Almost Everyday

Continuing on yesterday's theme of familiar foods this is a staple that I make a lot. The granola is great on it's own, as a breakfast cereal, stirred into yogurt, or added to a batch of banana bread. Here I've layered it with some yogurt and fruit, fancy I know.

The great thing about making your own granola is that you can control the quality of the ingredients, AND, customize it to the tastes of your family. If you don't like nuts, omit the nuts. If you think raisins are evil (and they are) by all means skip them. If you find coconut offensive, well then I don't want to know you.

My Almost Everyday Granola
6 cups rolled oats (not quick-cooking or instant)
2 cups mixed nuts and seeds: sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, chopped
walnuts, pecans, almonds, hazelnuts or cashews
¼ cup flax seeds
1 cup dried shredded coconut
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
Dash salt
1/2 to 1 cup honey or pure maple syrup, or to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped dried fruit, such as raisins, cherries, apricots, dates, or figs (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, combine oats, nuts and seeds, coconut, cinnamon, ginger, salt, sweetener, and olive oil. Spread evenly on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and put in oven.
Bake for 30 minutes or until the mixture is very evenly browned, stir every 10 minutes and rotate pan in the oven.
The browner the granola gets the crunchier it will be. It can burn easily though so keep a close eye on it in the oven.                   
Remove the granola from oven and add raisins or dried fruit. Cool completely, stirring once in a while. Transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator; it will keep indefinitely.

Note:  I have used agave nectar with really good results although I have a hard time keeping the granola crunchy. If you don’t mind a sort of moist granola by all means use agave nectar as a sweetener.

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