My brother-in-law and his family stayed overnight with us several years ago. For breakfast, I set a box of cereal and a gallon of milk on the table. He laughed as he dished up big bowls for his children, and told me that the box was probably more nutritious than the contents.
That comment stayed with me, and I ended up researching it. It’s true!
Not only is breakfast cereal full of harmful sugars, flavors, colors, additives and preservatives, but the extrusion process used to create the uniform pieces is harmful to the grain itself. So the only supposedly nutritious part of the cereal — the grain — is actually harmful to your health.
Instead of kicking off the day with a bowl of unhealthy commercial cereal, try having a bowl of homemade granola as a healthy (and inexpensive!) alternative.
The grains are soaked overnight, making them more digestible and unlocking vital nutrients. Soaking also makes your granola more filling and gentler on your stomach.
Granola is yummy mixed into yogurt, as cereal with milk on top, or just plain out of the bag, as if you were eating trail mix. My granola recipe is less sweet, the sweeteners are natural and I soak my grains overnight to reduce the phytic acid, so it’s more nutritious than most.
I make a gigantic batch and store it in my pantry in a 5 gallon bucket, but I’m giving you a much-reduced granola recipe, since you probably don’t have 8 kiddos like I do.
- 8 c. assorted rolled grains
- 1 c. honey
- 1c. molasses
- 1/2 c. coconut oil
- 1 c. water
- 3 Tbsp. lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 Tablespoon nutmeg
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
Fill a large mixing bowl with 8 c. assorted grains. I use 7-grain rolled cereal, which I buy in 50lb sacks from Honeyville Grain. You will want to find it someplace local, however, for the best price. The mix consists of rolled Hard Red Wheat, Oat Groats, Triticale, Barley, Rye, Soft White Wheat, Spelt, and non-rolled sunflower seeds.
In a large saucepan, mix the honey, blackstrap molasses, coconut oil, water, lemon juice and spices. Heat and mix together, then pour over the grain and mix it until all of the grains are wet. If you like it sweeter, add more honey, or even 1/2 c. sucanat.
Cover the mixing bowl and set aside to soak for at least 24 hours. After soaking, spread the mixture about an inch thick over a baking sheet greased with coconut oil, then bake at 300 degrees for 15 minutes, remove from oven and stir with a spatula, to fluff the grains for quicker drying, and return to oven and bake another 15 minutes.
After cooling, it should feel pretty dry. You don’t want lots of moisture or your granola could mold. If your granola is still moist after cooling, return it to the oven to bake at a very low temperature, stirring periodically.
Sometimes I add dried fruit, nuts and coconut to this granola recipe (or just dump in a bag of pre-made trail mix) after baking, but most of the time I don’t. It still tastes great and is much cheaper to leave them out.
This delicious granola recipe is filling and nutritious! It makes about 10 cups of granola (without added fruit/nuts).
Without the added nuts and fruit, this homemade granola costs less than 20 cents per serving. If you add milk, it’s about 40 cents per serving.