Seriously, why are boxed cereals so expensive? Or is it just me still living in the past when they used to cost $2 per box (now I feel old). I’d be lucky if I see one of the sugary kinds for $4 on sale and the really healthy ones, you know the ones with the granola, dried fruit and added fiber/protein – forget about it! They almost never go on sale retailing well over $5 for a small box and this is the kind I like to eat.
I’m a little picky about my granola since I eat it every morning. It’s become a staple in my home which also means it goes out fast! Something about cold skim milk and crunchy cereal just wakes me right up ready to start the day. I prefer it any time over a bagel with cream cheese/butter and a coffee. But to each his own, right?
But I’m going to tell you a little secret about me that may make you think I’m a bit crazy over my breakfast.
I travel with it. Yea, that’s right. I do.
And I don’t mean I bring it with me to work or go shopping with it in my purse. What I mean is, I take it with me when traveling out of the country or perhaps out of state if I’m not too sure the area I would stay in will have the fiber cereal I need. I like to think of this as my adult version of a security blanket. Not to get too personal here, I was one of those kids that always had a sick tummy so packing a bag of granola cereal in my luggage today is like a kid packing his favorite toy or blankie and I’m not ashamed to say it. I suffered way too much as a child so I learned my lesson and followed through on what works for me even into adulthood. Still think I’m a bit crazy?
Besides that, this has to be one of the easiest recipes I’ve ever done. Just use one bowl, mix all of the ingredients together, press it evenly into a pan, bake and Voila! It’s done in an hour!
I really don’t know why I’ve never looked into this before. And the best part, is you can tailor it to your preference. If you want fresh or dried fruit, just add it in at the end. If you want to eat it alone as a snack or sprinkle in your yogurt, no biggy. It’s so convenient, cheap and the possibilities are practically endless! And because it’s a dried product, you can leave it in an air tight container for up to two weeks. Easy, right?! Health tip:
fiber – also known as, roughage or bulk, is a substance primarily found in the cell walls of plant foods; indigestible in the human stomach and small intestines causing bulk to the feces which in turn, increases transit time for excretion. In other words, when you consume a fibrous meal, you may experience the urge to defecate sooner than usual.
dietary fiber – is found in foods that naturally contain fiber such as cereal grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables.
Benefit of fiber – reduces the risk of several chronic disorders such as colon cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Take a look at the fiber content of the nutritional facts label of any US food product. Is fiber listed? Does it say dietary fiber? In either form, fiber is always a positive nutrient to consume but be careful not to eat large portions as it may have an adverse effect in your gut.
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- Heat oven to 325F. Line 17.5 x 11.5 jelly roll pan with parchment paper leaving excess paper slightly over rim for easy removal.
- In large bowl, whisk oil, syrup, sugar, vanilla and salt until just combined. Fold in oats and almonds until thoroughly coated.
- Transfer oat mixture to prepared lined pan. Press mixture into a compact even layer about 3/8-inch thick.
- Bake 35 to 40 minutes until lightly browned. Carefully remove sheet of granola grabbing the excess parchment paper (with oven mittens on) to a wire rack to cool. Note: the granola will be very hot, it is advised to prevent burning of the granola by quickly removing from the pan to stop the cooking process.
- Once cooled, break granola into desired size pieces, stir in cranberries.
Maple Almond Granola adapted from (p. 98) Cook’s Illustrated Baking Book