Home-made 'pick n mix' granola
Breakfast is probably one of the easiest meals to get 'stuck in a rut' with. Especially for kids - once they've found their favourite (often sugary) cereals, it can be hard to get them to switch to anything else. Add to that the time pressure of having to get everyone fed, dressed and out the house in time for school and sometimes the idea of a quick and healthy breakfast for the kids seems impossible.
Over the past year or so, we gradually weaned the kids off all their favourite sugary cereals. Instead the only shop-bought ones I buy these days are the Honey spelt puffs from Rude Health and the Bear Alphabites. Both of these cereals are free of refined sugar, the former sweetened with honey and the latter with coconut blossom nectar. Shredded wheat is also acceptable but as it doesn't have anything to sweeten it the kids tend not to enjoy it so much.
They've grown to like porridge, which is great but they've never liked any of the granolas that we've tried before. They never even liked my own homemade granola until one day...I decided to prep all the separate elements of it and then allow each child to only add in the extras that they particularly liked and, hey presto, our 'pick n mix' style granola was a success!
We've been making it this way ever since and have now found a good mix of ingredients that they all agree on and enjoy so we tend to make a big batch of it once every week or two and that keeps them going.
I've learnt the hard way that baking requires specific measurements of the various ingredients but thankfully in other forms of cooking there is more leeway and so this is a recipe where we now guesstimate the quantities and it has served us well doing it this way.
Approx 500g porridge oats
Approx 3-4 tablespoons Coconut oil
Approx 2-3 tablespoons maple syrup
sprinkle of Vanilla powder (we usually use ndali)
pinch or two of ground cinnamon (we often use Steenbergs)
Our selection of Pick n mix nuts, seeds, dried fruit etc:
cashews nuts (top tip - if you have the option of buying whole cashews or broken pieces, go for the broken ones - they're usually cheaper and saves you having to chop them up yourself)
toasted chopped hazelnuts
raisins or sultanas
chopped mango pieces
chocolate chips or buttons broken into pieces (we used white chocolate buttons today. My preference is for cacao nibs or chopped dark chocolate but the kids prefer milk or white chocolate)
1. Melt together the coconut oil, maple syrup, cinnamon and vanilla powder over a low heat on the hob. Pre-heat the oven to 160C.
2. Combine this mixture together with the oats in a big bowl, stirring well until all the oats are lightly coated.
3. Spread out onto 2 baking trays and cook in the oven for a total of around 40-45 minutes. However you will need to mix it every 10-15 minutes to prevent burning.
4. On a separate baking tray, place any of the nuts and seeds you wish to use. We tend to use pre-roasted hazlenuts so these don't need roasting but the other nuts and seeds do. Bake in the oven for around 5-10 minutes. Keep a close eye on them as they can burn easily - especially smaller things like the sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds.
5. Once the oats and the nuts and seeds are cooked, leave them to cool completely and then mix together.
6. When completely cool, mix in the raisins, mango pieces, goji berries and chocolate.
Keep in an air-tight container. The granola never lasts too long in our household but I think it would keep for at least a few weeks in the air-dried container.
I love it with Rude Health Almond milk or brown rice milk. It also tastes great with a dollop of yogurt (The Collective Straight Up is great and I also love St Helen's Farm for a goat's milk yogurt).