Almond, Cranberry and Quinoa Granola

I recently found myself with an unplanned day at home. 2 boys were home sick and chilling in front of CARS the movie. I could have sorted out wardrobes, worked on the budget or got my ironing up to date, but no, I found myself in the kitchen with a sudden desire to make Granola. I’ve made various recipes over the years and every now and then I have bought a yummy looking one I have found in the shops. The good thing about making your own is you get to control what goes in it. You can add more of what you love, control the sugar content and leave out ingredients you don’t like.

This time I wanted to try using cooked Quinoa in the recipe. Unless you have been living under a rock, you would have come across Quinoa. You’ll be pleased to know it’s not just fashionable for fashion sake. It is INSANELY GOOD FOR YOU!

Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah), is a powerful SUPERFOOD. Considered one of the world’s most nutrient rich foods, it is a seed that actually comes from the same food family as Spinach and Beets. It is referred to as a ‘pseudo cereal’ as it is cooked and eaten in a similar way to grains and cereals, and can be ground into flour, but it’s not a grain at all. It’s the best non-meat source of complete protein, is suitable for people who cannot tolerate wheat or gluten, full of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and nutrients with anti-inflammatory properties, it’s high in antioxidants, high in fibre and is easily digestible.

To prepare it, you bring one part quinoa to two parts water to a boil with a lid on, reduce heat and simmer until all the water has been absorbed.

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The Granola lovers in our house (my husband and I and our eldest son) are enjoying this in the mornings with greek yoghurt and fresh berries. I actually look forward to getting out of bed for this…. oh and my coffee too!

Almond, Cranberry and Quinoa Granola

Ingredients

1 cup rolled oats

1 cup cooked quinoa (you’ll need approx 1/3 – 1/2 cup of uncooked quinoa to make this quantity)

1/2 cup pepita seeds (pumpkin seeds)

1/4 cup sesame seeds

1 cup chopped mixed nuts (I used Almonds and Hazelnuts)

1 teaspoon cinnamon

3 tablespoons honey

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup coconut oil

1/2 cup shredded coconut

1/2 cup dried cranberries

Method

Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius.

Mix oats, quinoa, seeds, nuts and cinnamon in a bowl.

Add honey, vanilla and coconut oil (it hardens at room temperature, so melt it in the microwave first) and stir till combined and everything is moist.

Spread the mixture out on a large flat baking tray lined with baking paper.

Place in the oven and cook for 20-25 minutes, taking the tray out and stirring the mixture around every 5 minutes or so. You will find the outside parts will brown a lot quicker thsn the middle, so it’s best to keep moving it around so it cooks evenly.

With 5 minutes to go, add the shredded coconut.

Once it is golden brown, remove from the oven and leave to cool. It will harden into a lovely crunchy Granola as it cools. Stir in the dried cranberries.

Place in an airtight container. It can last for up to 2 weeks, but it never actually lasts that long in our house!

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