RECIPE: Junk Drawer Granola


I was rummaging around in my baking cabinet and was annoyed by all the miscellaneous half bags of nuts and dried fruit from past recipes that have been loitering about the shelves. I am sure if you look around your baking cabinet, you will find a similar situation. You buy certain nuts, seeds and fruits for various baking adventures, and being prudent, you save your left over ingredients to use another day. Then you forget and buy more and continue saving this and that. Next thing you know, you have a pile of nonsense and not enough of one thing or another to make complete ingredients for anything! 
 
I mean, how many slivered almonds does a household need?
 
Well, after finding a fourth half-filled bag of slivered almonds (I guess I kept buying a new bag) I decided the best thing to do was make a granola with all of it. Granola lasts a while in an airtight container and you can easily mix a variety of nuts and fruit that you have lying about doing nothing! I was happy with my concoction because of the maple syrup, honey and vanilla flavors I threw in. It is fabulous on some FAGE Greek yogurt for breakfast or lunch. See what magic you can make by cleaning our your baking cabinet. Using the recipe below as your base, you can make something amazing and improve your cabinet feng shui while you're at it!

Junk Drawer Granola

Ingredients:

2 cups rolled oats
1 cup wheat germ
2 cups 7 Whole Grain Puffs by Kashi
1/2 cup flax seeds
1 1/2 cups raw, shelled pumpkin seeds
2 cups mixed nuts (I had slivered almonds to get rid of)
1 1/2 cups shredded sweetened coconut

1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 Tbsp. warm water
1 Tbsp. vanilla
6 Tbsp. brown sugar
6 Tbsp. maple syrup
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
3/4 tsp. salt

6 oz. Craisins (or dried berries of any kind)
1 1/2 cup golden raisins (or other dried fruits)

Directions:



Mix all the dried ingredients (oats, wheat germ, Kashi, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, almonds and coconut) in a very large mixing bowl. Add the cinnamon and nutmeg to the dried ingredients and mix.

Cover 2 rimmed baking sheets with tin foil and spray with non stick cooking spray. Preheat oven to 250˚.
 
In a smaller bowl, mix the sugar, syrup, honey, oil, water, vanilla and salt. Heat on high in the microwave for one minute. The mixture will be hot and sugars will have dissolved. Pour the wet into the dry, mixing well. Pour into the baking sheets evenly.


Let bake slowly for almost two hours. Don't over mix while baking, just gently scoot and fold the mixture around every 40 minutes. The mixture should be dried and everything a nice golden color. Let cool and do not mix while cooling so you can keep more clumps together. Pour the dried fruits and berries over the granola, then pour all of it when cool in an airtight container. Voila! Better than store bought!

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