Start the day off right with homemade granola, not too sweet, made with lots of grainy goodness.
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I go back and forth between buying breakfast cereal for its convenience and completely abandoning it for its questionable nutrition. Yes, really. I said that. I’m sorry, mamas, but it’s true. That thing that makes our life so easy is really not all that good for us. Call me the bad cop.
Most commercially-made breakfast cereals are full of sugar, salt, and heavily processed grains. My kids love them. Often that’s what they will choose for their birthday breakfast. And yes, on your birthday, I will buy chocolate-covered sugar bombs for breakfast.
I just won’t let you make a steady diet of it.
For regular days, I often buy Joe’s O’s from Trader Joe’s. At $2 a box it’s an okay “fill-the-gap” convenience item, but the ingredients list still has a lot of things I can’t pronounce. I’ll still buy it. Life is too short to freak out too much. But, when I can, I want my kids to have real food.
(Oh that this resolve will last all year long!)
- Maple-Brown Sugar Cinnamon Rolls
- Mix and Match Muffins
- Eggs and Toast
- Granola (either with milk or yogurt and fruit)
These days, I’m making this granola. It’s not too sweet, it’s easy to mix up, and it disappears in the blink of an eye. My kids love it. And for the last two weeks, no one has noticed that there are no boxed cereals in the pantry. Win.
This batch fills three quart jars if I move fast enough. My people eat it up pretty quickly.
Demerara sugar is a lesser-processed sugar. You can use 1 1/4 cup honey or maple syrup if you’d rather and omit the sugar and water.
I’ve had my share of burnt batches of granola. No fun. Over time, I’ve found some tools that make the process easier, cleaner, and tastier.
Tools that make granola-making easier:
- Sheet pans – I struggled forever with unevenly cooked granola in 9×13 pans. These sheet pans work so much better for me.
- Silicone baking mats or parchment paper – these liners make it so effortless to remove granola from the pan and to prevent sticking and burning.
- Quart-size canning jars – I love my jars. I use them to store baking mixes, sugar, bulk yeast, and granola.
- A canning funnel – I like to fill my jars without a lot of mess or waste. A funnel makes it easy.
Recipe: Not Too Sweet Granola
- 5 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
- 2 cups coconut chips
- 1 cup wheat germ
- 1 cup wheat bran
- 1 cup flax seed meal
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 cup demerara sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup sunflower oil
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the oats, coconut, wheat germ, wheat bran, flax seed meal, and salt.
- In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water, stirring until dissolved. Add the oil and vanilla.
- Pour the wet mixture over the dry, stirring to combine. Spread the mixture into the prepared pan and press firmly.
- Bake the granola for 30 minutes, watching for overbrowning on the edges. If it starts to get too brown on the edges, move the edges to the center with a spatula.
- Allow to cool completely and then break into chunks.
- Store in an airtight container. For longer shelf life, store the granola in the freezer.
Preparation time: 10 minute(s)
Cooking time: 30 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 12