Friday, July 6, 2012

Secretly Healthy Granola

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Okay, I don't want you to think that I don't like healthy food. I could defeat a whole army of raccoons if they got in between me and my roasted asparagus. And if you read this post, you know that's saying a lot. Raccoons are pretty formidable opponents.

The thing I don't like is when people try to make baked goods healthy and in the process make them bland and dry. The only way I will allow you to make healthy baked goods is if you keep it a secret. Like this Secretly Healthy Chocolate Cake. Yum.

Now, when I made this granola, I was still suffering horribly from the worst cold of the century. I could not smell. I could not taste. I could not see any joy or beauty in the world. And the worst part was, we were out of salt, so my already dimmed senses had nothing to grab on to to lift them out of the blandness.

Luckily though, Dad had just bought a whole fleet of disposable salt shakers because apparently he could never find any of our multiple permanent salt shakers when he needed one.

But I can't shake salt into teaspoons. Not unless I want it to take all century. 

Bam. Ready to pour. 

Dad wasn't happy when he was eating his egg the next morning.

"First I have to buy my own salt shakers so that I can actually find one, and then those aren't even safe?!?!!" he said to the mound of salt he had unwittingly bestowed upon his breakfast.

Poor Dad.

But anyways, I think he forgave me when he tried this granola. Now don't get me wrong, I still love Momma James's trusty old recipe. But Dad and I just didn't feel so guilty about eating pretty much this whole batch in one sitting. The egg whites give it the perfect amount of crunchiness without adding any refined sugar. The maple syrup and sweetened coconut give it just enough sweetness. You can add anything you want, flax seed, oat bran, poppy seeds, sunflower seeds, raisins, cashews, you name it. This is something you can be creative with. Just don't forget the salt.

Secretly Healthy Granola 

2 1/2 cups rolled oats (gluten free works if that's your thing)
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
1 cup nuts (I used pecans), roughly chopped
1 cup dried fruit (I used cherries)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 egg whites

Mix it all together. Bake on a greased cookie sheet for 1 hour at 250ยบ, stirring every 15 minutes. Store in an airtight container.

And um... vanilla almond milk is the only way to go. Real milk is yuck.

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