Saturday, January 31, 2015

Crunchy Bunches of Goodness!

Breakfast cereal has been a regular on our shopping cart for as long as I can remember. It is hard to beat the convenience in the morning. Then there came a light bulb moment in life, when I started reading ingredient labels, and started seeing my regular cereals for what they really are. Honey bunches of oats, should really be called "High Fructose corn syrup clusters with a sprinkling of Oats". Honey nut cheerios, is really  "GMO sugar, artificial nut flavor, oats with GMO corn". And to think all the marketing dollars behind cheerios has earned it a reputation of being part of a heart healthy diet! There are good brands of cereal out there, you just need to read the labels Ensure sugar or corn are not on the ingredient list. But, really folks, cereal or granola is one of those things that once you start making at home, you will wonder why you ever bothered with the store bought kind. Once you have a basic recipe down, you can vary it based on seasonal ingredients or your personal whims.

This recipe is inspired from "Ultimate Nutty Granola" from a superlative book called Oh She Glows by Angela Liddon. I have modified it for my family's tastes and preferences. For the original recipe (which is an addictive snack), do refer to the above book, which is an incredible collection of go-to recipes!

Crunchy Bunches of Goodness Cereal

Prep time: 10 mins
Cooking Time: 45 mins
Makes about 6 cups of cereal

1 cup raw almonds
1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 cup other mixed raw nuts (I used cashews and hazelnuts)
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup raw buckwheat groats (easily found in health food stores, or just use more rolled oats)
1/2 cup mixed dried fruit (cranberries, raisins, goji berries, apricots etc)
3/4 cup raw seeds (mix of sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup melted coconut oil


- Preheat oven to 275F
- Grind 1/2 cup of almonds into a coarse almond meal. Add to a bowl.
- Add remaining almonds, walnuts and other nuts to a food processor and pulse until chopped. I used a spice grinder to process the nuts in small batches. Add them to your mixing bowl.
- Add oats, buckwheat groats, dried fruit and seeds. And in the salt and combine.
- Add the maple syrup and coconut oil and stir the mixture well.
- Spread this mixture on a large cookie sheet and press down so everything sticks together.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 20 mins. Rotate the pan and bake for another 20-25 mins.
- Take it out of the oven and allow it to cool completely (atleast 1 hr) before breaking up into clusters!

You could mix it up by adding cinnamon or vanilla extract. As other superfoods make their rounds into your pantry, you can add chia seeds, ground flax seeds or cacao nibs. Please take the time to share your variations with me. 
It is time to take control of breakfast. Thank you General Mills and Post. We won't be needing your services anymore.