Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Organic Banana-Nut Granola

Almost a year ago, I stopped eating foods with added sugar and most things that are very processed. Not eating processed foods isn't too hard, for someone who loves to cook. The no added sugar thing? A little more difficult, because there is added, excessive sugar in EVERYTHING. So I stopped eating fruit flavored yogurts, quit my dessert addiction cold turkey, and started drinking my morning coffee with milk only.

I still occasionally indulge in a small portion of dessert (I requested my mom make me a chocolate-red wine cake with white chocolate buttercream for my birthday earlier this month!), and definitely still cook with small amounts of natural sweeteners.

One of my favorite slightly sweet recipes lately has been banana-nut granola. Made with just a little honey and mashed, super ripe bananas, it has the perfect balance of nutty and mildly sweet flavors - and is perfect with a little almond milk as cold cereal or tossed into some plain yogurt with fruit for breakfast in the morning. The last (double) batch I made went in less than two weeks because everyone loved it so much, so this time I went all out and made a QUADRUPLE batch.

This is a fairly simple recipe - you start by combining your dry ingredients in a bowl big enough to mix everything up.
Then, mash up your bananas and add in the coconut oil, etc.
Add the rest of the liquid ingredients to your mashed bananas then add to your oats. Be prepared to get a little messy.
Then spread it on a cookie sheet and put it in the oven. It's done when its toasty brown and golden - it smells like a really yummy loaf of banana bread.

All of the ingredients I use for this recipe are organic and purchased from Fiddleheads Co-op here in New London - and all of the dry ingredients came from the bulk bins - so that I only bought as much as I needed. You don't have to use organic ingredients, obviously, but I choose to do so since buying in bulk is affordable for something like this. Case in point, I got my organic rolled oats for $1/lb - I might have gone a little crazy and come home with 30 cups of oats. That's a lot of oats...

adapted from Green Kitchen Stories

3 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup pecans or walnuts
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup flaked coconut
pinch of salt
3 T coconut oil
1 t vanilla extract
1/3 cup honey
3 very ripe bananas

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, combine oats, nuts, seeds, coconut, and a pinch of salt.

In a smaller bowl, mash your bananas and then add the coconut oil, honey, and vanilla. Stir together.

Add the wet ingredients to the oat mixture and combine, making sure all the the dry ingredients are coated.

Spread the granola mix on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, and bake for 20-25 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon after ten minutes, then every five minutes after that to ensure even browning, until granola is golden brown.

Remove from the oven and let cool before storing.

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