Thursday, October 1, 2009

Starting the Day off Right/Homemade Granola

When I was younger, my mornings consisted of waking up, getting dressed, brushing my teeth and then sitting down to breakfast with my family. This was something I usually looked forward to, even if waking up early for school was always somewhat of a challenge. When these early wake ups got the best of me and I walked into the kitchen scowling and cranky, my mother would look at me and say "Frenchie, let's start over."

This set off a chain of events, first I would get annoyed that my mom was so weird, gawd. Then, eventually, like so many kids I did what I was told. I would walk out of the kitchen and walk back in with an exaggerated fake smile pasted to my face and my mother would look at me and say, with a shining smile, "Good Morning Frenchie, it is so nice to see you today." Despite all my huffing and puffing, I always ended up with a real smile on my face, and to this day those are the mornings I remember best.

We all know how important breakfast is for our health, our weight and for psychological reasons. Even though I know this, between rushing to class, laziness and a lack of options, I find myself skipping breakfast after breakfast, relying on coffee to jump-start me. This is neither a healthy nor a positive way to start my days and so recently I have started to look for ways to make a good breakfast part of my routine.

Granola is probably one of my favorite cereals, it's dense and nutty and it is the perfect topping for my favorite low-fat plain yogurt. However, so often, store-bought granola is so high in sugars and artificial ingredients that eating it is almost as bad as skipping breakfast. Rather than letting this perpetuate my poor breakfast habits, I saw this as a challenge and decided to make my own healthier granola. What I came out with was a not-too-sweet granola that is crunchy and hearty, something that I could see myself having every morning, all pleasure no guilt. Then I can close my eyes, picture my mother and her bright smile and hear her say with her slight Italian accent "Good morning Frenchie." When it comes to starting the day off right, it can't get better than that.
Maple Cranberry Granola
yields about 6 cups

Ingredients:

2 ½ cups rolled oats (not quick cooking)

1 cup sliced almonds

¾ cup pecan pieces

½ cup sunflower seeds

¼ cup flax seeds

2 tbsp. light brown sugar

½ cup maple syrup

1 tbsp. cinnamon

1 tbsp. vegetable oil

½ cup dried cranberries


Directions:

1) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2) Combine all the ingredients, except for the cranberries, and mix well.
3) Spread this mixture on the baking sheet, bake for 7 minutes. Stir the mixture up and redistribute it evenly. Bake for another 7-9 minutes until its golden and toasted.
4) Let cool and mix in cranberries.
5) Store in a sealed container, it can last up to a month

6 comments:

John said...

I am dying laughing!!! As I can just see your mom right now!!! That is soooo funny!!

I am so proud of you and always knew you were going places!!
Unbelievable blog!! Keep it up!!

Karine said...

Your granola sounds delicious! I have been meaning to make some for ages!

Thanks for sharing!

Lori said...

I just love granola. This looks yummy. I thought the name of your blog was TBD to be determined but the best dishes is cute. Not to mention from your about me it looks like either could work. Very nice place you have here. I have to check it out more.

Michael said...

This granola recipe looks great. Definitely making it!

Michael said...

This granola recipe looks great. Definitely making it!

Anonymous said...

TRULY TBD (the best dish). Enough said.