Lightened-up Almond Granola

lighter summer granola with blueberries

Well, the hubbs has finally joined the Greek yogurt club. The bad news about that was he didn’t forecast this decision. A fridge void of Chobani when that is one of your go-to work breakfast options definitely starts the day off on a sad note. I think it was that night he told me, “Those Chobanis are good. I had 2 the other day!” 🙂

We do tend to go through quite a bit of granola with our morning yogurt. This is one of those recipes that I cannot believe I haven’t shared. This granola is a workhorse in our breakfast rotation, and I have no idea how many times I have made it. Enough that I now essentially have the recipe memorized.

lightened-up granola finished

This recipe is originally from Oh She Glows, and the base of the recipe is still pretty similar to Angela’s although I’ve made a few adaptations to make it fit our tastes. Largely reducing the amount of brown sugar called for in the dry ingredients. We usually like things sweet here, but I promise you won’t notice a difference. As with most granolas, it is pretty easy. Especially so, as the “sauce” portion of this one doesn’t need to be cooked on the stove. The bake time is an estimate of 20-25 minutes, and I find this is true for me as well. Each batch varies just a bit in the time it needs in the oven. Just watch the pieces of oats and almonds. When you see them browning, it is done. The pieces may still seem a little soft, but it will crisp as it cools.

With some Greek yogurt and berries, I could absolutely see this as an addition to Easter Brunch. Enjoy!

(Printable Recipe)

Lightened-up Almond Granola
Adapted from Oh She Glows

Ingredients:
6 cups old-fashioned oats
1-1/2 cups sliced almonds
1 cup uncooked millet
6 Tbsp. ground flaxseed
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1-1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1-1/2 to 2 tsp. Kosher salt
6 heaping Tbsp. unsweetened applesauce
3/4 cup honey
1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp. almond butter
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1-1/2 tsp. almond extract

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Spray a couple large sheet pans with nonstick spray. Set aside. In a large bowl, combine the first 7 ingredients (oats through salt). Mix well.

In a medium-sized, microwave safe bowl, mix the applesauce, honey, and almond butter. Microwave, for 30 seconds at a time, and stir until the mixture is uniform and smooth. Let cool slightly and add the vanilla and almond extracts. Mix well.

Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and stir until all the oat mixture appears to be coated with the almond butter mixture. Divide between the prepared pans spreading the granola in a single, even layer in the pan. I usually have to use 3 pans. Bake for 20-25 minutes, stirring halfway. Remove the granola when the pieces begin to brown. It will go from brown to burnt quickly (especially on the edges) so watch it closely. The granola will crisp as it cools.

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Fruit and Nut Granola

For breakfast, I am typically an oatmeal girl. Give me a container of oats, applesauce and cinnamon, and I am a happy girl. Better yet if I can add some sliced bananas on top. The hubbs, not so much. He really is not a picky guy, but oatmeal is not his thing. He tells me it’s a texture issue more than anything.

Since he’s not as happy with that container of dry oats as I am, I am constantly on the lookout for quick, homemade breakfast ideas for him. If my description of my oatmeal above tells you one thing, mornings and I are not the best of friends. If it is going to take me longer than 5 minutes to make in the morning, I am not going to have time to do it, making eggs and really anything that needs to be cooked out of the question.

Enter homemade granola. Something that can be made at home, can be made ahead of time to be a quick meal in the morning, and something that he enjoys. Sounds like it meets all the requirements! 

Granola is something that I have actually made before. I have a great pumpkin granola recipe that I make again and again throughout the fall, but I really wanted to find a recipe that was less seasonal and more universal. In looking through the recipes that I have saved from other blogs, I realized I have had this recipe from Natalie at Oven Love saved for almost a year. Her description of the granola sounded great – full of chunks, low in oil/butter, and using nuts and flaxseed to boost the nutritional value. One note on the flaxseeds – if you want to get the nutritional benefits, they need to be ground. Overall, I am happy to report that this recipe was a hit. Now if I can just keep up with making it! Enjoy!
(Printable Recipe)

Fruit and Nut Granola
Adapted from Oven Love (originally from Chocolate and Carrots and Gourmande in the Kitchen)

Ingredients:
2-1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
2-1/2 cups quick cooking oats
1-1/2 cups puffed rice/wheat cereal
2-3 Tbsp. ground flaxseed 

1-1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 Tbsp. canola oil
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups mix of nuts, chopped
1 cup dried fruit (mix of raisins and cranberries, or whatever you’d like)

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Line 2 large, flat baking sheets with foil or parchment paper. 

In a large bowl, combine oats, puffed cereal, ground flaxseed, cinnamon, and salt. In a separate bowl, combine the applesauce, honey, brown sugar, canola oil, and vanilla extract. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. 

Pour the granola on the baking sheets, splitting evenly between the two sheets. With your hands, squeeze or pinch the oats together into small/medium clumps leaving space on the baking sheet between the clumps. Bake for 20 minutes. 

While the granola is baking, chop the nuts and mix together in a small bowl. When the granola is finished baking, flip it with a large spatula and split the nuts between the baking pans. Bake for another 20-30 minutes, until completely dry and brown. Let the granola cool completely on the baking sheets. Once cool, add the dried fruit. Store in an airtight container.

Pumpkin Granola

It’s already the middle of October, and pumpkin recipes seem to be everywhere right now. I, too, have already joined in the pumpkin madness, making these delicious cookies a couple weeks ago. My issue with these recipes is that many of them call for 1 c. of pumpkin puree, thus leaving me wondering what I should do with the half can of pumpkin sitting in the fridge? The answer absolutely is to make this granola from Maria at Two Peas and Their Pod

I seem to be on a granola kick lately (I’ve made 3 different recipes in the last month), but this is absolutely the best granola recipe I’ve ran across thus far. The spices, pumpkin, and maple syrup combine to give it a great “fall” flavor, but my favorite part has to be the chunks.The pumpkin puree and applesauce work as binders to make the oats hold together giving you larger chunks of granola pieces. Perfect.

 I stayed pretty true to Maria’s recipe, only adding about 1/2 c. of almonds to the oat mixture before coating it with the wet ingredients. If you’ve got that random partial can of pumpkin sitting in your fridge, please make this granola. You can always bring some to me if you end up with too much =) Enjoy!

(Printable Recipe)

Pumpkin Granola
Adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod

Ingredients:
5 c. rolled oats
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (can make your own)
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 c. whole almonds
3/4 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. pumpkin puree
1/4 c. applesauce
1/4 c. maple syrup
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 c. dried cranberries
1/2 c. pepitas (or pumpkin seeds)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. 

In a small bowl, combine the oats, spices, salt, and almonds. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, pumpkin puree, applesauce, maple syrup, and vanilla extract. Whisk until smooth. Pour wet ingredients into the oat mixture and stir until the oats are evenly coated. They will be moist. Evenly spread the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet.

Bake for 20 minutes. Remove pan from the oven and stir. Bake for an additional 15-20 minutes or until the granola is golden and crisp. Remove from the oven and stir in dried cranberries and pepitas. Let it cool completely. Store in an airtight container. Serve with yogurt or milk or just enjoy it plain as a snack =)

Cinnamon and Molasses Granola

The test is done! Woo hoo! I am so glad that I can finally relax a little more and enjoy an evening at home with the hubby! This is a granola recipe that I found here on allrecipes.com. I like this recipe because it uses things that you typically have around the house. So many granola recipes call for flaxseed and wheat germ. I just can’t justify buying something that is farily expensive like that for only 1 recipe that I might make once and awhile. I’ll stick with my oats. In addition to that, I also am not the biggest fan of nuts in my food, so this recipe was right up my alley.
The original recipe also calls for raisins. I left them out for personal preference (I’m sounding farily picky…) but have substituted dried cranberries with great success. This is definately more of a “crumbly” type granola. There aren’t any large chunks in the finished product. I have played with the proportions of sauce to oats a little bit, and I suppose you could up the sauce:oat ratio more if you like more chunks in your granola. As is, this one works for us. The hubby likes to use it as an ice cream topping, and I like it in my yogurt as well as plain. It makes a pretty good study food for brain power 🙂 Enjoy!
Cinnamon and Molasses Granola
4 c. oats (I’ve used both old-fashioned and quick oats)
1 c. sweetened, shredded coconut
1/3 c. packed brown sugar
1/3 c. honey
1/4 c. canola oil
1 Tbsp. molasses
1 tsp. cinnamon
1-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 c. raisins or dried cranberries (optional)
In a large bowl, combine oats and coconut. Set aside. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

In a saucepan, combine brown sugar, oil, honey, and cinnamon; bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and stir in vanilla. Pour over oat mixture; stir to coat. Spread in a shallow baking pan. Bake for about 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes until coconut looks toasted. Cool. Add raisins or dried cranberries if desired. Store in an airtight container.