Monday, March 10, 2014

Protein Packed Homemade Granola

I love eating granola but I do not love buying granola. More times than not it’s expensive and high in sugar, calories and fat. Store bought granola on top of high-protein Greek or Icelandic yogurt makes what could be a delicious and nutritious breakfast almost the equivalent of eating a Snickers. Not the best way to refuel after a workout and start the day. For the past several years I’ve been making granola in our oven for a fraction of the price and calories!


Rather than following a recipe I usually throw a mixture of oats, seeds, nuts and spices (cinnamon and apple pie spice are my go-to’s) into a bowl then mix with a little honey and sometimes nut butter or apple sauce. The mixture goes into the oven and is baked at low temps for about 30 – 40 minutes, stirred every 8 – 10 minutes, till it’s a nice golden brown. No two batches are alike and one or two have been less than delicious, but it usually turns out well, making for a yummy and healthy breakfast.


The batch I made on Sunday was a little different. I’ve read about including quinoa in granola and I thought it would be fun to try. To do this, I rinsed the quinoa as usual then spread it out on a foil-lined cookie sheet and baked for 10 minutes, stirring once. It can burn and stick to the foil quickly, so it’s good to pay attention to it and make sure this doesn’t happen. If you’ve cooked quinoa before then you know that the seeds can jump about and make quite a mess, so be careful while you’re stirring them, especially after they’re fully baked and you pull the pan out of the oven. I had a number of seeds escape!


After the quinoa was baked I added it to the mixture of oats, walnuts, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, cinnamon and honey then stirred and baked. Over time I’ve found that when I include chia and flax into the mixture, they often just fall to the bottom and don’t make it into most bowls of yogurt, so I now just add them in separately – which is why they’re not in my list of ingredients. I eat breakfast at work 5 days a week, so I pack little bags of granola to take with me and throw the chia seeds in then lately, I’ve been adding a spoonful of hemp hearts in too (they require refrigeration which is why I wait till the last minute).


I find that two slightly-heaping tablespoons of my granola plus the chia and hemp hearts make for a great start to the day and keep me filled through the morning, even on days like last Tuesday when I went snowmobiling with my colleagues. Turns out Powder Days are pretty fun, especially when it’s on the company! And Breckenridge is a super-cute town!


That’s me! What do you think of the snowsuit? Hot, right? (fun fact: I’m standing on about 8ft of snow in this picture!)

Have you ever made your own granola? * What foods get you going in the morning? * What songs have you been playing on repeat lately?


Lisa said...

I have not made my own granola, but have seen several great posts, including this one, about it lately and it is making me want to make my own.

Lisa said...

You should definitely give it a try - it's kind of fun and probably the easiest baking project possible! I have a few more recipes for granola under the recipe tab if you like more directions than this post provides, and other ideas as well!

If you decide to make some, I'd love to hear how it turns out!

Lisa said...

I've never tried quinoa in granola but i love the idea. Going to need to try this as I've been lacking protein lately. I'd love to add some chocolate chips or cocoa powder along with some dried coconut. Mmmm.

You DO look damn sexy in that snow suit. 8 ft" of snow….can't imagine!