For many years, Jeff and Max and I have vacationed on the Mexican Riviera. We have found that the “All Inclusive” is a great way to go for a vegetarian family. The all-inclusive hotels put out amazing spreads everyday, and there are always lots of options for the vegetarian. Max particularly loves the all-inclusive buffet because he can see what he is going to eat and everything is separate; something that is very important for kids.
Last year while we were in Akumal Jeff surprised me with his breakfast choice. He began to eat granola with yogurt and fresh fruit. I don’t know why that surprised me other than the fact that granola was never a thing we ate nor was yogurt ever added to the grocery list. When we returned to the states, granola and yogurt became staples in our house…and our food bill went up. There is some fantastic organic granola at the co-op, but by the time the bag is full, I have a ten-dollar item. After a few weeks of this, it suddenly dawned on me that I could probably make granola for a little less at home.
Rolled or steel-cut oats are inexpensive as is quinoa, flax seed and oil, but the nuts and sweetener can be expensive. To make a less expensive granola, I have had to resort to Costco bulk – the almonds, and agave in plastic bottles from Costco, lessen the cost.
Note: Co-ops try to buy things like agave nectar and salad dressings in glass bottles for environmental and food safety purposes. Perhaps Surly will help usher in an increased awareness of aluminum as a better food packaging alternative.
Thanks to Heidi Swanson over at Cookbooks 101, I came to understand how granola is ridiculously easy to make, and once you get the hang of it, your granola will become more creative. Jeff loves the almond coconut combination, but doesn’t like dried fruit. If you are a dried fruit friend, add it to the granola after it is baked and cooled.
- 2 cups dried coconut, unsweetened
- 1/2 cup quinoa
- 1/2 cup whole flax seeds
- 8 cups rolled or steel-cut oats
- 2 cups whole almonds
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 1 cup agave nectar
- 1 Tbs. Amaretto
- splash of water
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
In a saucepan, heat the oil, agave nectar and Amaretto until it begins to simmer.
Mix all the dry ingredients together in a big bowl and add the liquids. I use a splash of water so there will be a few big chunks of granola. It helps bind it together before it gets baked.
Spread the granola out onto two cookie sheets and bake for 45 minutes.