Posts tagged #granola

Good and good for you: chocolate/vanilla almond granola

In the wee hours of the morning (when I can’t sleep), my mind careens like a drunken butterfly. Sometimes it has Monarch impulses, ranging across continents of thought. Other times it just flits from flower to flower on the willy-nilly train.

Such is the nature of the mind, Grasshopper.

This is how chocolate granola popped into my head and settled for a while. I was thinking about cancer fighting foods. Of course, I immediately googled “cancer fighting foods” because, as everyone knows, the Internet is the mirror image of a mind gone amok. There I found a particularly good Ted Talk on cancer by Dr. William Li. From there I progressed to the website Eat to Defeat, where he recommends eating one cancer fighting food with every meal. Why not start with breakfast?

Ergo: chocolate granola.

I was slightly skeptical about whether this was a good idea, so I came up with an ambivalent, or shall we say, dualistic, recipe for granola, consisting of half chocolate and half vanilla.

(Yes, Grasshopper, as I said, such is the nature of the mind.)

I was hedging my bets. Just in case. Leave it open. Decide later. Of course, they were both better than just edible.

I’ll let you choose. Make all-chocolate granola by doubling the amount of cocoa powder and mixing it into the honey blend, or leave it out entirely. Or do both, and compare. The best cancer-fighting cocoa powder, according to Dr. Li, is natural (not “Dutch-processed”). Olive oil (mild), almonds, and honey are also on his list. Eating this granola is a virtuous way to start the day when you want to stick to the plan but veer off the strait and narrow just a teensy bit, and it makes a good snack, too. Good, and good for you.

Chocolate/vanilla almond granola

Makes about 12 cups

8 cups oats

3/4 cup flax seeds

3/4 cup pumpkin seeds

1 1/2 cups whole almonds

3/4 cup honey

1/3 cup mild olive oil

2 tablespons vanilla

1 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup unsweetened “natural” cocoa powder

1 cup chopped dried apricots, or dried fruit of your choosing like cherries or cranberries

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment.

2. Mix oats, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, and almonds together in a large bowl. Divide the mixture in half and mound each half in the center of each of the baking sheets.

3. Warm the honey, olive oil, vanilla, and salt together in a saucepan over medium heat, or in a Pyrex bowl for about 1 minute in the microwave, just until warm. Pour half the mixture over half the grains on the first baking sheet. Toss with your hands to mix, and spread in an even layer.

4. Stir the cocoa powder into the remaining liquid ingredients until smooth. Pour the chocolate over the grains on the second baking sheet. Mix with your hands until combined (it will be sticky.) Spread on the baking sheet.

5. Bake the granola for 20 minutes. Remove the baking sheets from the oven, and stir. Return them to the oven, rotating the pans (switch the pan from the top rack to the bottom and vice versa). Continue to bake, removing the pans, stirring, and rotating the pans every 7 minutes or so for 10 to 15 more minutes, or until the vanilla granola is golden and toasty. Leave on the baking sheets to cool. Stir in the apricots, and store in airtight containers.

Posted on October 15, 2012 and filed under Breakfast, Food gifts, Beans and Grains.

Share the Love: Coconut almond granola recipe

You never, ever imagine when you are holding your little baby that someday he will grow up and leave home. It would spoil the experience, to be sure, to think that far ahead. So you don’t. But ‘eventually’ comes to pass. And there you are, looking at your husband with a very stupid expression on your face, wondering what the hell you are going to do now.

I thought it would be a big boo hoo. In fact, a few years before number one and only son left for college, my throat tightened and my eyes welled up just thinking about his departure. Once, in the car, I heard a mother talking on the radio about her daughter returning for Thanksgiving. I cried all the way home. Deep, sorrowful sobs, they were. That was before before the driver’s license, the girlfriend and the stress of college applications.    

Fast forward to Christmas Day of my son’s senior year. We didn’t share the day with family or friends because of impending deadlines, but we were a cozy threesome. I cooked a duck and sallied between the kitchen and dining room, clearing stacks of applications and folders from the table and stopping every once in a while to read and comment on the latest essay, the one that HAD to be mailed on the following day. And then it was all over but the waiting.

When the letters came in the spring and that particular angst was completed, I held my breath until graduation. All those years of delivering birthday cupcakes, helping with the auction, volunteering for the school fair, scurrying around looking for bits and pieces of missing homework, tracking down jackets, sweatshirts, sports equipment, hats, gloves, scarves and lost books: over. In a day. On that day and for the few months that followed, I walked around in a haze of low-grade sadness. The summer ended. My baby took a gap year. He traveled around the world, texting and phoning me from far-off places, jumping out of airplanes, diving into the ocean with a scuba tank on his back and doing many, many things I don’t want to know about. I eased into his absence. It was, after all, natural. In time, I snapped out of it.

Now that he is at college, I know I could worry about a lot of things. But I don’t. I don’t miss the nagging about homework, the anxiety that runs from Friday to Sunday, the maddening dance between ‘I’m independent, but could you do my laundry and pick up umpteen million loose ends?’ I am free to enjoy and appreciate the wonderful human being I have raised, to have deep conversations and good, solid belly laughs. I cannot give him a hug because he is a plane ride away, but I can send him some love in a package. Something to keep him connected to home and to cheer him on. I can share the love in a whole new way.  

Since my college boy is a finicky fella and doesn’t like honey, I used agave syrup (find it at Whole Foods or other natural foods store) and a hefty dose of vanilla. I used all rye flakes when I made this because I couldn’t find the other grains, but check out your natural food store for selection. Play around with this recipe if you want (honey or rice syrup or raisins or other dried fruit.) It’s all good. Any kid would like this: at home, in college, or living in an apartment. Send a love package. 

Coconut-Almond Cranberry Granola (Makes about 18 cups)

8 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

3 cups rye flakes, wheat flakes, or barley flakes, or a combination thereof

2 cups sliced almonds

1 cup agave syrup

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup mild vegetable oil

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

2 tablespoons vanilla extract

2 cups unsweetened, grated coconut

2 cups dried cranberries


1. Heat the oven to 350°F.

2. Combine the oats, your choice of flakes, and almonds in a big bowl. Warm the agave syrup, brown sugar, vegetable oil, salt and vanilla in a saucepan over medium heat. Pour it over the grains and mix well to coat.

3. Divide the granola evenly between 2 rimmed baking sheets. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the baking sheets from the oven and stir the granola. Return the pans to the oven. Continue to bake, removing the pans and stirring the granola every 5 to 7 minutes or so, for 15 to 20 more minutes until it is golden and toasty. Rotate the pans (switch the pan from the top rack to the bottom and vice versa) each time you stir the granola so it browns evenly. To keep it from scorching, check it often towards the end of baking. It browns quickly at the end. Remove the pans from the oven and let the granola cool on the baking sheet.

4. Spread the coconut on a third baking sheet and toast, stirring occasionally for 7 to 9 minutes. Check it often. Once the oil from the coconut is hot, it will brown quickly. Cool the coconut on the baking sheet.

5. Pour the granola, coconut and cranberries back into the giant bowl and mix well. Store in airtight containers for up to 2 weeks for maximum freshness.

Posted on November 10, 2009 and filed under Breakfast, Food gifts.