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!
- 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)
- 1/3 cup sliced almonds
- 1/3 cup sweetened or unsweetened flaked coconut
- 1/3 cup dried cherries
- 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
- 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/3 cup sweetened or unsweetened flaked coconut
- 1/3 cup dark or golden raisins
- 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
- 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.
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!
Add Your Thoughts
Do you like granola?
Have your tried making your own healthier granola?