Snack, Breakfast, Gluten Free

CHERRY NUT GRANOLA

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I’m big into snacking. Probably so into it, that it’s more of a shortcoming. People comment, “I saw you driving, you were eating”… yes, thank you, that is typically the case. If managed correctly, small meals throughout the day are better for your metabolism. I’m flabbergasted that my snacks-on-the-hour approach hasn’t made diet headlines yet.

I like when granola has chunks,almost like mini cookies within the granola. I did some research and found a tip from The Traveler's Lunchbox to give some of the oats a grind. To be honest, this didn't exactly work for me, but it likely has to do with my proportion of wet ingredients. The theory of the oat flour acting as a binder, completly makes sense. My goal was to keep the fat and sugar down, so my clumps were few. Exisiting, but few.The recipe below is quite tasty and my quest for 'light' clusters remains.

Granola has an oat base, where you are welcome to change the nut and dried fruit additions as you please. I like to use a tad of butter and brown sugar for crunch, and agave nectar because it is not as sweet as honey. Most homes have honey on hand, and that will certainly work out just fine. We gifted some, made Hugh breakfast with a bit of plain yogurt and will pack the rest as the perfect sustenance for our 4th of July beach day. I will say that after the breakfast ration, dark chocolate chips were added- highly recommended for optimum snacking.

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CHERRY NUT GRANOLA // Makes about 6 Cups

3 Cups Quick Oats

3 tbsp. Flax Seeds

3 tbsp. Sesame Seeds

1/2 Cup Raw Pumpkin Seeds

1/2 Cup Raw Sunflower Seeds

3/4 Cup Raw Pistachios

3/4 cup Raw Slivered Almonds

2 tbsp. Cinnamon

1 tsp. Sea Salt

1/4 Cup Brown Sugar

1/2 Cup Unsweetened Applesauce

2 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil or melted butter

2 tbsp. Agave Nectar (or Local Honey)

1 tbsp. Real Vanilla Extract

1 1/2 Cups Dried Cherries

**If you double this recipe, make sure to bake it in shifts. If the layer of oats is too thick, it will steam itself. If you put one sheet on the lower rack, it won't crisp up because of it's upstairs neighbor.

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Oven to 325’

1. In a saucepan, on low heat, melt the brown sugar, applesauce, agave nectar/honey, olive oil/butter and vanilla. Let it warm through so the sugar breaks down and all flavors incorporate.

2. In a large bowl, combine the oats, cinnamon, salt, nuts and seeds. Slowly drizzle the wet mixture on the oat mix and stir until all oats are covered. It should look pretty moist but not 'wet'.

3. Spread the granola in an even layer on a baking pan (also known as jelly roll pan; ½’’ sides). Place the rack in the middle of the oven and bake for 15 minutes, stir. Granola should take about 45 minutes to cook, continue to stir every 15 minutes for even color.

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4. Pull out the granola and fold in the dried cherries. Allow the granola to cool completely before adding chocolate chips or putting it in a container.