The eating of healthy grains daily is linked to a longer healthier life. Notice the important word here – “healthy”. Many grains that we are presented with are highly refined and missing their beneficial components or have other less healthful ingredients added to them.
A case in point is granola, offering an excellent opportunity to start out the day with healthy grains. Oatmeal is a top-notch grain. It is brimming with minerals and antioxidants and it helps to lower blood cholesterol and to regulate blood sugar. If you peruse the cereal aisles of your local food store you will find plenty of choices in the granola department. When you check out the nutritional information however you might be surprised to see the high amount of fat and sugars contained in the final product. Granola can be enjoyed with much less fat and sweetener than food producers tend to deem necessary.
Here is an easy recipe for making your own granola that offers all the taste and benefits of whole oatmeal along with healthy fat and only a small amount of sweetener. The recipe makes enough for two people to enjoy several mornings with granola.
¼ cup peanut butter or other nut butter
¼ cup pure maple syrup
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
¼ tsp salt
½ cup water
4 cups large flake rolled oats
Fresh or dried fruit and seeds of your choice, for example blueberries, strawberries, raisins, cranberries, pumpkin seeds
Preheat oven to 275°F.
Place the peanut butter, maple syrup, vanilla, salt and water in a blender. Process until smooth and creamy.
Place the oats in a large bowl and pour the peanut butter mixture over them. Mix until the oats are well coated. Spread the mixture evenly on a baking sheet. (It is not necessary to grease the baking sheet or to line with parchment paper.)
Bake until the oats are dry to the touch and lightly browned, stirring occasionally, about 40 to 50 minutes. Turn the oven off, but leave the granola in the oven until it has cooled completely.
Remove from oven, break up larger clumps with a spatula and place in an airtight container. The granola keeps well at room temperature for up to 10 days.
Serve sprinkled with your favourite fruits and seeds and some plant-based milk.