Make Your Own Granola!

No need to pay big bucks at the grocery store for boxed granola when you can easily make your own with healthy, quality ingredients and just a little bit of effort. Granola tastes great with crunchy whole grain goodness and the fiber that you know you need. Eat it with milk or yogurt for breakfast. I like to sprinkle it over homemade pudding. The recipe is easily adaptable to your preferences so feel free to make substitutions with starred ingredients.

Here are the simple ingredients that I use:

In a bowl mix together:
4 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup wheat germ
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
* 1/3 cup raw sunflower seeds
** 1/3 cup flax seeds
*2/3 cups chopped nuts (I usually use walnuts, but used slivered almonds today)

Bring to a boil on stove top or in microwave:
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup canola oil
2 tablespoons water

Pour over dry ingredients and mix together. Spray a 17 X 11 pan (or use two 9 X 11's) with oil. Pat mixture firmly into pan using the back of your spoon or a spatula. WAIT!! Don't add your dried cranberries yet. Bake in a 275 degree oven for 30 minutes. Now sprinkle on top:
*2/3 cup dried cranberries

Use a spatula to stir the granola. You want to keep it a little clumpy so don't stir too much. Bake an additional 15 minutes. Remove from oven, cool and store in a air tight container. Use within a month or keep in the freezer.

Can't find wheat germ, raw sunflower seeds, flax seeds or dried cranberries in your pantry? I pick these items up a Glen's Bulk Food Shoppe and Gospel Book Store west of Hutchinson on Highway 50 in Pleasantview. Love the prices and the hard-to-find items. No fancy packaging, but good quality ingredients.

* Suggested substitutions: for seeds: Sesame seeds, coconut; for nuts: any kind of nut including peanuts; for cranberries: any kind of dried fruit

** A note about flax seeds: To receive the most health benefits they should be ground up. I've had the best luck using a food processor for that. I have substituted ground flax seeds for half of the wheat germ with good results. I still put in the whole seeds, as well. Also, I feel I must say that some people find that flax seeds have a laxative effect so you may want to begin with smaller portions. I think they make a tasty addition and since they are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants, a healthy one, too.

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