Oct 26, 2011

Apple-Cranberry Granola

It's fall. In my opinion, there are certain liberties I feel I must take when Fall rolls around. Here they are in no particular order:
  1. I must go to Starbucks for a pumpkin spice latte, preferably once per week (guilty pleasure). 
  2. I must take advantage of the cooler weather and go jogging more often....to burn off the pumpkin spice lattes :) 
  3. Hanging out at home in a sweatshirt is totally acceptable and NOT frumpy (at least not for another 2 months). 
  4. I take every opportunity to wear scarves and boots, preferably together.
  5. I paint my nails fun colors like rust by Essie 
  6. I bake tasty things that make my house smell like one (or more) of the following: pumpkin, cranberry, cinnamon or apple. 
  7. I try to make these tasty creations healthy. Enter, granola! 

    If you've been reading this blog, you know I love making granola. Since store-bought varieties contain so much added fat and sugar, I decided about a year ago that I would start making my own. The first granola recipe I posted was Granola Love, which is still my favorite basic recipe.

    I further adapted my basic recipe to include yummy Fall ingredients like apple, cinnamon, walnuts, cranberries and pumpkin pie spice (why not?!). It's got spice. It's got flair. It's got a delicious flavor that celebrates all things warm and cozy in a fresh healthy way.

    • 4 cups rolled oats
    • 1/3 cup apple butter, prepared
    • 1/4 cup canola oil
    • 1 tsp vanilla
    • 1 tsp cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp pumpkin spice 
    • 1/2 cup ground flax seed
    • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
    • 1/2 cup walnut pieces

    Heat oven to 325F. I like to coat my baking sheet with aluminum foil and then use cooking spray for no-stick easy clean-up. Mix apple butter, canola oil and vanilla until combined. In a separate bowl, mix oats and spices. Mix the wet ingredients and dry ingredients together (minus the flax seed, cranberries and walnut pieces), making sure to coat all the oats well....yes, you're hands will get a little dirty. Totally worth it. Bake mixture for 45 minutes, stirring granola every 15 minutes for even browning. About 15 minutes before granola is done, add ground flax meal, cranberries and walnuts (this helps make sure they don't overcook, dry out or burn).

    This recipe is super easy and super healthy.

    I'll name just a few health benefits of eating 1/4-1/2 cup of this good stuff everyday: the oats provide heart-healthy soluble fiber, canola oil and walnuts are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids (also heart-healthy), and the spices provide an extra dose of antioxidants. Although there is added sugar in the apple butter and dried cranberries, limiting your granola serving to approximately 1/4-1/2 cup will ensure you're getting the healthy benefits of granola without overdosing on sugar.

    Go ahead, enjoy the comforting tastes of Fall in a healthy way!


    1. I totally agree with 1 and 3 on your list! Give me a pumpkin spice latte, an oversized college sweatshirt, and I am set this time of year! :-)

      I have never made granola before, but I like how this one sounds, so I will have to give it a try when I have some days off around Thanksgiving!

    2. Oh good! Homemade granola is SO good! Put it in a cute jar and it makes a nice gift too ;)