Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Quinoa and Nut Granola

Saturday was an up-and-down type of a day. I was invested in two very important sporting events. Duke basketball vs cross-triangle rivals NC State and Ravens vs Broncos football playoff game. Unfortunately only one of those had the outcome that I desired. The Ravens are moving on to the AFC championship this coming Sunday night. Bdddddd (in case you are wondering, that is a bird sound). Both games were up and down, nail biting, pacing the living room types of games. I will spare you all my thoughts on the Duke loss and just take a moment of silence for R. Kelly and Spice to heal rapidly and get back on the floor (for a detailed recap of the game and my thoughts on how the team is doing this year, feel free to email me). 

Since I knew I was going to be spending the majority of the afternoon yelling at the TV, I figured I would treat myself to a nice breakfast. I debated pancakes or waffles or eggs but I decided instead on homemade granola. I always enjoy yogurt topped with granola and since I had seen one my regular food bloggers post about quinoa granola, I knew I had to try it out. I changed around a few things to use what I had on hand. You could certainly use any combination of nuts and dried fruit that you like the most. I think the quinoa gives it an extra crunch (and a boost of protein) over "normal" granola, and the sweetness of the sugar combines well with the tartness of the applesauce. I have been enjoying it all week so far.

As I've told you with many of my DIY recipes, I enjoy making things at home that you can easily purchase at the store. Sometimes it takes about the same amount of time as a trip to the store; others may take a little bit of effort, but the ability to customize to your likes and dislikes and to control the additives (salt, MSG, etc) wins out for me. Many times it will also save you some money (especially when it comes to granola which I find is over-priced). I'm not strict about my homemade things because sometimes I'm lazy or in a rush or craving something that mass production just does better, but I would encourage you to try out a new homemade thing or two this year.

Anything in particular you want to see "homemade"? Let me know, I'll add it to my list!

Quinoa and Nut Granola (adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod)
1/2 cup quinoa (I used a combination of white and red)
1 cup old fashioned oats
1/3 cup pepitas
1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
1 1/2 tbsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup applesauce (I used granny smith flavored)
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp butter
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 300 F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Rinse and drain the quinoa. Combine the quinoa, oats, pepitas, sunflower seeds, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in a bowl. Toss to mix.

Melt the butter in a small bowl. Whisk in the applesauce, honey and vanilla. Pour over the dry ingredients and mix to coat completely. Dump out on the prepared baking sheet and spread in an even layer.

Bake for 35-40 minutes, mixing every 10 minutes, until everything is golden brown. Remove from the oven and mix in the cranberries. Let cool and store in an airtight container.

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