I’ve been making huge batches of granola lately which we all dip into for a quick breakfast option. There are so many different recipes out there that it really comes down to using the ingredients you enjoy the most – I mean, being in control is one of the best things about cooking at home. Plus, store bought granola tends to be so full of sugar and fat – you can control all these things when you make your own.

Generally, all granolas start with oats, have one or more nuts/seed ingredients, some dried fruit, and then something to bind everything together. Here’s what I put in mine today:
– 3 cups rolled oats (not instant)
– 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
– 1 cup pecans
– 1/2 cup wheat germ
– 1/2 cup fruit juice (new addition, usually it is 1/4 cup brown sugar but wanted to try this today)
– 1/2 cup olive oil
– 1/2 cup maple syrup
– 1/2 cup dried cranberries (I would prefer these be cherries, but apparently I cannot read labels so cranberries it is!)

Combine oats, coconut, pecans and wheat germ in a large bowl. Over medium heat, I combined the juice and maple syrup. I thought maybe it would all thicken up and it did a little but obviously the syrup thinned down so not really sure what the net result was. Anyway! I poured the juice/syrup mixture and the olive oil over the dry ingredients and mixed to coat. Spread this mixture on a baking sheet in one even layer and pop in a 300 degree oven. Total cooking time is 40 minutes, but you will want to stir it every 10 minutes. Incorporate the cranberries only for the last 10 minutes of cooking. Allow the granola to cool on the baking sheet before storing in an airtight container.

This is great with milk, soy milk, yogurt and would also be awesome on ice cream or stuffed inside some apples for baking.

I love making this stuff because you can get really creative – some other things to add:
– sunflower seeds
– pumpkin seeds
– walnuts
– almonds
– flax seeds
– any type of dried fruit (I may make a tropical version for the summer time with dried papaya or mango to go with the coconut)
– cinnamon
– vanilla

The possibilities are endless. Go do it.