Nutty Fruity Granola

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My kids love all sorts of granola, especially with fruits and nuts. I enjoy a bit of it tossed on top of Greek yogurt and fruits. Store-bought granola can be a time saver, but they are usually very heavy on sugar/corn syrup (or another sweetener) and fat. Granola, which could be something healthy and good for you often takes a backseat due to the many bad calories.

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So, that nudged me to try a homemade granola recipe. This super easy granola recipe uses ingredients that you are likely to find in your pantry, along with a fresh apple to give that fall flair – albeit we are really closer to winter than fall!!

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The hardest part of this recipe is really keeping an eye on the oat mixture as it slowly transforms into granola. You do have to take a peek every 15 min or so, and slowly toss them around to make sure they get cooked evenly without getting burnt. What I truly loved about this recipe was how I could control the amount of added sweetness. Even though honey or maple syrup is better than refined sugar, it’s still calories. Also, by adding in some applesauce, I was able to cut back on the oil as well.

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I hope you will give this recipe a try. I really am not sure how long this would keep fresh, especially with fresh apples in it. I would think they should keep well in an airtight container for about a week.

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Fruity Nutty Granola with Apples

Ingredients:
2 cups old fashioned oats
3/4 cup raw almonds, roughly chopped
1 gala apple (or another firm apple of your choice), finely chopped
1/2 cup chia seeds
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1 scoop vanilla flavored protein powder (optional)
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt (I omitted this)
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg

Preparation:
1. Preheat the oven to 275F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, measure out old fashioned oats, chopped almonds, , chopped apples, chia, protein powder and coconut. Mix in the spices, including salt, if using.
3. In a small bowl, combine honey, coconut oil and apple sauce.
4. Add the honey mixture to the oats mixture and mix thoroughly to ensure all ingredients are well coated.
5. Transfer the granola mix on to the pan and spread the mixture evenly. Place in the preheated oven. Bake for 45-60 minutes lightly turning over the mixture every 15 minutes.
6. Remove the tray from the oven and let the granola cool completely. Transfer to an airtight container.

Hope this granola brightens your morning a little – especially because they truly are low in sugar and fat.

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Oven Roasted Spicy Chickpeas

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I love chickpeas – drained, rinsed and tossed in a variety of salads, transformed into a luscious channa masala curry and so on. While plain chickpeas are easy to drain out of a can onto a salad, roasted chickpeas elevate themselves to another level!

Roasting canned chickpeas may sound like a major undertaking, but it really isn’t. The hardest part is probably breaking away from whatever you are doing every 15 min or so to toss the chickpeas around so they roast evenly.

Despite how ridiculously easy this recipe is, the most exciting part is myriad of ways to season the chickpeas. You can literally use whatever flavors, spices or seasoning mix you want. Just choose what your heart desires along with couple of tablespoons of oil for a 29oz can of chickpeas. You can always divide the chickpeas into smaller amounts and use different seasonings – you just need to keep them separate while baking. I used spicy seasoning mixes, and hence these are roasted spicy chickpeas. I baked two batches, one with gochujang (Korean chili paste seasoning) and prepared zhoug sauce (it’s a Mediterranean sauce with cilantro, chili and spices and tastes very similar to Indian cilantro chutney. I bought mine from Trader Joe’s). Both types of roasted chickpeas were pleasantly flavored with very distinct flavor profiles which helps add variety to my salads this week (but geez, with the recall of romaine lettuce and all salad mixes containing romaine, it’s going to be a bit challenging to whip up quick salads. Kale anyone?!)

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Roasted chickpeas won’t really have the same texture as store-bought ones in sealed packages. They tend to have a very crisp, hard texture. These home roasted chickpeas have a bite and are on the chewy side – in my opinion, perfect texture for a salad or snack.

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Oven Roasted Spicy Chickpeas

  • Servings: Each 29oz makes about 6-8 servings
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Ingredients:

Two 29oz cans chickpeas

Seasoning 1

2 tablespoons zhoug sauce (Trader Joe’s)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
Salt to taste
1 tablespoon oil (less oil due to the oil in the zhoug sauce)

Seasoning 2

2 tablespoons gochujang paste
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt to taste
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Preparation:
1. Preheat oven to 325F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment and set aside.
2. Drain and rinse chickpeas from the two cans and divide among two medium sized bowls.
3. Add seasoning mix 1 and 2 to the bowls (of course, separately). Toss to coat well.
4. Transfer the chickpeas to the baking trays and bake for 45 to 60 minutes, taking care to check on the chickpeas every 15 minutes.
5. Chickpeas will look and feel dry when done. Remove from oven and let them cool completely. Transfer to airtight containers and refrigerate. It will taste great at least for a week.