I decided to try to snap myself out of it by making homemade granola. I know this isn’t as common as turning to Ben & Jerry’s, but in the moment it seemed like just what I needed. I decided to base my batch on a recipe for Miraval Granola from the cookbook Conscious Cuisine.
This was the first cookbook I bought when I decided to eat healthy, though I had been cooking from Cooking Light
for a couple of years. Essentially it’s a spa cookbook so it’s a perfect balance of great natural ingredients and exceptional flavor. I’ve had great success with everything I’ve made so far, but for whatever reason I don’t think to cook from it very much.
Despite how long I’ve been away from this cookbook, Miraval Granola seemed like the perfect recipe to get me back in. I knew I wanted to try this recipe because it didn’t use any butter or brown sugar (common ingredients in homemade granola) and swapped out higher fat & calorie nuts for more waistline-friendly seeds. However I wasn’t really that keen on a lot of the dried fruits the original recipe called for so I decided to adapt it based on my personal tastes and what I had on hand. Instead of using them mix of dried apricots, golden raisins, dried cherries, dried chopped dates, and dried blueberries it called for I used dried strawberries, dried goji berries, and dried mangos.
There are a few steps to this recipe, but they are all fairly simple. First you toast the oats, oat bran, and seeds to help enhance their flavor. Then you simmer the chopped dried fruit in apple juice to help it soften. Finally you toss all the ingredients together in warmed honey and bake in the oven until golden brown. The whole time you’ll be tempted to steal a taste because this granola is surprisingly fragrant as it’s baking. Even when I was only baking the oats and oat bran they still had an amazing, toasted scent that permeated my kitchen.
Mango Berry Granola
Makes approximately 5 cups
3 cups rolled oats
1 cup oat bran
2 tablespoons shelled raw pumpkin seeds
2 tablespoons shelled raw sunflower seeds
1/2 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups unsweetened apple juice
45 g dried goji berries
45 g dried mango, chopped
22 g dried strawberries, chopped
(Note: Feel free to substitute other fruits, seeds, or nuts depending on what you have on hand or prefer.)
Preheat the oven to 400?F. Spread out the rolled oats and oat bran on a baking sheet. Toast in the oven for 5 to 8 minutes or until golden.
On another baking sheet, spread out the pumpkin and sunflower seeds and toast for 5 minutes, or until lightly browned.
In a medium saucepan, combine the apple juice and dried fruits. Simmer until softened, about 5 minutes, and drain the fruit.
Warm honey and vanilla extract in a sauce pan or in the microwave until the consistency has thinned.
In a large bowl, combine the oat mixture, seeds, and fruit mixture. Stir in the warm honey, and stir the mixture as evenly as possible.
Spread the mixture onto a baking sheet lined with tinfoil. Bake 10 to 15 minutes, or until golden brown, stirring every 2 minutes to prevent burning. If you use goji berries you will need to watch them closely as they seem to burn more quickly than other ingredients.
Cool the granola completely. Can be stored in an airtight container for up to 1 month
The verdict: This is genuinely good granola and if you do what I did and use it as an opportunity to use up random dried fruits you have on hand it can be MUCH cheaper than buying it at the store. I don’t care for goji berries much but I really liked them in this granola. It may have just been the bag that I got but they were quite tough and not very flavorful, but soaking them in the apple juice really seemed to help them both texturally and flavor-wise. Overall I am very excited about my first batch of granola and think that when paired with vanilla yogurt it will quickly become one of my favorite breakfasts. This recipe is also SO adaptable that I can’t wait to try it with other fruit combinations.