Granola Granola

The Granola Guide

Sat, Jun. 29, 2019
By Maggie’s Little Kitchen

The story of breakfast goes like this: I discovered a while ago that I had a mild form of irritable bowel syndrome. The doctor’s advice (after I ranted for about 15 minutes nonstop about how my jeans don’t zip up anymore, how sluggish and forlorn I am in the morning, how unproductive I am at work ... you kinda get the picture) was to seriously take a close look at the ingredients of whatever I was consuming. Otherwise I should consider eliminating things one by one from my diet to work out where the pain and lethargy was coming from.

It took me a while. I switched foods around, thinking maybe yeast or gluten were the culprits. So I adopted the prospect of granola—dried fruit, nuts, honey—sounds quite healthy! And what could me more harmless and more nutritional than a normal bag of supermarket granola? Combined with a cup of skimmed milk in the morning, I’d be good to go! Right?

Wrong. Three mornings in a row with store-bought granola literally killed my waistline from excessive bloating and the pain was just phenomenal. When I used to commute an average of three and a half hours a day, that sort of pain combined with jeans while stranded on a bumpy bus-ride in Cairo traffic just made me miserable. Seriously, utterly miserable.

So I looked at the ingredients on the package—and guess what? Over 25 ingredients are contained in a seemingly innocent bag of granola: emulsifier, stabilizer, calcium carbonate, lecithin, lactose, soya powder, phosphate, colors, flavors … I was consuming these chemicals, laden in sugar and sodium. Every morning, I was literally eating an intestinal horror story.

The outcome of my discovery was pretty clear; I’d have to make it myself. After a couple of hours on the internet, where I discovered an entire world of food-suspicious individuals like myself, I found that it wasn’t all that hard, and that there were a thousand ways of making it. So I tried my hand at it. The result? A house filled with intoxicating nutty-vanilliary-toasty-maple-syrupy scents that lingered well into the morning of the next day.

I was consuming a homemade granola that went down from 25+ ingredients, to only about 8. And my stomach? It wasn’t protruding like I was carrying quintuplets at nine months anymore. The pain? Down a million notches. The appetite? Sated. The feeling? Clean.

The Granola Guide
I’ve made a basic and comprehensive chart for you, step by step constituents of the ideal granola, with enough options to give you the freedom to create it the way you want. It won’t take you more than 30 minutes to get it all together and bake it, and you’ll thank me later. Plus, this is a great way to use up all those dried fruits and nuts left over from Ramadan. The recipe is designed to give you about three cups of granola; I would personally divide it into small boxes and carry one to work with me every day to have my breakfast there, topped with yogurt or skimmed milk. However you choose to store it though, just make sure you let it cool (so it stays crunchy) and store it in an airtight container for up to two weeks.

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Choose Your Oats
Use 2 cups traditional steel-cut oats (for big yummy clumps) or instant oats for flaky, but awesome, small clumps.

1.Fruit & Nuts
Add ¼ cup fruit and ¼ cup of nuts—knock yourself out!
Almonds • cashews • hazelnuts • walnuts • pistachios • peanuts • pecans • raisins • dried • berries • dried fruit (kiwi - ginger - pineapple - apricot - banana – strawberries – cherries – mango - figs) • prunes • dates

2.The Binders
Stick it together with 3 tbsp nut butter (peanut butter • almond • cashew • or coconut oil) and 3tbsp sweetener (honey • maple syrup • agave • or molasses)

3.The Bits N’ Pieces
Add ¼ cup of any of these:

Chocolate chips (or peanut butter or white chocolate chips) • chia seeds • flaxseeds • pumpkin seeds • almond flakes • or shredded almond

4.Scents & Spices
Add 1 or both of these:

1 tsp extract (vanilla, orange, almond or lemon extract)
½ tsp spices (cinnamon, nutmeg or ginger)

The Recipe
-Preheat the oven to 200 celcius.
-Toss all dry ingredients together.
-Melt wet ingredients in a saucepan and pour them over the dry ingredients.
-Combine and spread on a foil-lined baking tray, then bake for 20 minutes.
-Cool and enjoy.

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