I have the worst sweet tooth and there's nary a dessert I will turn down. I have a weakness for good cookies, ice cream and dark chocolate. Usually I'm pretty good at practicing the art of self-discipline, allowing myself a small treat, but the holiday season with all the baking and all the seasonal goodies caused all my good behaviour to self-destruct. And now I must pay the price and try to get back on the right track. I've spent years banning all sorts of bad things fro my diet. Deprivation is not the answer for me. As I inch nearer and neared to my 50th Birthday I'm about living my life to the fullest. Completely cutting out carbs and sugars will in no way, shape or form improve my life. Will I watch them? Yes, absolutely, but moderation is the answer, in diet and in life. The point is eat the cookie, but don't eat the whole batch of them!
I'm not really a breakfast person and I do tend to prefer savory over sweet in the morning, but there are times when an apple with peanut butter or a yogurt with granola are what I'm after, especially if it's later in the morning and I want to hit the gym at lunchtime. I find that the varieties you find at the grocery store to be either loaded with sugar or, the healthier versions cost an arm and a leg. I used to make granola all the time and I am not really sure why I stopped. It's super inexpensive and super easy - you can whip up a batch in under 20 minutes!
Basic Granola in 20 minutes or Less
2 cups of uncooked (not quick cook) raw oats
1/2 - 3/4 cups of sliced *almonds
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 dried cranberries
2 tablespoons Real Maple Syrup
2 tablespoons of *local honey
2 tablespoons canola, light olive or coconut oil
1 tsp almond extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* almonds may be substituted for any kind of nut.
Vanilla can be used in lieu of the almond extract
Pieces or slices are better than whole.
Any dried fruit can be added or substituted.
Dried unsweetened coconut makes a great addition.
Add sesame seeds and wheat germ if desired - about 1/8 cup each.
Preheat oven to 325
In a large mixing bowl place oats, nuts and fruit and mix well
Add oil, honey, maple syrup and almond extract and mix well. (If you're using a raw or creamy honey you'll need a little muscle to mix the honey in well!)
Sprinkle with ground cinnamon, mix well.
Line a baking sheet with tinfoil or parchment paper and spread the mixture evenly onto the lined tin.
Place in oven and bake for 12 minutes
The granola will be ever so slightly brown.
Let cool and harden for at least 5 minutes.
Eat plain or sprinkled over yogurt - my favorite way!
Granola and Greek Vanilla Yogurt is my favorite and perfectly satisfies my sweet craving!