Unlike previous year’s resolutions, I decided to get started right away on my Culinary Resolutions for 2009. To the right, you will now see the “Ask Shaw Girl” box inviting readers to send in their cooking questions/dilemmas/cries for help. Hopefully there will actually be enough questions to make “Ask Shaw Girl” a monthly segment. If not, I guess I could get the kitties to offer up their queries (“Why do you make all of these things from scratch and then feed me from that bag you haul out? Where’s our homemade liver treats???”). I’ve also ordered Mark Bittman’s “How to Cook Everything” (Amazon says I’ll have it on January 16th!!!!!) and plan on cooking my way through it in a (hopefully) weekly posting I’ll lovingly refer to as Bittman Thursdays. And most importantly, I’ve slowly started cooking more with whole grains…which brings me to the lovely granola of which this post is about…
I love making granola because it’s not only simple, it’s delicious. It’s fairly easy to whip up a huge batch for the week’s breakfast and you can customize it to suit your tastes. Google “granola recipe” and you’re given hundreds of options, from fruit and nut granolas to totally vegan granolas. My personal favorite is a hearty maple granola that a friend from North Carolina showed me how to make a few years ago. I decided to throw in a few extra heart healthy ingredients for this granola and the result was not only delicious (if I do say so myself), but I’m almost positive my body thanked me.
Hearty Homemade Granola
4 cups rolled oats
1 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut
2/3 cup chopped walnuts, pecans or almonds
1/3 cup whole flaxseeds (can be omited but I like the crunch of whole flaxseeds)
1/2 cup ground flaxseeds (for the nutrients not digestable from the whole flaxseeds)
2 teaspoons cinammon
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 tablespoons canola oil
Preheat oven to 300 degrees
Lightly spray two cookie sheets with canola oil Pam (or a similar canola oil spray) and set aside. In a large bowl, combine the oats, flaxseeds (both whole and ground), wheat germ, coconut and nuts. Sprinkle the mixture with the cinnamon and toss everything to coat. In a small bowl, whisk together the syrup and the vanilla. Add the vanilla syrup to the oat mixture and using a wooden spoon, stir to coat. Add the canola oil and continue stirring until the mixture is well combined. Spread out the granola evenly among the two cookie sheets with a spatula.
Bake for 20 minutes and then rotate the pans in the oven. Using a heat resistant spatula, stir around the granola to ensure even browning. Bake for another 15-25 minutes or until the granola is golden brown. Keep a close eye on the granola to make sure it doesn’t burn.