Homemade Granola: The Ultimate Showdown

I know it’s almost impossible to believe, but I’m self-admittedly a pretty “boring” person. Let me explain. When it comes to what I eat, 90% of my diet is the same; day in, day out. While I love experimenting with new baked goods for the blog/business as well as new dinner options, like my life depends on it, I’ve been eating just about the same breakfasts, lunches, and snacks for about two years now. While I’m sure many would ask, “don’t you get tired of it?!”, my honest answer would be that I don’t! Why? Well, first, because I love what I love. Second, I love knowing what consistently goes into my body, even more. This way, I don’t have to think so hard about making good choices on a daily basis. By Sunday of every week, I’ve already made and prepared those choices!

Anyway, back to the point of that spiel. One of the foods I eat on a daily basis is Greek yogurt. Prior to a few years ago, the thought of Greek yogurt freaked me the heck out. That was until one friend suggested that I try mixing in some granola to mask the texture. From then on in, I’ve never turned back. In fact, I LIVE for granola. Seriously, that crunch is my favorite part of the snack…which all brings me to this week’s post: a granola face-off. While I may eat granola everyday, changing up the flavors I indulge in, is something I do regularly. And, since I haven’t had much time to visit my girl Sally’s blog lately, I thought I’d go big or go home and modify some recipes, based on two of her granolas: Apple Spice Quinoa and Mocha Java Latte. While I customized mine a bit, you can take a look at her site to find the originals. 

Apple Spice Quinoa

I love the idea of this combo. It’s spiced with all of those Fall flavors, and has a great variety of textures to it. There’s chewy, crunchy, you name it. Not to mention, with all of the whole grains that are incorporated, it’s actually a healthy option. That is, if you eat it in moderation. (Which, most of the time…I don’t.) Included in this granola are: oats, quinoa, almonds, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, coconut oil, vanilla, applesauce, maple syrup, brown sugar, dried apples, and raisins. 

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The quinoa serves so many purposes here. First, it’s nutritionally very valuable. It’s a whole grain, with a whole lotta protein and a whole lotta fiber. Not to mention, it gives the granola a great crunchy texture. It’s balanced out nicely by those chewy raisins and soft apple pieces. To make this snack, you’ll simply be mixing your dry ingredients (except for the dried apples and raisins) and wet ingredients in separate bowls and then combining them.

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The finished mix will be spread out on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

Bake for about 45 minutes at 325 degrees, stirring every 10-15 minutes. Once you’ve removed the cookie sheets from the oven, let the granola cool for about 20 minutes before stirring in the apples and raisins. 

Mocha Java Latte

This one is for all of us who need a little caffeine buzz every once in a while. And, chocolate. Because, truthfully, we all need a bit of chocolate. This stuff lets you drink your coffee and eat it too. Ingredients include: oats, almonds, ground coffee, coconut oil, honey, cocoa powder, salt, and chocolate covered espresso beans. (Sally says you can substitute those with chocolate chips…that is where we have to agree to disagree. Add them in. Just. Do. It.) As for coffee flavor, you can use any you’d like. Personally, I went with hazelnut, but, the sky is your limit. 

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First, you’ll be combining your oats, almonds and coffee. In a separate bowl, put together the coconut oil, honey, cocoa powder and salt. Pour the wet bowl into the dry bowl slowly, and stir to incorporate everything into a well combined mixture. 

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Spread the granola onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. You’ll bake this for about 15 minutes at 300 degrees. Stir it once, and then bake for another 10 minutes, or so. After removing the pan from the oven, you can mix in the chocolate covered espresso beans. They’ll melt a bit when you’re stirring. Then, all you’ll need to do is let it cool completely to finish the “crunchify-ing” process. And, yes, that is a real word… maybe. 

Well folks, here goes. And the verdict is….

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Come on…you know me. I can’t decide. Talk to me in a day once I’ve finished the whole batch. Maybe I’ll have come to a conclusion by then.

Until then, stay tuned and stay hungry!

Erin

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