Granola is a favorite snack of mine, but I don't often buy it. Most prepackaged granolas are loaded with sweeteners or ingredients that I don't typically eat. If you can find a good quality granola, you can bet it's going to be expensive! Making it at home is super easy and you can feel good about eating it.
Now that my little one is getting bigger she loves to help out in the kitchen. I LOVE that she wants to help and be part of the process. It can be messy at times, but it's totally worth it! She doesn't quite have her stirring technique perfected, but if I use a large enough bowl I can at least keep the ingredients from ending up on the floor.
She's also old enough now to partake in eating the granola goodness and she loves it as much as her mama. It was impossible to keep her tiny hands away while it was cooling on the counter.
This grain-free granola is a great source of healthy fats and protein, is naturally sweetened and contains omega-3s. The sweetener is minimal, but adds just enough sweetness to make it delicious. It's great by itself as an easy grab-n-go snack or add to your full-fat, grass-fed yogurt (or coconut yogurt if you're dairy-free) for a quick and easy breakfast.
Improve Digestion and nutrient absorption
Nuts and seeds can be difficult for many people to digest. Soaking and dehydrating your nuts and seeds prior to eating them is a great way to make them more digestible. Checkout this post from Mommypotamus to get all the deets on soaking your nuts and seeds based on Sally Fallon Morell's method in her book, Nourishing Traditions.
The short story is that nuts, seeds, legumes and grains all contain enzyme inhibitors and high levels of phytic acid. This makes them difficult to digest and prevents the body from absorbing the nutrients they contain. By soaking your nuts and seeds in a saltwater solution and then dehydrating them at a low temperature you can make the nutrients more available for absorption. I highly recommend this step! I try to do this immediately so they are always ready to go for eating by the handful or using in recipes.
choose quality Ingredients
I always buy raw nuts versus roasted nuts. Roasting nuts at a high temperature damages the nutrients and they are often roasted in poor quality oils or have sugar added, which means they are no longer a healthful food.
Choosing organic, unpasteurized, raw nuts is the gold standard, but they come with a high price tag. You can find many brands online that sell raw nuts and seeds if you have trouble finding them at your local grocery store.
Do the best you can when choosing your ingredients. If you can't afford organic nuts and seeds then purchase them raw at a minimum. You can flavor them yourself as you dehydrate them, or leave them as is if you plan to use in recipes.
Also, just an aside, I store my nuts in the freezer until I'm ready to soak and dehydrate. Nuts will go rancid and freezing helps extend the shelf life. Once they are soaked and dehydrated I keep them in mason jars in a cool, dark cabinet or pantry. If you don't use many nuts, consider storing them in the freezer to keep them fresh for up to a year.
Grain-Free Cinnamon Crunch Granola Recipe
A healthy, grain-free, protein-rich snack to eat on the go. It also makes a great topping for yogurt with fresh fruit for a quick, easy breakfast.
Category: Snack, Breakfast
Cuisine: Paleo, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free yields: 4 cups
1-1/2 c. raw almonds, chopped
1 c. raw cashews, chopped
1/2 c. raw pecans, chopped
1 c. raw sunflower seeds
1/2 c. raw pumpkin seeds
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. sea salt
2 Tbsp. raw honey, local preferred
1 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
2 Tbsp. coconut oil, melted
1 Tbsp. pure vanilla extract, organic
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the nuts, seeds, cinnamon and sea salt.
In a small saucepan, warm the honey, maple syrup, and coconut oil over low heat. Stirring occasionally.
Once warm, remove from heat and add vanilla and stir to combine.
Poor honey mixture over nuts and seeds and stir until all nuts and seeds are coated.
Spread the mixture evenly onto a parchment lined large baking sheet.
Bake at 300 degrees for 25-28 minutes, stirring after the first 15 minutes. (I prefer 28 minutes for a crunchier granola.)
Once the granola is golden brown, remove from oven and stir to break up.
If you like large pieces, leave as is and let cool. If you like smaller pieces, remove the parchment paper from the baking sheet and stir to separate into small pieces and let cool.
Once completely cooled, store in an air-tight glass container.
Notes: This recipe is very flexible so feel free to modify the ingredients to your liking. I used what I had on hand, but walnuts or flax seeds would be great additions as well. Just keep the total cups of nuts (3 cups) and seeds (1.5 cups) the same.
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