Today, I’m talking about something near and dear to my heart—food. Thank goodness I married a man who enjoys food as much as I do, and he eats everything I cook. Even though I enjoy food, I also know that eating healthy is an essential part of life, especially as I get older.
When I was living single in the States, I cooked for myself but nothing special. I made chicken with carrots, celery, and potatoes in a crockpot, or a meal of salmon, sweet potatoes, and peas. Now living in Germany, I take the time to find new recipes.
Most people say that because I don’t work, I have the time to cook. In a sense that’s true, but if something is important to us, we will find the time to cook. I might not have a full-time 9 to 5 job, but what I do now is much more tedious than what I did at my 9 to 5 job. What I’m trying to say is we’re all busy, but we can put some time aside for cooking. Cooking big lunches, which normally takes 1 hour for preparation and cooking, has made me aware of ingredients.
In the process of eating healthy, I have reduced our processed food intake. One of the worst things, and one I believe is a big contributing factor to obesity, is processed foods. For the most part, I won’t buy anything that has foreign ingredients. And I’m not talking foreign because they’re written in German, but foreign because it has some chemical or coloring to preserve it.
As a teenager and adult, I ate granola bars to fill in the hunger between meals. Granola is one thing you can bring as a snack while shopping, biking, or walking somewhere. The ingredients are good, but when I look at the sugar and/or fat content I’m shocked. It’s also pricey for the few bars in the box.
I decided to search for granola recipes so I can control the sweetness that goes into it. There are many recipes out there for homemade granola, so one more won’t hurt. I found one but made many changes to fit my tastes. With prep time and cooking, this takes about 1-1/2 hours.
3 cups oats
3/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
2 T. chia seeds (optional)
1 cup banana chips (broken into pieces)
1 cup almond slivers
1 cup cashews (broken into pieces)
2 T. unprocessed brown sugar
2 T. cocoa
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/8 cup maple syrup
1/8 cup honey
1) Preheat oven to 250° F (120° C). In a large bowl, combine the oats, coconut flakes, chia seeds, almond slivers, cashews, brown sugar, and cocoa. (Depending on how sweet you want your granola depends on how much sugar you add.) Mix it around with a spoon.2) In a smaller bowl, combine the vegetable oil, maple syrup, and honey. (Again, it depends on how sweet you want it. I’ve seen granola recipes call for 2/3 cup of vegetable oil, 1/4 cup of maple syrup and 1/4 cup of honey). Mix with a spoon.3) Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix well. This is important because you want everything coated evenly with the oil and sweets, so take your time.4) Pour the granola onto a few cooking sheets. Make sure you pat it down as much as possible to create one layer. Put them in the oven and set the timer for 15 minutes. When the 15 minutes are up, take the granola out, mix it around (very important) to make sure all granola cooks, pat it down into one layer again, and put it back into the oven. You will do this three more times. The granola should cook for 1-1/2 hours.5) When it’s done, take it out, add the banana chips, and make sure to cool it all the way before transferring it to whatever container you want to use.This amount lasts a month for us. We eat two tablespoons of it in our Greek yogurt every morning. You can also try other variations, depending on your likes. When I started making granola, I didn’t put in the chia seeds or cocoa. I used oats, coconut flakes, almonds, cashews, and raisins. We’re both not big fans of raisins, but the white raisins went well with this recipe. Over the holidays, I made oats, coconut flakes, walnuts, pecans, raisins, and cranberries. We didn’t care for the pecans, so I’ll be leaving them out the next holiday season.
Have you ever made granola? What snacks do you make for your active days?
Granola and Health,