How to Make Granola

Granola is so yummy, versatile, and satisfying. You can eat it alone, with yogurt, milk, fruit... but it is hard to find one that is made with high-quality fat at the stores. Most store-bought granolas list canola oil as the fat/oil of choice. The problem with canola oil is that, if it is not organic, it is probably GMO (genetically modified organism) canola. And the chance of finding a granola made with pure, organic butter... is just about nil. Organic sun/safflower oils are good fat choices, but not used very often.

Given the stats... I make my own. It takes about 5 minutes of work, and a total of 15 to cook. With these timings, it would be a ''pecado,'' a sin, not to make your own. I get to choose my own ingredients, and make it whichever way I want = power to myself.

I love finding ways to be more efficient. So this is how I ''simplified'' a recipe that I originally found on Epicurious a couple years ago.

1. Preheat oven to 375ºF.

2. Cut 2 to 3 Tbs (tablespoons) of butter, and place them apart on a 9x13 glass (Pirex) dish. You can find Pirex dishes in most supermarkets, and they are inexpensive. This size works well for me (makes lots of granola, so I don't have to make it often = efficient), but you can use any size you choose, whatever works for you. If you are completely new to cooking, don't bother measuring. Take a stick of butter, use a third of it, cut it up in chunks, and throw it in the glass dish. Or a deep dish made of any other material except Teflon (please refer to past blog posts on Teflon).

3. Place dish in the oven for a couple minutes, or until the butter melts. Take the dish out of the oven, throw some honey on the butter, and mix. The amount of honey depends on how sweet you like your breakfast. I use about 1/4 cup of it, or whatever I'm in the mood for at that moment. You can also use maple syrup, agave syrup... your choice, as long as it is a decent-quality product (aka: not corn syrup!). Again, for those of you who feel utter dread at the mere mention of the word ''1/4 cup,'' just pour as much syrup as you need in order to make your granola yummy.

4. Now that you have a nice butter and honey/maple/agave syrup mix in the dish, throw in 4 cups of oat flakes, or a mixture of rye and oat flakes, and 2 cups of your favorite nuts. I don't bother to chop them, too much work. My favorite are pecans and walnuts, but I also use almonds and raw/unsalted cashews. I also throw in coconut flakes (unsweetened) once in a while, or seeds such as sunflower and pumpkin. I've also used vanilla and almond extract before, but most of the time I forget the extracts altogether, even though they have a lovely scent. Mix everything well, taking care not to let it spill over (easy to do, trust me). If it does spill over, whistle for your dog to come and clean up the mess on the floor.

5. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until golden. You are done! You can also, midway through baking, take the dish out and stir it, so that all of the oats become golden and crisp. But if you don't have the time or patience for it, don't worry, it will come out just as delicious. Once it is baked, you may add any kind of dried fruit you wish- just don't bake the dried fruit, as it tends to become completely charred.

6. Remember to do 10 minutes of burpees while your granola bakes...

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