I started working out recently which is very new for me. My entire life I have virtually depended on my extremely fast metabolism to shed extra fat. As I age I realize that this is a temporary fix. So now, I go to the gym four to five times a wee, run, do the elliptical machine and lift weights. I feel great but am constantly looking for a great source of protein to pump me up after a hard workout. I don’t always feel like downing a piece of meat in the morning and sometimes I just need a little bite. I find myself continuously turning to store bought granola or handfuls of crunchy walnuts to get my protein fix. However, store bought granola is not only expensive but laden with excessive amounts of chemicals, fats, and sugars that are unnecessary-not to mention the chemicals that are added as preservatives. I thought, “Hey, im a baker! I will just make my own!” The recipe that follows is a result of me trying to incorporate proteins and grains into my diet in a healthy, natural way. I’m not going to claim that this is fat or sugar free because no granola truly is. But I will tell you that it it is much healthier than most products you will find on the market today. And as with all my recipes, it contains, just a bit of butter. 🙂
Fruit and Nut Granola
2 cups oatmeal
1 cup almonds
1/2 cup wheat germ
2 tblsp butter
2/3 cup organic honey
1/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 tsp vanilla paste
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup chopped dates
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
Bake the oatmeal and almonds on a foil lined cookie sheet at 350 F for about 10 minutes until golden brown. Stir the nuts and almonds halfway through toasting.
Combine sugar, honey, salt, vanilla paste in pot and bring to a simmer. Pour the butter mixture over oatmeal and almond mixture. Stir to combine and add chopped fruit. Spread the mixture into a sprayed or parchment lined baking pan and spread the mixture flat with the back side of a spoon.
Bake the mixture for about 20 minutes until lightly browned. Break the granola into pieces when cool and store in plastic bags or an airtight container.