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Local Flavour: Granola goodness
When Ladner’s Kristin Crouch decided to make her own cereal it was mainly because she didn’t like what she saw on the label.
If you see a bunch of ingredients with unpronounceable names, perhaps it shouldn’t go into your body, she says.
“We decided to try some organic cereals, but then I saw a recipe and thought why not make my own?”
Crouch, who plants vegetables in the Ladner Community Garden and runs the community event “Seedy Saturday,” has made many changes to her diet to live a more healthy lifestyle.
She made the switch to an all plant-based diet in September to reduce her cholesterol and it worked.
“It was interesting to see how just changing your diet can imrove your health,” says Crouch.
As a gardener, she freezes her veggies so she can enjoy greens year-round.
Granola is a particularly healthy food because almonds are fruit are high in protein and Vitamin E, Crouch says.
And you don’t have to stick with the recipe. Be creative, add walnuts, cranberries, or any combination of dried fruit or nut that tickles your fancy.
“It’s very adaptable to however your family likes to eat it,” explains Crouch. “If your kids want a snack after school, better to give them that instead of a candy bar.”
That’s not to say you can’t satisfy your sweet tooth in a healthy way with your granola mix.
“I like to put [dark] chocolate in it but that’s probably not a good idea,” she confesses, laughing.
When making granola, be sure to use all-natural ingredients and healthy alternatives, such as brown sugar, natural maple syrup, and organic vegetable oil.
The recipe makes about 17 cups, which generally lasts about two weeks in the Crouch household.
Fruit, Coconut and Nut Granola
• 1/2 cup maple syrup
• 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
• 3/4 cup vegetable oil
• 2-3 tsp. vanilla
• 1 tsp. Sea Salt
• 7 cups Old-Fashioned Rolled Oats
• 2 cups coconut
• 3 cups whole almonds, chopped
• 3 cups whole walnuts, chopped
• 2-3 cups dried fruit, such as cranberries, golden raisins, or cherries
1. Heat oven to 250 F. Line two rimmed backing sheets with parchment paper.
2. Mix all dry ingredients together in a large bowl, except the dried fruit (will add in later).
3. Whisk the first five ingredients together. Pour over the dry ingredients. Mix well with a wooden spoon.
4. Transfer the mixture to the baking sheets, baking on two oven levels, stirring every 15-20 minutes. After 40 minutes, swap pans on the oven racks.
5. Bake for 60-80 minutes until granola is the consistency that you like.
6. Remove granola from the oven and cool on cooling racks for an hour before stirring in the dried fruit.
7. Using an airtight container, you can store on your kitchen counter for up to two weeks.