Monday, March 21, 2011

Getting Crunchy

Spring has sprung. I have a new found appreciation for the plantlife on my terrace and have taken care into watering my palms daily as well as supplying them with much needed nutrients. Not one for being a green thumb, I am turning over a new leaf (pun intended) and getting my hands dirty in our "garden" of sorts. I also have this urge to supply others with nutrients as well... especially my dear friends who have just recently given birth to little angels. If anyone knows.. a new mom needs her healthy snacks! When Paisley was first born, I never ate a proper meal and was always digging into gummy bears in the cupboard...what I DO NOT recommend -but it was quick, easy and stared me in the face! I justified it because I was consuming nothing else. But that's another story.

I came across a granola recipe and figured how pleasant that would be to make and deliver to my new mom friends. Who doesn't love a homemade food offering? If it's healthy, that's even more of a bonus!

I tried a recipe and made a few adjustments based on personal preferences and keeping in mind those that may or may not be breastfeeding. I substituted honey for agave nectar and omitted cocoanut because I personally do not like the texture. But that's just me. You can also sub out any nut or mix it up.

My recipe and substitutions are as follows:

3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans (or almonds, walnuts)
3 tablespoons packed brown sugar (I used light)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt ( plus a dash more)
1/3 cup agave nectar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup assorted dried fruit (preferably unsweetened)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment. Mix the first six ingredients in a large bowl. Stir agave nectar and oil in small saucepan, heat on medium low until smooth and combined. Pour agave mixture over the oat mixture and toss. Spread on prepared baking sheet. Bake until golden, stirring periodically, for about 35-40 minutes.
Place sheet on rack, stir granola; cool. Mix in the dried fruit and enjoy.
After about 20 minutes, granola gets nice and golden...stir it up!

After granola has cooled, toss it with the dried fruit! Yum.