Today’s recipe is this no-fuss, no-refined sugar cranberry pecan granola (it has lots of other delicious things in it too).
Weekday breakfasts are a challenge for me. I’m not a morning person. I love to sleep so much. Actually, I usually get annoyed when I wake up to birds chirping outside, because THEY WOKE ME UP.
I like to sleep so much that my kids know that if there’s a “crisis” in the middle of the night (i.e., lost stuffed animals, inability to reach the bathroom light to turn it on, melodrama), I am not the person to come running to. The kids come into our room at night and scurry around to the other side of our bed, where the hubby is sleeping. The hubby, bless him, always responds. I will wake up for true illness and injury. Everything else can wait until I’ve gotten my eight hours.
Because I’m such a grumpy bear in the mornings, getting everyone fed and out the door during the week is hard for me. That’s why I usually resort to all manner of extremely easy breakfasts in the morning — toast, cereal, yogurt, fruit. But lately, out of guilt, I’ve been trying to get ahead and make some grab-and-go options the night before so that we’re not just eating the same four things every single morning. For example, after dinner I’ll boil a dozen perfect, seven-minute eggs and store them in the ‘fridge.
I’ve been dropping a small fortune buying granola, too. I think we were all growing weary of a variation on Cheerios and Rice Krispies for our cereal options, but I didn’t realize that granola is really easy to make. Start with a combination of rolled oats, maple syrup, honey and a little vegetable oil, and then add fillings.
I made my granola into a deliciously Southern-influenced cranberry pecan granola, but I also added in pumpkin seeds and unsweetened coconut to the mix. Both add even more crunch and natural sweetness to a really delightful breakfast.
I’ve been making two baking sheets’ worth of granola at a time, which ends up filling up two quart-sized Mason jars. It’s enough granola to last our family for the week, and that’s with aggressive, almost daily attacks on our granola from two very hungry children.
The granola pairs really well with Greek yogurt and berries, but we’ve also had it in the mornings with coconut milk and chia seeds (kind of an impromptu chia pudding) or with bananas sliced on top with almond milk. I love the combinations and that it’s filling. Best of all, it’s much less expensive than buying pre-made granola mixes from the grocery store.
I also love that this recipe (which I based off of this BBC Good Food recipe) doesn’t require any white sugar, and that it’s just subtly sweetened with maple syrup and honey. I’ve made this granola a few times since, varying the combination of dried fruit and nuts, and each time it’s turned out wonderfully.
Plus, I feel much less like a slacker, grumpy mom who throws a couple of bagels on the table and calls it a day. And really, if for no other reason, the ability of this granola to soothe my mom guilt is worth its weight in gold.
cranberry and pecan granola
- 2 cups of rolled oats not quick-cooking
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
- 2/3 rd cup sliced almonds
- 2/3 rds cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- 1/3 rd cup shredded coconut unsweetened
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit (150 degrees Celsius). Prepare two baking sheets by lining them with parchment paper or silicon mats.
- Mix together the maple syrup, honey, vegetable oil and vanilla. Add the rolled oats and stir to combine using a spatula. Add the pumpkin seeds, pecans and almonds and mix again until everything is well combined.
- Spread out the oat mixture onto the baking sheets in one layer and then bake for 15 minutes.
- After 15 minutes, remove the baking sheets from the oven and mix in the cranberries and pecans. Put the baking sheets back into the oven, switching the baking sheets by putting the baking sheet that was previously on top on the bottom and vice versa. Bake for another 5-10 minutes until the oats are golden brown.
- Remove the baking sheets from the oven and let the granola cool before carefully pouring the granola into jars or an airtight plastic container. Granola can be stored for up to one month.