Sunday, October 9, 2011

Shannon's Great Homemade Grain-ola

Grain-ola, as I call it, is a staple in our house, and I've finally devised the perfect recipe for my family.  I like to make grain-ola at home because store bought granola is often expensive and way too sweet. My grain-ola is also not clumpy like some store bought granolas so it's easier to chew. Best of all, I love knowing that my homemade grain-ola is made without preservatives, colors, or additives...and I am in control of it all :)

Grain-ola is wonderful and a rare food that all my kids like. That in and of itself is quite a feat. We use it as a topping for parfaits, fruits and cereals, and by itself as a snack food. It is also a great foundation for trail mix, and I think it would elevate a simple food like chocolate covered banana pops to a whole new level. Just sprinkle the grain-ola on top of the melted chocolate before freezing... and oila! I'll have to try that soon because I think that would also be something my kids would love.  This week, I'll be making Mama Pea's Chewy Granola Bars and substituting some of my Grain-ola for extra added deliciousness in the place of some of the oatmeal. I think it will be yummy. The possibilities for using this grain-ola are endless... 

Shannon's Homemade Grain-ola

4 c rolled oats
1 c  half oat bran, half ground flax
1 c chopped walnuts, sliced almonds, and sunflower seeds mixed (I like to use pepitas too if I have them)
1/2 c sesame seeds
1/4 c packed brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt (optional)
1/3 c vegetable oil
 1/3 c honey
1/3 c water
1 tsp vanilla
 a good swirled on top squirt of agave (1/8 c maybe-i never measure it just swirl it on top of mixture like a spiral)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Mix all dry ingredients together (oats through salt, if using). Make a hole in the middle of the dry ingredients and add vegetable oil through vanilla. Stir well. Swirl a squirt of agave on the top of the mixture in a spiral shape, and then stir again. Put parchment paper on a cookie sheet and pour grain-ola mix onto it, spreading it out on your pan with a spoon. Bake for 35-40 minutes, stirring occasionally, maybe every 10 minutes or so, so it can brown evenly. Allow to cool on stove top before putting it in an airtight container for storage.

*My kids like my grain-ola plain, but occasionally, if I mix it with dried fruit, I like to use Trader Joe's Golden Berry Blend. It is inexpensive and delicious. It is also great for oatmeal and trail mix.

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