This recipe has been a long time coming. I have told a countless number of friends and even acquaintances that I would give them this recipe, and time always escapes me to get it written up.
First, the recipe incorporates soaked oats, so that your body benefits from the broken down phytates. Next, it is slow and low baked, which keeps it nutrient-dense. It also contains raw nuts (which you can soak in with the oats if you want to, but they will no longer be raw nuts of course) and raw seeds; our family preference is for almonds and pumpkin seeds, but you can certainly substitute any kind of nuts and seeds you like.
I adapted this recipe from another recipe I found on the internet over 8 years ago, and the original recipe called for totally different nuts and seeds. Do not be afraid to adjust it to whatever your family already enjoys. You can also adjust the cinnamon, and the butter/coconut oil amounts too. Make it your own!
Coconut oil is one of the healthiest oils you can use in cooking and baking. There are so many reasons to use coconut oil, that I could talk for days about it. Personally, coconut oil is the only oil I use in cooking and baking.
I used olive oil for years and years, but the problem with cooking with olive oil is that the antioxidants are destroyed at a much lower heat than coconut oil. If the antioxidants are gone, then why use it? So I use coconut oil, and there are many other reasons: heart-healthy; healthy source of fat; promotes weight loss; supports proper thyroid function; supports healthy metabolism; great for dry skin, inside and out; destroys yeast.
My favorite source of coconut oil is Mountain Rose Herbs. I just do not look for it anywhere else. I have not found a cheaper source for organic. You need to use unrefined coconut oil for cooking. I also use the same coconut oil in baths, and to make my homemade deodorant, as well as to soften my skin. Do you think we love coconut oil in this house?! Yes, we do!
Coconut, like coconut oil, is an amazing source of nutrition and wellness too. So much so that you should just go here to let them convince you. If you scroll down the page some you will be amazed at all the goodness that is coconut.
Raw Nuts and Raw Seeds
Raw nuts and raw seeds are so healthy, and are commonly neglected in our diets. Not only are they cholesterol lowering, they are an awesome source of protein and healthy fat – wonderful for our children's' developing brains. And my favorite thing about them is that they are so filling.
Avoid roasted and salted – your best nutritive value will always be in raw varieties. It is commonly thought that since nuts and seeds are well packed in their shells, that they are protected from pesticides, so if you cannot afford organic – don't stress, just buy conventionally grown. However, if you can afford to buy organic, then do!
Conventionally grown nuts and seeds are usually fumigated with pesticide after harvesting, and while that really may not get to us, it does affect the farmers using it as well as our environment.
By now most people probably know that cinnamon helps to regulate blood sugar levels; it has been shown to reduce triglycerides, LDL and total cholesterol over time with regular use; it also has an anti-clotting effect on the blood; it inhibits bacterial growth and spoilage when added to food, and one study found that smelling cinnamon boosted cognitive function and memory. But ohh cinnamon, I just love your scrumptious taste!
While you will never hear me quote the FDA Food Pyramid requirements for grains, I do love oats in moderation. But I always soak. The benefits to heart health and cholesterol reduction just cannot be ignored. Oats are a good source of protein, fiber and iron. I love Bob's Red Mill Organic Rolled Oats. I buy from a co-operative, and buy in bulk when I can so that I can afford organic. But when I can't, I buy the cheapest store-brand I can find.
Honey is an amazing natural sweetener. It contains vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, enzymes and amino acids. Local raw honey can help combat allergies. Honey has been used for thousands of years as a sweetener.
So, without further ado – here is, in my opinion, a perfectly healthy cereal choice. And usually I tell people that “healthy cereal” is an oxymoron!
8 C rolled oats
3/4 C melted coconut oil
1/2 C melted butter
1 1/2 C kefir (or cultured buttermilk)
1C water (if you need more add a bit more, just to make it moist enough to soak, if it is moist without it, just skip)
1/2 C raw honey
3/4 C maple syrup
1 tsp sea salt
4 tsp cinnamon
4 tsp vanilla extract
1 C dried coconut, shredded
1 C dried fruit, chopped (I usually use apricots)
1/2 C pumpkin seeds, chopped
1 C nuts (optional) – chopped almonds is wonderful!
1 C dried apples (this is from the originally recipe and I have yet to add it, but I keep it here in case I do have dried apples on hand at some point)
Start your soaking in the morning because you will want to soak it for 24 hours, and the bake time is long. Starting your soak after breakfast will allow you to bake during the morning and afternoon and be done with it before dinner next day.
Combine your oats with the melted oil, melted butter and kefir (or buttermilk) in a very large bowl, add water last because you may not need much. Mix well. Cover with a cloth and let it sit at room temperature for 24 hours (keep it cooler, rather than warmer). After the soaking, preheat the oven to 200° F.
Combine the honey, maple syrup, salt, cinnamon and vanilla in a small pot of on the stove. Bring to a gentle simmer, stirring the mixture, until honey becomes thin.
Combine honey and oat mixtures, mix well.
Spread mixture out over parchment paper on cookie sheets, or just spray the pans lightly with cooking spray.
Bake for 4 hours, until granola is crunchy. It will seem slightly soft, but it crisps up as it cools. Turn the oven off and cool in the oven. Do not turn the oven up because you will burn your granola, and burnt granola is not tasty (ask me how I know!). Just cook it low and slow. Your patience will be rewarded for a good month or longer. I stir my granola every 30 minutes.
Mix in the coconut, seeds, dried fruit and nuts. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. On the counter for a few days or in cool weather is fine, but I have heard many people talk about their soaked granola molding in just a few weeks. Mine has never molded, but I have never kept it on the counter for more than a day - we always put it back in to chill.
It is delicious with fresh raw milk as cereal. My kids like it best with fresh fruit and yogurt, and my favorite is with plain kefir! Enjoy!
In the September 2011 Runner's World there is a recipe for making your own granola bars. I have yet to try it, but I plan to make a batch soon. Here is the recipe, by Liz Applegate, PH.D.:
Mix 3 T honey, 2 T canola oil (I will substitute coconut oil), 2 eggs, walnuts, orange zest and 2 C granola. Bake 15 minutes at 375 degrees F.