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The Best Healthy Granola Is Homemade!

Remember last week when I posted about how easy and inexpensive it is to make your own hummus? If you missed that post check it out here. Granola is another food item that is expensive to buy but very cost affective if you make your own. The commercial varieties of granola are so full of fat and calories that your healthy serving size is about a tablespoon! Hardly enough to satisfy this granola eater.

There are a few things I collect and high on my collection list are recipes and cookbooks. Big surprise! I read different food related message boards and recipe sites. Often times I read about a popular cookbook amongst foodies that I some how missed when it first came out so that sends me looking for the book on e-bay or Amazon. I recently treated myself to two (new to me) used cookbooks. They have both turned out to be fabulous finds. You know when I find something wonderful I can’t keep it to myself, I have to share it.

The best granola recipe comes from Pam Anderson’s The Perfect Recipe For Losing Weight and Eating Great. No this isn’t that Pam Anderson! This Pam Anderson is a well known and respected chef and cookbook author. She wrote The Perfect Recipe, Perfect Recipes for Having People Over and her newest book, Perfect One Dish Dinners. She was also a former executive editor for Cook’s Illustrated.

As you can imagine all that cooking and tasting of recipes can pack on the pounds. When Pam found herself with 50 extra pounds she decided to drop the weight but of course she wasn’t willing to sacrifice good taste or her high food standards to do it! With all of her cooking expertise one might think this cookbook would be full of complicated and difficult to execute recipes. Well it is quite the opposite. This cook book is full of easy to prepare simple recipes that are big on flavor and visual appeal. In this time crunched world we live in we all need easy and quick recipes that are healthy and uncomplicated. One thing I really enjoy about this cookbook is that she gives you a basic recipe and then several options so you can modify and customize the recipe depending on your personal taste or the ingredients you have in stock. For instance, she teaches you how to make the basic granola recipe as well as providing you with 8 variations! I love her style of cooking.

Pam shares her weight loss story and her tips and hints for getting started and having a healthy lifestyle. If a foodie chef can lose weight and stay fit while cooking and eating delicious food so can we! Pam’s motto is “Eat what you love and love what you eat.” I concur! A good meal makes me happy and content. This cookbook was an amazing find and since I found a used library copy I only paid $4.99 plus $3.99 shipping. If you have a few extra minutes check out e-bay or Amazon and order yourself a copy of this incredible cookbook. After the holiday indulgences are over you will be ready to start the New Year with these fresh, healthy, delightful recipes!

I have tried several different low fat, low sugar granola recipes over the years and some were downright terrible, others tasted good but were still around 200 calories for a 1/4 cup serving. This granola recipe version for cherries and almond clocks in at a mere 123 calories for a 1/4 cup serving which is the perfect amount to top a half cup serving of non fat Greek yogurt and some fruit. This is granola heaven!

The other morning Katy woke up to the smell of this granola baking and she came into the kitchen with anticipation as to what that wonderful aroma was and hoping it was something for her to enjoy for breakfast. She is a tough food critic so if she falls head over heals for a healthy version of a favorite food I know I have hit a home run! She couldn’t stop snacking on this and even wanted me to leave a dish of it out on the counter for her! Whoo hoo!

The basic granola recipe is a mixture of wholesome ingredients such as oats, wheatgerm, nuts or seeds and dried fruit.  Pam prefers to use maple syrup to sweeten the granola but you can also sub honey or a combination of the two. A pinch of salt helps to bring out the sweetness and enhances the flavor.  Just a small amount of vegetable oil, real maple syrup and a smidgen of water form a tasty mortar that helps the granola clump together while baking in a low temperature oven, resulting in a crisp golden granola. I added my own touch of cinnamon and freshly ground Nutmeg to enhance the flavor with delicious results! I can’t wait to try some of the other versions of granola. We won’t be buying granola around here anymore! Someone has requested a bag of granola for the long flight back to Spain!

If I would have found this recipe sooner I would have made some batches to give as gifts. It would be lovely placed in a glass pint or half quart size jar, tied off with a cute ribbon and a wooden spoon attached. Well I know what I will be making next year to give away!

Great Granola

  • 2 cups old fashioned oats  (see note below)
  • 1/2 cup wheat germ
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup extra ingredients (see variations and options below)
  • 1/4 cup Maple Syrup
  • 3 Tablespoons flavorless oil like vegetable or canola
  • 2 Tablespoons warm water

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 275 degrees. Spray a 9 x 13 pan with non stick vegetable spray.

Mix oats, wheat germ salt and extra ingredients – except dried fruit – in a medium bowl. Heat syrup, oil, water and flavoring if called for in a small pan over medium heat. Drizzle over oat mixture and stir to combine.

Pour mixture into prepared pan. Working with a handful at a time, squeeze cereal for form small clumps. Bake for 30 minutes. Stir in dried fruit, continue to bake until golden brown, 20 -25 minutes longer. Let cool and serve. Granola can be stored in an airtight container for 1 month. It will never last that long!

Note: For best results use old fashioned or rolled oats, not quick cooking. Quick cooking have a powdery rather than crisp texture and taste of raw starch. Old fashioned oats bake into crisp, golden granola.

Yield: 1 Quart  Serving Size: 1/4 CUP

Extra Ingredient Options:

Cherries and Almond Granola (pictured)

Extra ingredients

  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/3 cup sweetened or unsweetened flaked coconut
  • 1/3 cup dried cherries

Flavoring:

  • 3/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • * 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • *1/4 teaspoon freshly grated Nutmeg
  • * my additions – I can’t imagine granola without cinnamon!

Per 1/4 cup Serving: 123 Calories; 6g Fat (40.2% calories from fat); 3g Protein; 16g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 39mg Sodium Old WWP 3 / New WWPP 3

Classic Granola

Extra ingredients

  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/3 cup sweetened or unsweetened flaked coconut
  • 1/3 cup dark or golden raisins

Flavoring:

  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Per 1/4 cup Serving: 128 Calories; 6g Fat (42.5% calories from fat); 4g Protein; 16g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 39mg Sodium Old WWP 3 / New WWPP 3

Trail Mix Granola

Extra Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup chopped roasted unsalted peanuts
  • 1/4 cup sweetened or unsweetened flaked coconut
  • 1/4 cup dark raisins
  • 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips (stir in after granola has completely cooled)

Per 1/4 cup Serving: 126 Calories; 6g Fat (40.1% calories from fat); 3g Protein; 17g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 40mg Sodium. Old WWP 3 / New WWPP 4

Recipes adapted from Pam Anderson’s The Perfect Recipe for Losing Weight and Eating Great.

Nutmeg Notes

The only thing I don’t like about this cookbook is the only nutritional information included is the calories per serving. I have yet to get new software for calculating nutritional information. It is on my list of wants! I did read on line that to calculate the new WWPP if you don’t have all of the required nutritional information or the new points calculator you can estimate the points plus value by dividing the calories per serving by 40. It isn’t perfect but it does give you a  estimate of the points. On the recipes or products I have tried this method with, sometimes the number comes up lower than the calculator and sometimes it is higher. Even though it isn’t perfect, I do find this helpful in the grocery store though as it is much quicker than plugging in all the information into the points calculator.

Katy and I are baking today! It will be a busy day in the kitchen resulting in some delightful treats. I already know which treats I want to sample over the next couple of days and which ones I can do without. I discovered earlier in the week that I don’t tolerate sugar and fat very well anymore. I had a couple small samples of the treats Katy brought us from Spain and they tasted amazing but I didn’t feel too well afterwards. Sugar and fat no longer hold the appeal for me that they once did. Now that is a turning point!

Blessings,

Tami

Add Your Thoughts

Do you like granola?

Have your tried making  your own healthier granola?


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13 comments

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  1. Karen says:

    LOVE granola! I have never tried making it but the spa I go to has a recipe that my sister-in-law has made several times. Yum.

  2. Ann says:

    I really like granola, but sometimes it is really high calorie so you have to watch it. I’ve never made it before, but that doesn’t mean I’m not willing to try. I love a little granola in my yogurt for breakfast. i love the crunch. Maybe I’ll try out your recipe. I like how you packaged it in the jar w/ the spoon and cute bow. Now I’ve got to go get dinner going. Have a great Christmas!

  3. leslie says:

    Hi Tami – I love granola but virtually never eat it because of the calorie, sugar and fat density. This recipe sounds great and I think I’ll give it a try over the holidays.

    Have a wonderful Christmas and enjoy your holiday with Katy home from Spain!

  4. Biz says:

    I’ll have to see if my library has that cookbook – I love homemade granola – thanks for posting the recipe!

    Merry Christmas to you and your family! So glad you are enjoying your time with Katy! :D

  5. Dawne says:

    I’ve been buying some organic “Girlnola” lately, “clean” granola, made by a local Canadian lady. It’s quite costly, so I think it’s time to start making my own. Thanks for the idea!

  6. Marisa @ Loser for Life says:

    I love making granola! I made some a while back with cherries and almonds, too! It’s a winning combo for sure!

    I have gotten that book out of the library and liked a lot of the recipes! The flatbread dough is really good and easy!

    Merry Christmas, Tami!

  7. Cammy@TippyToeDiet says:

    Thanks for the recipes! Most I’ve seen have too much sugar for me to have with any frequency at all. Like you, I like to use it as a topping for my yogurt.

  8. Josie @ The Skinny Way Of Life says:

    Thank you for posting this! I was just thinking of making Granola for a last minute Christmas gift! : )

  9. Carol says:

    Thanks for the recipe Tami…love granola but like you said, the commercial stuff is too high in fat, sugar & who knows what preservatives! I will try your recipe over the holidays!

    The “divide by 40″ is pretty close to the PP calculations.I bought the new WW PointsPlus food scale but I’m waiting till after Christmas to start using it…too busy right now to figure it out!

    Merry Christmas to you & your lovely family!!

  10. Lisa T says:

    Hi Tami,

    I was so surprised when I came to your blog and saw the photo of that book cover because I just last week discovered this cookbook too! I even bought it for my mom as a Christmas gift because she and my dad are wanting to get slimmer, healthier and more fit in the new year. Can’t to make that granola!

    You said there were two cookbooks that were new to you, what is the other one? Are you as enamored of it as you are with Pam Anderson’s? I too am a recipe and cookbook collector (part of the reason I love your blog) and am always interested to hear about a good one, especially if it is consistent with my goals of eating both healthy and delicious food.

    Merry Christmas to you and yours!

  11. Jody - Fit at 53 says:

    Have a wonderful Christmas Tami! I am like you with nutritional stats. like to know them all! ;-)

  12. megi says:

    Hi Tami, I made this granola yesterday, I can still smell it. I just made a minor change, when I make granola I like to use pureed fruit, such as apple sauce and pureed pumpkins, so instead of the oil, I used pumpkin puree and lots of cinnamon. It’s excellent, thank you.

    1. Tami says:

      Megi what a great idea! Thank you for letting me know this. I will have to give that a try on my next batch of granola. That would reduce the fat and calories too! I will have to crunch the numbers and see how that works out. I love the blog sphere because we learn so much from each other.

      Hope you are having an awesome day!

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