DIY Healthy Holiday Gifts!
Is granola healthy? I’m often asked this question in my cooking classes and with my health coaching clients. Nobody likes the answer, “it depends” though its often the only one I have. Although granola CAN BE healthy, it is one of those products that you need to be an expert label reader to determine if it’s a good choice for you. Finding granola with clean ingredients and no added refined sugar or oil is challenging. I like to make my own granola so I can control what ingredients go into it. Making apple cinnamon granola is surprisingly simple, easy to customize and with minimal effort can be turned into a wonderful gift.
Healthy Oats for a healthy granola.
The essence of granola is old fashioned rolled oats, which have numerous health benefits. Although oats are a carbohydrate, they are low on the glycemic index and rich in magnesium making them a good choice for sustained energy without a spike in blood glucose levels. Oats contain more soluble fiber than any other grain, which helps to lower cholesterol and may prevent heart disease and reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes. Another benefit to oats is that they help you feel fuller longer, which helps control your weight.
With the addition of quinoa, nuts and seeds, the protein content of this apple cinnamon granola has soared which will slow down the digestion process keeping you satiated for longer. The nuts and seeds also provide healthy fats, which are necessary for the body to absorb vitamins A, D and E.
If you prefer other nuts or seeds to the ones listed in the recipe, feel free to substitute. Keep the quantities (ratio of nuts to grains and liquid ingredients) similar and you should have no problems. Hubby likes dried fruit in his granola, so I often will make half the batch with dried cranberries for him.
I also make this chocolate granola, for us and for gifts. Another awesome and healthy choice!
Apple Cinnamon Granola….the perfect gift.
Tis the season…….and I love to give homemade gifts! This is an awesome way to give a warm hug in a jar. There’s no better way to show your appreciation than a well thought out and homemade gift. A jar of granola with a pretty bow is such a lovely gift to receive.
- 3 cups old fashioned oats
- ¾ cup uncooked quinoa
- ½ cup sliced almonds
- ½ cup whole almonds, some roughly chopped
- ¼ cup sesame seeds
- ¼ cup sunflower seeds
- ½ cup pumpkin seeds
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon allspice
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- ½ cup unsweetened organic applesauce
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- 1/2 cup creamy almond butter
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¼ cup dried fruit (optional)
- Preheat oven to 300 and line 2 baking trays with parchment.
- Mix dry ingredients, including spices (and optional dried fruit) set aside.
- In a separate bowl, mix applesauce, maple syrup, almond butter, and vanilla until totally blended.
- Combine wet and dry ingredients and stir until well incorporated.
- Spread on prepared baking pans in a very thin layer. You will need two baking sheets in order for the mixture to dry out during cooking.
- Bake for 45 minutes total, breaking it up a bit with a spatula after 30 minutes. If you like clusters in your granola, don’t break it up too much, but if you like it more crumbly, mix it up while it’s still not quite hard. It will continue to harden and get more crunchy as it cools, so don’t worry if all of it doesn’t seem really firm, but it should be golden.
- If you want some clumps, let it cool completely before further breaking it up. Otherwise, mix it to break up those clusters. Either way, let it cool completely before storing.
- Granola will stay good in glass jar at room temp for 2 weeks or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 952 Total Fat: 19g Saturated Fat: 4g Cholesterol: 4mg Sodium: 2332mg Carbohydrates: 169g Sugar: 7g Protein: 31g