Saturday, March 20, 2010

Smart Fart Granola

So last weekend I realized that I would be extremely busy this week. Between group presentations, training for a run, being nice and cooking for others, a show on thursday night (which was really fun), and pulling a concert out of my ass on Friday, my food blog seemed really trivial. Although, last weekend I was smart enough to "check myself, lest I wreck myself," and make food ahead for the week.

Story behind the name is this: My mother comes up with the funniest things on the planet sometimes. You know Smart Start Cereal? Well, it makes you pretty gassy--all good cereals do! Thats how you know it works! But be careful, if you don't usually eat a lot of fiber, and you start downing granola as easily as I have, your body can have a more gaseous reaction than you want. It is okay to slowly introduce it into your system, but try not to eat it twice a day at first.
For nutrition factor, the big one here is fiber and all the health benefits from whatever nuts you decide to put in it! Also, the antioxidant power of dried cherries and nutrients from raisins will give you a super-boost. I felt bad about the stick of butter though, so if you want, do half a stick of butter and 5 Tbls vegetable oil. Also, if you want to use ALL honey instead of honey and brown sugar, that is an option. (Try using Agave nectar too. I need to get me some of that, but it is expensive).
Which reminds me, this is a pretty expensive thing to make but here are some tips:
-Buy your dried fruits and nuts at Trader Joes (so much cheaper) 
-Buy store brand oats 
-Buy the cheapest honey (honey is honey no matter what, but the taste usually gets better as the price goes up. Don't be fooled by a neat package!)
-If you can't find wheat germ (like me) use something like "Scottish oats" I found those at the "Greenwise" section at Publix.

Smart Fart Granola
4 c rolled oats
1-2 c chopped walnuts
1 c sliced almonds
1 c wheat germ or Scottish Oats
1-2 c dried fruits (I like cherries, craisins and raisins)
3/4 c sunflower seeds
For the stick stuff:
1 stick unsalted butter (or half oil-half butter)
1/2 c honey or agave
1/3 c brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp almond extract
cinnamon + whatever spices you like!

1. Put first 6 ingredients into a LARGE mixing bowl. Preheat oven to 400.
2. In a small saucepan, melt butter, sugar and honey together. Add the vanilla, almond extract and spices. Let it come to a boil and stir constantly for about 3 minutes. (mixture should look like the beginning stage of caramel)
3. Pour mixture over oats and stir well. Place on a greased or lined cookie sheet and press the mixture down tight. Bake for 10 minutes only--mixture will not be browned. Let it cool for 15 minutes. (when I took my granola out, only the edges and top of the mixture was clumped. So if you want more clumps, take out the already made clumps, repress the mixture into the pan, and have a second go. 10 minutes in the oven, then 15 cooling) Repeat if necessary, but try not to cook the fruit, it gets a bit hard and gross!
4. Eat with yogurt or milk, or on its own!

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