Basic Granola

Editor’s note: This column originally ran in the May 11, 2012 issue of the Banner. 

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Mother’s Day is almost upon us and, as usual, I’m at a loss for the perfect, thoughtful gift for my mother. When it comes to any gift-giving occasion, my mom responds to gift request inquiries with something like, “Oh honey, that’s so sweet. But I don’t need anything. I already have two perfect children.” Well, one, anyway. “And you’ve given me my grandson. Really, there’s nothing more I could ask for. I like gift cards.”

But it’s still fun to make something more personal for my top-notch mama, and lacking any talent in the arts-and-crafts department, food is all I have to offer.

This homemade granola is one of my favorite recipes, and it’s a perfect little extra for Mother’s Day for several reasons:

It’s basic, so you can modify it to your tastes. This is like the tabula rasa of granolas – oats, homemade syrup, and nuts. Use whichever nuts you prefer. Toss in some cinnamon, if that floats your boat. Add coconut. Stir in some dried fruit after the granola is baked.  It can be prepared in advance and travels well. As long as you keep the granola in a sealed container, it will keep for several days – even a few weeks. You can even pack it in a resealable bag and mail it.

Granola – it’s not just for breakfast anymore! Breakfast in bed is a common Mother’s Day theme, and this granola makes a wonderful addition. But if Mom doesn’t eat breakfast in bed – or at all – this granola is great as a snack (think trail mix) or sprinkled on yogurt. 

 Did I mention that it’s pretty darn good for you? Many store-bought granolas are quite high in fat, and while this version still has fat from the nuts, these are good fats. However, the syrup is a brown sugar and water mixture (an idea courtesy of “Cooking Light” magazine), so it’s healthier than granolas that include maple syrup or oil.