Thursday, February 23, 2012

Brain Food- Granola

I've been thinking.  Yesterday I had plenty of time to think because I lay on a table with a needle in my arm while the nice people of Puget Sound Blood Center drained a pint of the red stuff out of me.

Please ignore the double chin.

Anyway, I've been thinking about what I want to do with my life.  For a while, the only careers I've dreamed about involve scrubs and stethoscopes.  But what I'm more passionate about than anything else is food.  Cooking, eating, sharing, baking, food.  All food.  I know the 641 section at the library (cookbooks!) better than any other, and I can't imagine spending a day without some time in the kitchen.

Heavy thinking requires brain food, yes? :)

This is brain food.

This is also brain food.

Good things happen when you mix dried cherries, toasted coconut and chopped nuts with oats and honey and bake at 325.  The best part is when you eat it with 2% milk.  I've recently transitioned into drinking 2%, and let me tell you, after years of nothing but skim it's practically like drinking heavy cream.  I read that our bodies process protein and calcium much more efficiently from fatty dairy products, and whether or not this is completely true, I'm a happy girl with my 2% milk.  

This granola would also be heavenly mixed with Greek yogurt and fresh fruit.

Toasted Coconut and Cherry Granola with Flaxseed

adapted from Annie's Eats

makes about 7 cups

1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1/3 cup walnuts, chopped
1/3 cup almonds, chopped
3 cups old-fashioned oats
3 Tbsp canola oil
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup dried cherries

Preheat oven to 325.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.  Set a large skillet over medium heat, and add coconut. Cook in an even layer, stirring frequently, until lightly browned and toasted.

Transfer the coconut to a bowl.  Add the walnuts and almonds to the pan and cook until lightly browned, a few minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in the oats and oil and continue to cook until the oats are lightly toasted, a few minutes more.

Transfer to large bowl and add honey, flaxseed, cinnamon, and salt.  Stir until combined.  Spread onto the lined baking sheet in an even layer.

Bake, stirring every few minutes, until granola is a light golden brown, about 15 minutes.  Stir in the toasted coconut and dried cherries.  

Move granola to one side of baking sheet and gently mold into a thick slab.  Let cool to room temperature and then break into pieces.  Store in an airtight container.  Enjoy!


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