Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Pantry Granola

My boyfriend recently announced that he really liked Terra Bread's granola (given that before he met me he ate Lucky Charms every morning, I thought it was a huge success!) - So I decided to make some granola. 

When I started the grocery list for the granola, and decided to look through my pantry for what I had in stock. Well, my pantry was just a mess, with little bags of nuts and seeds everywhere. I couldn't tell you what kind of nut or grain things were, or how much I had of each.

So in true distracted fashion, I started to organize the pantry. I jumped right in, pulling all the bags out, all the larger containers that contained smaller bags, and all of the larger containers with baking basics (like flour)... My counter looked like the bulk section of the grocery just moved in. I found out that I had two jars of flour, 4 bags of walnuts, and endless types of rice that had the stale smell. 

I wasn't sure how to attack this, but then remembered this post about pantries decided to put items into jars (btw have you seen Michael Smith's pantry - loved it from the first days of Chef at Home). I had a few rules: 1) I would make sure the jar was bigger than the amount of the item I currently had 2) I would not put more than one item in one jar (nothing like having to sift through bags within a jar to make you not want to grab the item. 3) Use as many jars I had around the house  4) Label the jars.
My ideal pantry
Well all was going well, until ran out of jars. My desire to have a clean pantry NOW overruled my MariKondo's suggestion to only use what you have in your house and went out to buy mason jars. I bought 12 - 1L jars, and 12 - 500mL jars. It was a bit overkill but 12 was the minimum quantity to buy... But having jars of the same volume are brilliant, because then I can estimate exactly how much of each item I have left!
So I came back home and finished organizing my pantry items. It was amazing the satisfaction!

Further, I found great uses of the mason jars I didn't use for the pantry - I was able to bring soup to work today, store cilantro in the fridge, make layered salads. It was like these jars changed my life (okay, maybe an exaggeration), but I feel like the Jar possibilities are endless!

Needless to say all this organizing was exhausting, and I had to take a break before actually making granola. A long break. I didn't get back to making granola until 8pm! But when I did it was easy, all of the seeds and nuts I needed where easy to grab and measure out. It took me less than 25 minutes to mix everything and put it in the oven. 

So here is my pantry granola recipe. I based it on a combination of these two recipes (Easy Morning Granola and Terra Bread's Artisan Granola) plus some extra stuff that I had just 'found' in my pantry! 

Pantry Granola

Ingredients

  • 7 cups large flake rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup wheat germ (remove if you would like it gluten free)
  • 1/3 cup ground flax seed (did you know that we cannot absorb the nutrients of flaxseeds unless the are ground? - I was told by a nutritionist to check my poop if I want proof - they come out whole!)
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes (making sure it's flakes is important - if I can't find flakes then I don't include the coconut - but that's because I like the texture and distinct coconut flavour, not small coconut pieces flavouring every bite!)
  • 1 cup raw almonds (coarsely chopped if you would like - or whole)
  • 1 cup raw pecans or walnuts (I don't like both of them together, so just go with whichever one you have in your pantry!)
  • 1 cup raw cashews (coarsely chopped if you would like - or whole)
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds (optional)
  • 1 cup raw pumpkin seeds 
  • 1-2 cups of any combination of the following - raisins, dried cranberries (sweetened), quartered apricots, dates (I'm not the hugest fan of dates, but I do love apricots - again just use whatever you have in the pantry)
  • 1/2 - 1 cup of goji berries (optional - make sure to add just at the end of cooking)
A rule of thumb is that I like to have equal parts rolled oats and other items, sometimes I make it a 6-7 rule, so 6 cups of other stuff and 7 cups of rolled oats. 


  • 1 1/2 teaspoon of salt (I exclude this a lot of the time)
  • 2/3 - 3/4 cup coconut oil or butter or vegetable oil
  • 1-2 Tablespoons of ground cinnamon
  • 2 Tablespoons of vanilla extract
  • 1 cup of maple syrup, or honey, or brown sugar (more or less depending on how sweet you like it)
So it seems like this is less of a recipe and more like an outline for a recipe. But as the name suggests, it's kind of like your grandma's recipe that says 'empty the fridge', so have fun with it! 

Step 1 - Pre-heat the oven to 300 degrees F and grease 2-3 baking sheets (make sure they can all fit into your oven)

Step 2 - Put 1/2 of the dry ingredients in one bowl and the other half in another (because at this size, you can't fit the whole recipe in one bowl - unless you have a supersize bowl! Make sure to not include the goji berries at this time

Step 3 -  Melt / mix the oil (fat) and the sugar in a saucepan on med-low heat, until melted, mixed and runny in texture

Step 4 - Remove liquid mixture from heat and add vanilla, cinnamon and salt 

Step 5 - Pour liquid mixture over bowls mixing between pours, depending on how coated you would like the granola

Step 6 - Put in pre-greased baking pans and bake at 300 degrees F (no higher) for 30-40 minutes, add goji berries with 15 minutes left (or else they'll burn)

Step 7 - Take out of oven, let cool and then put into jars and back into your pantry! 

So delicious! I put it on yogurt, overnight oats, with milk, and sometimes just eat it as a snack!


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