I stepped onto the scale for a bi-weekly weigh in. Oh crap. Do my eyes deceive me? Is it true? I groan and step off.
“Tom, somehow I gained ten pounds in the last few weeks!”
Tom smiles and crosses the room to hug me from behind. We both look into the bathroom mirror.
“You always look incredible to me.” He kisses the top of my head, pats me on the bottom and heads back into the bedroom. Easy for him to say, he could eat a whole cow and not gain an ounce. I look back into the mirror with a critical eye. I call them stretch marks, Tom calls them battle scars. I think my hips are too wide, he thinks I actually look like a woman and not a ten-year old boy.
Had I really been eating that bad? Well, I have been drinking a lot more juice instead of water or my always present green tea. Those caramel coconut walnut brownies I made for dessert on Easter were to die for, but probably not the greatest thing for my blood sugar… or my behind. I also made my chocolate chip cookies last week, which were heavenly. And I have been reaching for the butter and even reserved bacon fat instead of olive oil when I want to fry something. A quick glance at my twitter feed told me what I already knew, I had been indulging, like its Christmas.
I guess its time to get back on track. My energy has been low and I feel sluggish during the day. Unmotivated even. So I am starting with a healthier breakfast. I often skip breakfast (gasp!), but lately I have been eating brunch instead. A lot of brunch. Pancakes covered in real maple syrup, lots of fried eggs in butter, and bacon… oh bacon…
No! No bacon! At least not until I lose these extra 10 pounds. Then I can have a little bacon.
OK, OK back to the granola. This one is not too different from the granola bars I posted a while back. They use the same ingredients with lots of room for variation. I can eat this granola all day. In a bowl with milk in the morning (warm or cold), on a salad for lunch and sprinkled on top of a cup of plain yogurt with fresh berries for dessert.
Back on Track Granola
- 3 cups of old-fashioned oatmeal
- 1 cup slivered almonds
- 1 cup crushed cashews (or peanuts, or walnuts, or brazil nuts, or a mix)
- 1 cup of roasted sunflower seeds, without shells
- 1/4 cup ground flaxseed
- 1 cup dried cranberries (or raisins, or apricots, or cherries, you get it right?)
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup real maple syrup or a richly flavored honey (or a mix of both!)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 3/4 tsp sea salt
- 1 cup of chocolate chips (optional – not optional for me, but maybe for you)
Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
Grind 1/2 cup of the oats to a flour in a food processor. This is an optional step, but the flour helps clump the granola. In a large bowl combine oats, oat flour, nuts, seeds and brown sugar. In a smaller bowl mix together the maple syrup/honey with the oil and salt.
Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix together. Mixing with your hands is the way to go here. Just get in there and pretend to be five again making mud pies.
When everything is well coated spread onto two lightly oiled sheet pans and bake for about 75 minutes. Carefully stir oats around with a spatula every 15-20 minutes while baking so they cook evenly.
When finished, remove from the oven and transfer to a large bowl. Allow to cool for about 15 minutes before stirring in the chocolate chips. I like my chips to melt and stick to the nuts around them. If you want yours to stay solid then wait until your granola is completely cool before adding the chocolate. Store in a large glass jar or ziptop bag and enjoy. Makes one week worth of granola, enough for a family of 4.