Cereal has been one of the hardest of the processed foods for me to stop buying. It’s so convenient, so filling, so crunchy, so expensive. It’s also packaged in such a way that makes it appear healthy, so for those of us in denial that makes it especially hard to just walk on by. For years I’ve tried to get my kids, my husband and I off of boxed cereal. I will admit that there is the bad kind and then the not-so-bad kind, but still if you have to use “not-so-bad” to describe something there is probably a better choice out there. I love all the vegan recipes for muffins and quick bread out there, but nothing really takes the place of cereal especially if you’ve been raised on it. But wait! There is something that might come close, something that is so filling, so crunchy, not so expensive, albeit not quite as convenient. Yeah, it’s a recipe. You have to put it together. It doesn’t come in a box, but you’ll feel so much better about making this for your family (rather than buying the stuff that comes in a box) that you might not even notice the little time it takes to throw it together.
Low Fat Granola
9 cups rolled oats
1 ½ cups wheat germ
1 ½ cups oat bran
1 cup milled golden flax seed
1 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup low-fat coconut
1 ½ teaspoon salt
½ cup brown sugar
¼ cup maple syrup
¾ cup honey
(for a totally vegan cereal substitute agave)
1 cup applesauce
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups raisins (or dried fruit of your choice)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place oats, wheat germ, oat bran, flax seed, coconut and salt in a large bowl.
In a small saucepan mix brown sugar, maple syrup, honey, applesauce, cinnamon, and vanilla extract. Simmer over medium heat until well combined.
Take syrup mixture and pour over dry ingredients.
Spread cereal onto two large cookie sheets and bake for 30 minutes.
Notes: Some ovens run hot so checking the granola at 20 minutes is recommended. Also, there is a formula if you don’t want to follow the recipe as written. Basically, there are 15 cups of dry ingredients that can consist of almost anything you want. I would at least start with 6 cups of oats at a minimum. That leaves 9 cups of other ingredients that could include walnuts, pecans, almonds, peanuts (almost any kind nut), puffed rice or other grain, chia seeds, and pumpkin seeds (almost any kind of seed). There are hundreds of possibilities! Of course, adding nuts and seeds will increase the fat content. I try not to have a lot of nuts or seeds, but I need everything to be low fat as I have weight issues. Really, it just depends on your family’s needs, as all the fat added by nuts and seeds are the good kind of fats.