Crunchy Christmas Granola

YUUUUUMMMMMM

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I LOVE GRANOLA! you can make it as naughty or a good as you are feeling!!

Think a healthy light Christmas Breakfast or a recovery Breakfast for Boxing day!

DF

MAKES: 10 cups

PREP TIME: 10 mins          COOK: 100-120 deg  FF oven           TIME: 3-4 hours

INGREDIENTS:

  • 6 cups                rolled oats
  • 1 cup                   pepitas
  • 1 cup                   sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup                   raw pistachios or cashews
  • 1 cup                  brazil nuts - chopped
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup    cacao liquor @heavenlycacao or cacao nibs
  • 1 cup                 cranberries
  • 1/2 cup              naked ginger @buderimginger
  • 1/2 cup              honey
  • 1/2 cup              coconut oil or light tasting olive oil
  • 2 tsp                  ground ginger(more if you want to punch it up)

METHOD:

  1. Line 3 x baking trays with  greaseproof paper - set aside
  2. Place nuts, dried fruits, seeds  and ground ginger into large bowl (Do not put in the cacao liquor/nibs)
  3. Place oil and honey on the stove and warm very gently - if this mix is too warm it will soak into the oats instead of coating)
  4. Pour wet mix onto the dry ingredients and stir until well coated
  5. Spread onto baking trays as thinly and as evenly as possible
  6. Place into the oven for 3-4 hours, check and turn around every hour
  7. Once baked, allow to cool completely before adding in the cacao liquor/nibs - combine until well mixed
  8. Place in an airtight container (and i bet you can't resist eating spoonfuls before you get it away)              
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A FEW LITTLE EXTRA TIPS TO MAKING AWESOME GRANOLA:

  1. increase the amount of honey and you will be able to create clusters from this mix - great for snacking
  2. Always use rolled oats or whole oats - this won't work with quick oats
  3. Honey will make the mix brown up - don't to be concerned, it's not burnt, that's just the difference between honey and sugar in commercial granola :)
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Natural Sweeteners are still sugar.........

During my workshops I talk about 'natural sweeteners' and by that I mean

  1. Honey
  2. maple Syrup
  3. Coconut Sugar
  4. Bananas
  5. Dates
  6. Fruit puree

 and discuss using them in the place of refined sugars (eg raw, white, castor, brown) but seriously let's get down to the fact straight up - these natural sweeteners are still a form of sugar so let's use them wisely.

So I mentioned I always recommend them to be used in the place of the refined alternative & here's a few reasons why.....

  1. They generally contain more fibre which helps regulate sugar absorption and the lower the GI(the rate in which it flows into our blood)
  2. There's generally no preservatives or chemicals that can be left behind from process other sugars
  3. Some have good medicinal qualities
  4. Generally they contain added nutritional benefits such as magnesium & other vitmins including B
  5. The don't seem to be as addictive as say, pure sugar or high fructose syrups

My list and what's good about them:

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Honey. Honey tastes great and has antiseptic and medical qualities. Best to choose an organic and raw honey from a reliable apiary. Poorer quality honey can be sourced from bees that are fed sugar, and so is little better than sugar. You get what you pay for! Note that honey is high glycemic and harmful to teeth. In this regard it is no better than sugar, so moderation is key.

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Coconut Palm Sugar. Coconut Palm Sugar is a popular natural sweetener that is granulated which makes it convenient to use in place of ordinary sugar. It is mostly produced in a very natural and eco friendly way and is a sustainable form of agriculture. It has a somewhat lower glycemic index than sugar and beneficial nutrients. However it is mostly sucrose so like honey moderation is important. Has a lovely flavor and is great for cooking.

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Maple Syrup. Maple Syrup has a beautiful and distinct flavor and is high in B vitamins and minerals. It is a totally natural and unrefined product. It is quite expensive, however, and many restaurants provide a flavored form of high fructose corn sweetener. Beware!! Almost all of the sweetness in Maple Syrup come from sucrose (ordinary sugar) so moderation is important. It has a slightly lower glycemic index than sugar but is unsuitable for diabetics.

Banana's.  Bananas naturally contain a low level of fructose, which is right for some people and not for others. Its the added bonuses like: They're rich in fibre and contain a good content of potassium and magnesium that ensure they are a good substitute for sugar in your recipes.

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Dates. Dates soaked in water overnight provide syrup or after soaking the whole fruit can be processed to form a paste. This paste in rich in free-radical busting antioxidants and loaded with fibre. Surprisingly they are a low GI sweetener.

It's important to remember it's not only our teeth that are affected by high sugar foods and lots of them -its also our gut, hormones, skin & organs. These systems all suffer from the overload (even natural sugars) so it's important to be mindful when eating - yes even healthy eating.

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