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Grace’s Coconut Oat and Nut Granola

Coconut Flake and Nut Granola

Granola’s great in the summer. However, there’s something about heating up the oven, stirring up a large bowl of oats.  And then letting the warm, toasty smells fill the room while baking away the morning of a cold winter day. Call it winter solace. Granola solace. Call it whatever you want to describe a moment that sometimes just can’t be summed up in words.

Coconut Flake and Nut Granola

Coconut flakes are my new obsession, and I find them now to almost be a mandatory component of granola. I tracked through Philadelphia for nearly 2 hours – across 5 different stores – just to find them a few months ago, determined to make this Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad with Coconut Bacon. At the time, I was questioning my sanity. But after finally finding the flakes, and later obsessing over them during multiple cooking encounters, I am now questioning the sanity of the stores that are not carrying them.  Coconut flakes are worth every last step of an adventure to go find them.

For my Philly followers, check out Essene Market in Queen’s Village. For everyone else, I got tipped off along my travels that is a good place to order coconut flakes.

Whatever you do, don’t succumb to buying the shreds. Unfortunately, they’re simply not the same as their larger, flakier counterpart.

Coconut Flake and Nut GranolaFeel free to play around with the nuts you use in your granola. I personally love a little variety. Pecans, walnuts & almonds are always a must for me, and various other seeds are generally just an added, crunchy health bonus.

Coconut Flake and Nut Granola

Spoon over hot or cold cereal in the morning, enjoy as is with milk, or simply pack a handful in a bag to eat on the run. Granola is a versatile, energy-packed snack, and when you make it yourself, you can ensure you’re fueling up on the good stuff. Forget chowing down on a bag of sugar and unnecessary processed ingredients. That’s no good. Plus, when you skip out on making it yourself, you miss that toasty smell from your oven like I mentioned before. Nothing beats that.

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Fruit and Yogurt Parfait

Happy Fourth of July!

Yogurt layered with blueberries, raspberries, and honey, and topped with homemade granola.

Above is one of my favorite breakfast items, particularly in the summer when the fruit is fresh.  Protein-packed yogurt + nutrient-brimming fruit + fiber-filled oats = one complete, tasty breakfast.  If the fruit is particularly ripe and in season, keep it as it is.  Otherwise, consider macerating it with a little sweetener or mashed banana.  Enjoy!

Homemade Granola

A few weeks ago, I finally got around to making my own granola. It’s something I’d been wanting to do forever, but had for some unknown reason been dragging my feet on for far too long.

But alas, I reached for my old cardboard canister of oats and got to work on creating my own granola recipe. I’ve been tweaking the recipe ever since, and now have a canister full of delicious granola waiting for me in the kitchen.

I truly love granola. I love the crunch it adds to creamy yogurt. The toasty flavor it infuses into heart-healthy oats and nuts. The slight sweetness it can add to bland cereals/plain yogurts/etc. The energizing snack it inherently makes. I could go on…

My only dilemma with granola is that I find a majority of the store bought brands to be far too sweet for my taste. I guess growing up forbidden to eat sugary cereals (although not without tons of youthful Fruit Loops tantrums at the store) has now embedded within my taste buds an aversion to sweet foods for breakfast. Doughnuts in the morning? The thought makes me sick. (Pass me a warm, iced cinnamon roll for lunch though, and I’m all smiles.)

There are brands of granola I do really enjoy, including many of those raw varieties out there, but they tend to be insanely expensive. Paying $12 for a pound of granola—I don’t think so.

This is mainly why I’ve wanted to make my own granola for so long. So that I can adjust the sweetener to my liking, add every kind of nut and seed that I could ever want, and not have to pay a boat load in doing so.

The results of this recipe were excellent—Able to add a hint of sweetness to a plain yogurt without being overbearingly sugary. The granola doesn’t form a ton of clusters, which I sometimes enjoy. But if that’s what you’re looking for, simply add a tad more oil or sweetener. But if you want to keep the granola relatively low-fat, and not too sweet, stick with the amounts listed.

Click here for recipe…