granola with dried fruit, nuts & seeds

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I make this almost once a week, aside from oats, any grain, nut, seed and dried fruit I have on hand can end up in granola. Synonymous with hippies, the 60’s, their health and a few nuts – granola was what early health nuts were consuming, like it was growing on trees, and it kinda tasted like it was – you know – mostly bark, which left your bite still chewing way longer than it should have! Fast forward to the 21st century –  granola’s image has had a Carson Kressley-style makeover – which certainly explains how all those fruits, nuts, glitz & glamor wiggled their way into a batch of granola. So if you think granola comes in a bag you find at the grocery store, with 10 grams of fat and at least that in sugar, not to mention the price – think again.

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Granola is one of the easiest things to make yourself and it’s really a method rather than a specific recipe. Start with 2-3 cups of oats and the rest is up to you – oat bran, wheat germ, bran flakes, flax meal, nuts, seeds, spices, a sweetener, a little oil, salt – liven it up with coconut, extracts like vanilla, maple or almond, orange zest, applesauce, fruit juice or use apple juice from frozen concentrate, it’ll make your granola crisper – about a 1/2 cup or so. Mix it all up, bake until golden delicious – stirring often – let cool, invite dried fruit to the party and you’ve got yerself some serious rockin’ granola! So here we go – this is just one of many variations – add what you like, leave what you don’t – you’re makin’ granola!

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oats

1. You got yer oats.

oat bran

2. You got yer oat bran.

sunflower seeds

3. You got yer toasted sunflower seeds.

sesamr

4. The same of sesame.

nuts

5. Whatever chopped nuts you like.

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6. Brown sugar will start the sweetening.

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7. Cinnamon is spicin’ it up.

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8. Coconut got an invitation.

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9. And they join the oat mixture.

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10. A little honey, blue agave and oil complete the wet ingredients – honey is on the bottom, then blue agave and then the vegetable oil. And next time, I will put the oil in first, swirl it up the sides, then add the sweet stuff so it’ll all slide out like butta!

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11. Stir it into the oat mixture.

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12. Get it all thoroughly mixed.

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13. Stir in the nuts.

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14. Add salt – it’s the secret ingredient.

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15. Mix it around some more.

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16. Spread it evenly on a baking sheet and start bakin’.

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17. Until nice and golden.

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18. Until really nice and golden. Let cool. I know it’s tempting but you must let it cool.

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19. Get yourself some dried apricots.

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20. Cut them up with scissors.

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21. Gather the raisins.

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22. Ask the pumpkin seeds to join them.

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23. And only after you let it cool down (you did let it cool down didn’t you?) – stir in your accessories – pumpkin seeds, raisons & apricots. The pumpkin seeds didn’t go through the baking ’cause they were already roasted.

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24. Give it a final mix.

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25. And there you have it – a big gorgeous batch of healthy, wholesome, hearty, heavenly granola.

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26. Put it in a container, add a scoop for handy dispensing – and you thought you weren’t a clever cat! Oh yes you are!

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