Fall has definitely been in full swing. The morning air is crisper, the evenings cooler, and nature’s hues more vibrant. Soccer practice, nightly homework, and church activities have taken up our evenings. And, I went back to work teaching full time this year, after being part-time for the past three. Things are much busier than I had anticipated, but the routines are beginning to fall back into place.
I am one of those people who sets an alarm at the last possible minute, and because I do this to myself, breakfast is something I eat once I am sitting at my desk in my classroom. (Usually checking my emails…) Since I don’t create much margin in my morning routine, and I definitely want to keep eating healthy, I have been making my breakfasts the night before. Homemade granola is not only better for you, because there is less sugar in it than store-bought, but you can customize it to fit what you like. For example, I can’t stand raisins, so dried cranberries are my substitute.
This recipe makes a big batch, and I store it in a very large glass Mason jar. Sunday night I make five small parfaits, layering yogurt, a heaping scoop of sliced fruit, and a teaspoon of my favorite jam. (Years ago I found these plastic, freezable containers–I think it was originally for making freezer jam–that I put my parfaits in, but any small container with a lid will do.) I put the granola in a sandwich bag, as I don’t want it to get soggy next to the yogurt or fruit. Then when I am ready to eat, I sprinkle the granola over the top, eat half, sprinkle a little more granola on and finish it up. This breakfast keeps me full for 4 hours. Which is good, since I need all the energy I can get teaching adolescent children.
Make a batch for your quick and healthy breakfasts. Enjoy! xoxo
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 2 1/2 hours
Serves: 8 cups
3 c old-fashioned oats (not quick-cooking)
1 c dried cranberries
1 1/2 c chopped pecans
3/4 c sunflower seeds
3/4 c pumpkin seeds
3/4 c flaxseed
1 1/2 t kosher salt (otherwise, 3/4 t table salt)
1 1/2 t ground cinnamon
Pinch of nutmeg
3/4 c agave
3/4 c water
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Using cooking spray, lightly grease 2 jelly roll pans. In a very large bowl, combine all ingredients except the agave and water. When all ingredients are well mixed, add the agave and water, mixing gently to coat everything. Divide the granola in half, and place on the jelly roll pans. Using the back of a wooden spoon, press down to 1/2-inch thickness. (Make sure all pieces of the granola are together, because if you have some straggling pieces, they will burn in the oven.)
Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Turn off the oven. Remove the pans and using a spatula, flip and gently toss the granola. (This allows the bottom to not get too soggy.) Return to oven for 2 hours to completely dry.
Store in an air-tight container for up to 2 weeks.
NOTE: Remind yourself that the granola is drying in the oven, which you turned off. One time I forgot this, and 1 1/2 hours later, preheated the oven to make dinner. Needless to say, most of my granola was quite crispy.
Recipe Source: slightly adapted from Giada