Homemade Cranberry-Almond Granola


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Hello reader(s?)! I know I owe some major catch up – I missed an entire season of posting, for goodness sake! I recently have some specific recipe requests, so I thought they would be a good place to start.

I love granola.  However, store-bought granola is usually contains a lot of sugar, sodium, and fat.  Most homemade granola recipes call for a lot of oil to help bind the ingredients together.  Despite what many think, granola is generally not a healthy food.  Bummer.

BUT.

EatingWell.com is one of my favorite sites for healthier recipes; not because it has the lowest-calorie, lowest-fat content (sacrificing flavor), but because it balances nutrition with taste.  You can have your brownies, cookies, and mashed potatoes – the site just helps you be smarter when you make it.  This granola recipe does contain sugar and oil, but not so much that you can’t enjoy a whole bowl and feel good about yourself.  Want to cut some extra calories?  Eat just a little over a big bowl of plain yogurt instead of with milk.  We did sneak in a little extra maple syrup by accident, which made it even crunchier.

Pack it up in a pretty airtight jar with a scoop and you’ve got a memorable Christmas gift.

Cranberry-Almond Granola
Adapted from EatingWell.com

2/3 cup unsweetened apple cider or juice concentrate (we used Solebury Orchards apple cider, best cider on the planet)
1/2+1/8 cup maple syrup (1/8 cup is optional)
1/3 cup canola oil
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
5 cups rolled oats, (not quick-cooking)
1 cup ground flax
1 cup whole almonds, coarsely chopped (4 1/2 ounces)
1/2 cup sunflower seeds, (2 ounces)
1 cup dried cranberries, divided

Position racks in the top and bottom thirds of the oven; preheat to 325°F. Coat 2 large baking sheets with sides with cooking spray or line the bottoms with a silicone mat.
Whisk apple cider/juice, maple syrup, oil and brown sugar in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; stir in cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and salt.
Mix oats, flax, almonds and sunflower seeds in a large bowl. Stir in the juice mixture; toss to coat. Spread the granola evenly on the prepared baking sheets.
Bake the granola for 15 minutes, stirring once or twice. Reverse sheets top to bottom and back to front. Continue baking until lightly browned and aromatic, stirring frequently, about 15 minutes more. Transfer the baking sheets to wire racks; stir 1/2 cup dried cranberries into the granola on each sheet. Let cool completely.  Granola stores well for up to 2 months.

Nutrition facts per 1/2 cup serving (for original recipe here):
262 calories; 11 g fat (1 g sat, 6 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 37 g carbohydrates; 7 g protein; 5 g fiber; 67 mg sodium; 229 mg potassium.

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