Easy Coconut Cranberry Granola
January is a weird month. It's the I-know-I-need-to-get-back-on-track month, but also the I'm-still-craving-all-things-sugar. What a bother.
In my constant effort to balance my love of food with my love of health and nutrition, I often transform my favorite foods into a slightly-more-healthy (but still delicious!) dish.
Cases in point:
You see, I talk to individuals daily who are at their wits' end because they feel that being healthy means giving up everything they love. Or they feel that if they eat one cookie they might as well have the whole box because they've "ruined" it anyway.
It breaks my heart.
Here's what eating (healthy or not) isn't about:
One of the aches of my heart is to see people spiraling in an unhealthy relationship with food. In our modern culture of beauty obsession, easy calories, and high stress it's hard to find this balance.
So today instead of a lesson about nutrition I'm going to simply remind you to fuel your body with quality food that you love. Remind you to seek Balance, forgive yourself for Off-Days, be Thankful, and pursue your Personal Records.
Next I'm going to give you an easy, healthy, and yummy treat for your breakfasts this week - because I think Breakfast is the Best Meal of the Day and I hope you learn to love it as much as me!
Making homemade granola intimidated me immensely. Finally one day I mustered up the courage to try it the first time and found it to be way easier (and way yummier) than I ever imagined. This recipe is packed with whole grains, healthy fat, and great protein: the perfect combo to fuel your brain any time of the day.
Start by melting a fourth-cup of coconut oil in a large microwave bowl - about 45 seconds in the microwave - until melted. Stir in a half-cup of honey and 1 teaspoon of vanilla. (Note: you can substitute butter in place of coconut oil if you wish, but the flavor of coconut oil lends itself well to this recipe.)
Add in the following dry ingredients: two cups old-fashioned oats, one cup walnuts (broken into pieces, but not completely smashed), one cup unsweetened coconut flakes, and one cup dried cranberries. Mix together with oil and honey until well-combined.
Transfer to a large baking sheet (or two 9 X 13 -inch pans) that you've sprayed with cooking spray. Bake at 325 degrees for 15 minutes, pull out and stir gently with a spatula turning over the granola so it browns evenly. Put it back in the oven and bake an additional 5 - 10 minutes.
Special note: Jonah, my favorite 8-year-old, would say to leave it in about 5 minutes longer - he likes it slightly crispy and thinks it makes it taste like dark chocolate. (I may have burned one of the trial batches, but he's such a good sport...)
Granola will still be sticky but should be starting to turn golden brown. Allow to cool and harden, then store in an air-tight container for up to four weeks (after this it starts losing quality).
Serve plain, over vanilla yogurt, or with a splash of milk. Add a few shavings of dark chocolate if you're feeling really wild.
Easy Coconut Cranberry Granola
1/4 c. coconut oil
1/2 c. honey
1 tsp. vanilla
2 c. old-fashioned oats
1 c. walnut pieces
1 c. unsweetened coconut flakes
1 c. dried cranberries
Melt coconut oil in large microwave-safe bowl in microwave for about 45 seconds. Mix in honey and vanilla.
Add all remaining ingredients into the oil and honey mixture and stir well to combine.
Spread onto greased baking sheet (or two 9 x 13 -inch baking dishes) and bake, uncovered at 325 degrees Farhenheit for 20-25 minutes, stirring half-way through. Granola will still be soft when you remove from the oven; it should just be starting to brown when it's done.
Remove from oven and allow to cool on pan. Once cooled and hardened, transfer to an airtight container. For best quality, eat within 2-4 weeks.
Serves 10 - Serving Size: 1/2 cup - Nutrients per serving: 376 calories -- 19g total fat -- 6g saturated fat -- 0g trans fat -- 0mg cholesterol -- 3mg sodium -- 48g total carbohydrates -- 6g fiber -- 24g sugar -- 8g protein