My kids love cereal. They could eat it every day at every meal and be perfectly content.
But I don't buy cereal.
Because I'm mean like that.
Cereal is WAY too expensive, for one thing. And it's also filled with awful ingredients and far too much sugar. So, on a quest to make my mornings as simple and convenient as possible, I've taken up the art of making my OWN granola cereal. Don't be impressed. It's really simple. And it's healthy. Just another one of the ways I prepare breakfast for my large brood. Saves a wad of cash too. It's like money in the bank. CHA-CHING!! Did you hear that? Yup. That's the sound of saved moolah.
I found a recipe a year or so ago that I really liked and modified it to work for me. I wanted to keep it very simple and easy to make. And it IS very simple. And flexible. You can use gluten free oats. You can add dried fruits or chopped nuts or omit them all if you have allergies.
Since I buy organic rolled oats in 25 lb bags from Bob's Red Mill, and I keep a fairly stocked pantry, it's almost guaranteed that I have all these ingredients on hand at all times. I double this recipe to feed my small army.
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees
10 CUPS ROLLED OATS
1 CUP SUNFLOWER SEEDS
1 CUP CHOPPED NUTS OF YOUR CHOICE (I used sliced almonds in this recipe)
1/2 CUP BROWN SUGAR (I use less)
1 CUP COCONUT OIL
1/4 CUP MAPLE SYRUP (I use less and add more if needed)
1/2-1 CUP HONEY
1 TBSP CINNAMON (I love cinnamon, so I dump a whole bunch in there)
1 TBSP VANILLA EXTRACT
Line your baking sheets with aluminum foil. This will help you later on when you want to pour your granola into a container.
Start by mixing your oats, seeds and nuts in a large bowl. Add wheat germ or oat bran if desired. (I did not use these this time.)
Scoop out about 1 cup of coconut oil into a sauce pan. Turn the burner to a medium heat. It will melt as it heats up. Add the sugar, honey, maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon and salt (if you are adding salt). Bring it to a boil, stirring intermittently. The beauty of this recipe is that nothing has to be exact. Needs more sweetness? Add a bit more honey. Needs some salt? Go ahead and add a pinch. Now is the time to taste it to see if you want to add anything.
Slowly pour the sauce mixture over the dry oat mix. Stir it up.
Spread the mixture onto your foil lined baking sheets.
Bake at 325 for about 12-13 minutes. Take the pan out, stir it well and bake again for 10 minutes. If your granola still looks uncooked, stir it and add another minute or two as needed. BUT BE CAREFUL. Granola will burn if left unattended. How do I know? Let's just say I'm The Queen at burning things due to distractions. Yes. That's me. All hail the Queen.
After your timer goes off and your granola is cooked, set it aside to cool down, stirring every so often. Don't worry if your granola looks or feels soft. It will crisp up as it cools.
Add any raisins, dried cranberries or any other dried fruit.
Finally, pour it into an air tight container.
See? That was simple.
As I mentioned before, I double this recipe, and it makes enough to fill this 4 pound container.
So, can you guess what I fed my kids for lunch today?