Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Recipe: Naturally Sweetened Soaked-Oatmeal Granola

After finding out that oatmeal needed to be soaked in order to "greatly improve its nutritional benefits" I was disappointed to realize that good ol' granola isn't all that healthy then.

I've been without granola for about a year now. But I have a friend (who just had an aggressively cancerous tumor removed from her bladder) that asked me if I could make her some granola. I told her I could. Then, considering her situation, I stewed for days about how to make it as healthy as possible.

Oatmeal is actually an acidic forming food, so I had to take that into consideration. But I also believe that it isn't as acidic forming after being properly prepared. I took into consideration LaRee Westover's words, "Oatmeal is quite acidic, but the vitamins that it contains make it worth it - maybe even essential - as a part of the diet."

After looking up the nutritional content of Oatmeal and realizing that it contains a fairly high amount of minerals and protein but not necessarily vitamins per-say, I figured that that' s what LaRee must have been talking about. Doing more research I learned that oatmeal is also not only high in Omega-3's & 6's but also contains surprisingly high levels of amino acids as well.

Then there was granola's sugar content factor. When I made granola in the past I would pour a cup or more of honey into its mixture. I've decided that granola isn't meant to be candy but a cereal or crunchy wholesome snack that carries a mildly sweet flavor. So I experimented with using a banana as a sweetener. The first batch was a complete failure but the second batch/method turned out just right.

This recipe was created through my experimentations:

Soaked Oatmeal Granola

Soaking the oatmeal:

(before going to bed)
Place 3-4 cups of oatmeal in a large bowl.
Place enough water to cover the top of the oatmeal.
Add 3 Tbsp of yogurt, kefir or buttermilk.
Mix together. Cover and let sit overnight.

(the next morning)
Spread oatmeal in a thin layer on dehydrator trays and dehydrate at 105° for the rest of the day or until dry.

(that night ... or the next morning)
Place the following ingredients in a mixer or food processor and mix together:

1/2 cup melted or very soft coconut oil
1 ripe banana
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 salt
1/2 tsp vanilla

Place the dried granola into a large bowl. Add the following ingredients:

1/2 cup raisins (or other dried fruit)
1 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup almond meal (grind sliced almonds in coffee grinder)
1 cup shredded coconut (I ground mine to finer pieces)
1/2 cup hemp seeds

Pour the wet mixture on top of the dry ingredients and mix all of them together.

Place on dehydrator trays and...

(overnight ... or during the day)
Dehydrate at 105° until dry and crunchy.

This granola recipe produces a granola that has mild sweetness, just the right amount of crunchiness, and a good mixture of textures. It's quite delicious and can easily be doubled or tripled in size.

*If you'd like your granola to be a little more sweet simply add some honey to the wet mixture.

I'd love to know how others like this recipe!

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