? I tell you, they’re not a big improvement on the sugary cereals marketed to the kiddies.
Homemade granola is so much better than anything you could buy. I love that this recipe has lots of nuts and seeds and that you can use whichever ones your family likes. We have a couple of kiddos who find nuts and seeds unpalatable, and so I pulsed them a few times in the food processor so that they could hide a little better among the oats. I love that this recipe uses natural sweeteners. I replaced half of the honey with molasses because, well, I guess I didn’t really have a good reason for it. I just felt like being a little rebellious in the kitchen. But anyway, the result smelled just like gingerbread baking in my oven. Mmmmm.
Granola is one of those things that, assuming you’re starting with a solid recipe, you can tweak into a thousand different variations — add some dried fruit, mix up the nuts, switch the spices or the sweetener. If you make it once, you’ll be thinking of how you want to make it different the next time. Maybe your husband will even say something like, “You know how you made it that time? With those nuts? That was good,” and you’ll have no idea how to recreate what you made that time nor remember which nuts you used. Whatever. You can’t go wrong with homemade granola.
You can get the recipe for Lisa’s homemade granola bars (or cereal) from the 100 Days of Real Food blog here.