I have been making a concerted effort to reduce my overall sugar (and butter) intake lately. But I still want to bake and I still want to have treats. In other words, I want to fit into skinny jeans again without giving up everything. But the volume of cupcakes, cookies and doughnuts coming out of my kitchen this winter has worked against me as I work toward my goal for the spring which is to fit back into some of my skinnier jeans (not necessarily the skinniest jean in my drawer and definitely not skinny jeans as in the style that is popular lately… they just aren’t made for girls with hips). Anyway. So what’s a girl to do?
Aside from upping my weekly miles running, I’ve also been cutting back on the daily desserts (daily dessert!). And have been making slightly healthier choices when I do reach for treats (mostly). Among those slightly healthier choices is homemade yogurt topped with granola.
Yes, granola. Once again, I started with an Alton Brown recipe. I looked at several other granola recipes including one that is a chocolate granola from Nigella Lawson, but Alton’s was the most straightforward and I didn’t need to go to the store to make it. Well… let me clarify. I did not have the specific nuts he called for in his recipe. But what I did have was a big ole bag of fruit and nut trail mix from Costco. Who needs 3 pounds 8 ounces of trail mix? Apparently I thought I did.
I was feeling guilty about this yellow bag sitting there holding food that I no longer wanted to eat. I don’t like to waste food. I had to find a way to use it somehow. So I used it in my granola. Well, at least, I used some of it. There was a lot of the mango, kiwi, pineapple and other fruits left. Maybe my next batch of granola will be a little tropical.
I started by sorting the fruits from the nuts.
This process requires a little OCD. (If you’re a normal person who does not purchase 3.5 pounds of dried fruits and nuts “medley”, then your granola experience should be a little more straightforward than mine).
I chopped the nuts (I think I wound up with a mix of almonds, walnuts and peanuts. Possibly cashews too. All I know is I had a bunch of nuts.)
I mixed the oats, coconut, and nuts. To the dry mix, I added the maple syrup and oil mixture.
When it was good and mixed, I spread it out on a half sheet pan that was lined with a silpat. Then it was baked at 250 degrees for an hour and fifteen minutes (stirring every fifteen minutes).
Between stirs, I sorted through the fruits to find raisins. I didn’t distinguish between the raisins and cranberries because I decided cranberries would add a little zing and my OCD was wearing thin by this time.
When it is golden and toasted, remove it from the oven and dump it into a big bowl. Stir in the raisins. Let it cool completely and store it in an airtight container.
Now I’m not about to say that granola is low fat or something you should eat large quantities of on a regular basis. But a little granola on top of low fat yogurt is a great treat and leaves me feeling lighter than most of my favorite buttery/sugary treats. Besides the fats in granola are mostly from nuts which are supposed to be good for you, right? Anyway. The key is moderation. So don’t be like me. I ate about 1.5 cups before it had cooled off completely.