It’s no secret that Ben & I enjoy our food. Enjoy our food so much that we have gone up through the clothes sizes through our years of having a shop! Well we are trying to continue enjoying our food, just in a manner that allows us to dig back out some of those forgotten back of the wardrobe numbers and bring them back into daily wearing territory! One massive factor for us, to help with shedding a few pounds is cutting out (or severely cutting down) the sugar. So people will say ‘you sell cakes for a living and now you are talking of cutting out sugar?!’ Well, yes. Because if you have a piece of cake, you know it’s got sugar in it and you KNOW it’s a treat. If you have a bowl of cereal, a can of soup, a cooking sauce of a loaf of bread; the sugar in there is hidden! You don’t realise you are having it and you definitely don’t consider these things a treat. This is the sugar we are going after! I’m convinced that by cutting out or down the sugar in these day to day foods, you can still eat the same meals, to the same or even greater enjoyment! When I have bought a tin of soup and seen sugar in the ingredients and then made a homemade soup, I have an overwhelming sense of amazement that the manufacturers ever feel the need to put sugar in that! So home-making everything is definitely the way forward. We do this a lot anyway so it’s no big deal, but it’s made me try a homemade version of something new; granola!
We don’t have granola a lot, maybe once a week with some yoghurt on a day we are running short of time in the morning. I’ve been lucky enough to never have had to make my own before as we sell some fab ones in the shop that have only natural sugars; cobs bakery, rude health and rolla granola to name a few. But I wanted to take it a step further to control how much natural sugar went in.
I looked up this recipe online by cookie & Kate as a guideline and for some tips and then adapted it according to what we like and had in the cupboards-https://cookieandkate.com/2015/healthy-granola-recipe/
Of course, I had some little helpers with me! I didn’t weigh anything (rarely do) so this is not an actual recipe write up, just a guide really!
First we added oats to a big mixing bowl, about 2 mugs full. Then I added about a mug of plain puffed rice. You wouldn’t normally expect to see puffed rice in granola, but I had some in the cupboard and thought it would be good so the boys had something to snack on whilst we went along! I then added flaked almonds and cashews (until it looked nutty enough) and a sprinkling of chia seeds. The last dry ingredient was a couple of teaspoons of cinnamon.
Whilst my trusty assistant mixed all that together I prepared the liquid ingredients. In a pan I put a tablespoon of coconut oil, a glug of honey and a glug of agave nectar. This wasn’t enough wet ingredients to coat all the dry mixture but I didn’t want to add more sugar so I put a couple of tablespoons of peanut butter in the pan too, with a teaspoon of vanilla. When this mix was all liquid, I tipped it into the dry ingredients, and mixed together. It was all lightly coated so I was happy it had enough ‘wet’ in it.
Next we tipped it into a lined tin and lightly spread out and baked in the oven. I was cooking jacket potatoes for lunch (and didn’t want to ‘waste’ the oven being on for just a couple of potatoes) so it went in at potato temperature of about 200oC but it wouldn’t have hurt if it was a little cooler. After about 10 minutes I took it out of the oven. It was nicely brown on top so I stirred it so that it was well mixed and patted it down again. It went back in the oven for another 10 minutes. By this time the top was browned again so I took it out and left to cool completely in the tin (whilst we ate our lunch).
When it was completely cool, we tipped it out of the tin into the mixing bowl. Some of it stayed in clumps so I was pleased with this. I then stirred in some dried fruit. Not too much cause I didn’t want to add lots of sugar this way, just a couple of handfuls of dates and sultanas. I then put it in a big plastic container to keep. This made a huge pot full! And the house smelled AMAZING when it was cooking.
Overall it was very little effort for the huge amount it yielded, and was delicious. I will definitely be making it again, and can use different mixes of nuts, seeds and fruit next time to vary things.
We both got in smaller sized clothes this week so the healthier swaps will keep on coming; watch this space!