Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Granola: a Lovin Spoonful for Heart Health Month

February is American Heart Health month. It’s true that heart disease can be genetic, but often it is not. Cigarette smoking, diabetes, hypertension, obesity and hyperlipidemia are other factors that contribute significantly to heart disease risk.

With the many choices we make food wise during the day the best way to start a healthy day is with a good foundation at breakfast.  Along with the regular breakfast items we eat at our house I recently added a Paleo Granola recipe. Bytes from Texas tried a granola recipe that she was raving about & let me know that Mexican vanilla is the deal breaker, basically. With a good quality vanilla very little is missed out of the "old school granolas" which when bought at a store in the prepackaged boxes (on that long cereal aisle) contain large amounts of sugars, grains & extra preservatives none of us need.  There is no risk of high fructose corn syrup when you take a small amount of time to make your own granola. I have made 3 batches of this recently & in fact have seen the Mister eating a handful of my granola now versus some of his previous less healthy alternatives.  I made mixed up my first granola & tossed in pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds) & put in dried bits of apricot.  Logically you may say it is easier to pick up a box but this recipe is healthier, easy & seriously cheaper when you buy small amounts of nuts & fruits in the bulk foods area of your local grocer.  Enjoy this recipe, it's a small joy to make your first recipe of homemade Granola & realize it's been that easy all along.  Buen Provecho, my friends! 

For a Heart Healthy  start to the day try this with coconut or almond milk.
Paleo Granola
2 cups toasted coconut (unsweetened)
1/2 cup pumpkin seed kernels
1/2 cup sliced raw almonds
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
3/4 cup agave syrup*
1/3 cup coconut oil
1 tsp Mexican vanilla (or very good quality vanilla)
1/2 cup raisins or dried cranberries
1/2 cup dried apple, roughly chopped
1/2 cup pecans or nuts of choice
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.Combine oats, pumpkin seed kernels, chopped almonds, and sunflower seed kernels in a large bowl.
In a saucepan on the stove, melt together the agave, coconut oil and vanilla, stirring occasionally, until combined.
Pour agave mixture over oat mixture and stir to coat.
Spread granola mixture into baking pans (metal pans cook faster than glass). Bake for 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes. I spread mine on foil on the counter for several hours or overnight so it cools well, then store in airtight container.
Enjoy granola with coconut milk or almond butter or fruit! *I have made this with or without the agave, it is as good without as with the syrup.

Any fruit or nut mixture will work, try new combinations.


Hornsfan said...

This stuff is addictive, the only downside (and this is true of any granola really) is that it's calorie dense...better get some of that heart-healthy cardio to offset it :)

Angie's Recipes said...

I love to eat homemade granole as an afternoon snack with some fresh brewed tea. This looks lovely.