This weekend my friend Ronda's dad was put in the hospital, she had also had quite a stressful week. So I thought, what makes me feel better when I'm sad? Delicious baked goods! I wanted to do something healthy as she has been working on eating healthy. So I decided to whip up a batch of homemade granola. The perfect way to start the day off and one of my all time favorite foods! I headed off to Winco to get ingredients. While there I snapped this photo... I just couldn't resist... I mean a WHOLE chicken in a can!?!?
Anywho, back to the granola making... The great thing about this granola is that you can customize it according to what sounds good to you. I was perusing the dried fruits and decided to do cranberries, apples, coconut and raisins. However, once I got back home I decided it would be better to leave out the coconut and raisins, add in some almonds, a splash of vanilla and a few tablespoons of peanut butter. I was going to call it Vanilla, Apple, Almond, Cranberry Granola, but that is way to long so I settled on "Beat the Blues Granola" and it is gooood, like really really good! And easy, so easy that I will never buy store bought granola again! I think it would also be great with dried apricots and maybe pecans? The possibilities are really endless! I also decided not to slice the almonds but rather I chopped them in large chunks and it turned out to be a great addition to the texture of the granola. To finish it off I put it in pretty jars, tied it up with a ribbon, and voila! A yummy, healthy gift! And it freezes well so if you make a big batch you can put it in a tupperware or ziplock bag to pull out as needed. The recipe below is based on a great granola recipe from everybodylikessandwiches.com. Feel free to customize it however and let me know if you hit upon a particularly genius combination! The amounts of ingredients are an estimate because I just kind of threw it together.
Beat the Blues Granola
adapted from everybodylikessandwiches.com
4½ Cups Oats
1¼ Cup Chopped Almonds
3 Tbsp. Brown Sugar
Pinch of Salt
Pinch of Cinnamon
1 Tbsp. White Sugar
⅓ Cup Vegetable Oil
⅓ Cup Honey
2-3 Tbsp. Peanut Butter (more peanut butter = more peanut butter flavor)
5 Tsp. Vanilla Extract
2 Cups Dried Cranberries
1 Cup Diced Dried Apples
Preheat oven to 300℉. Mix oats, almonds, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon.
In a saucepan over medium heat, add oil, honey, and sugar. Stir until the mixture just begins to bubble. Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter and vanilla.
Once the PB melts, pour the mixture over the oats and stir well until mixed.
Spread the granola out on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake for about ten minutes, then use a spatula to flip it over. Cook for another five minutes, take out and stir/flip again add in apples and cranberries and cook until lightly golden brown (this doesn't take too long so watch it closely!).
Remove from oven, allow to cool completely and enjoy!