Cooking 101 Beginner : Quick & Easy Basic Honey Granola

Making homemade granola these days is not selective to hippies guys! I love to make granola and other breakfast treats all the time and its super simple, but best of all, you tend to save tons of money! What could honestly be better than that. If you have 30-35 minutes, granola is easily within your reach. This recipe is also very basic, you can add 1/2 cup crushed up nuts or seeds (flax and walnut is a great combination), you can toss in dried fruits when the granola is done or you can leave it plain for sprinkling ontop of yogurt. (that’s what I like to do! =)

Ingredients:

4 cups old fashioned oats (not oat groats, not quick cooking oats, not steel cut oats)
1/4 cup olive oil
pinch salt (optional)
1 T vanilla extract (use the good stuff, you’ll thank yourself later)
1 T evaporated cane sugar or raw sugar
1 /4 cup + 1 tablespoon honey  (5 tablespoons total)  (use maple syrup for vegan version)
2 tablespoons water

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius).

In a large bowl add in everything except the oats. Mix well. Add your oats 1 cup at a time and stir well. (don’t be afraid to use your hands, it really works best) After you have all your oats mixed in, let it sit for a couple minutes. 2-5 minutes is a long enough, very easy to do while your oven preheats.

Once your oven is preheated, take a full sheet pan and evenly spread your oat mixture on it. Pop it in the oven for 15 minutes.

(Above photo is granola mix about to go into the oven)

After 15 minutes take the pan out of the oven and stir/flip the oats with a flat spatula. Put it back in the oven for 15 more minutes.


(Above photo is granola mix after 15 minutes in the oven)Take the granola out of the oven again and stir.

(Above photo is granola after 30 minutes, some dark bits and perfect for me)
Depending on your personal taste you can stop now. If you want it darker, continue cooking in 5 minute intervuls instead you reach your desired doneness.

Prep time: 2-5 minutes  Cook time: 30-40 minutes Serves: 4 cups
allergies: honey***, oats**
**Can be gluten-free if you make sure you purchase gluten free oats!
***vegan friendly if you it without honey, maple syrup instead.

And you’re done! See how easy that was. You now have a healthy breakfast treat that costs next to nothing to make and little time spent. A traditional basica granola in a health food store costs $4.99 a pound, YIKES! However, this granola only cost me :

Oats: 53¢
olive oil: 25¢
salt & Sugar: 5¢
vanilla (homemade): 5¢ (store bought would be more like 40¢)
honey: 45¢
Water: free (my water bill is paid)

If we total that up we’re looking at a grand total of….  $1.33 for 4 cups of granola. Talk about saving money. That’s an approx savings of  $8.50! Even if you add in nuts and seeds, you will still save money compared to the granola at the health food store.  Assuming you used 1/4 cup of both flax seeds and walnuts and they were organic, you’re still only looking at about 1.50-2.00 more dollars. Oh and all the above ingredients were purchased organic except my homemade vanilla (purchased many years ago before I cared about organic, and bought in bulk. I got 5 pounds for only 25.00!)

I hope you will try this easy granola and let me know in the comments what YOU would put with it. Me personally, I enjoy my granola with some unsweetened almond milk or on-top of organic Greek yogurt with fresh seasonal fruits, yum yum!

Healthy Lunchbox Ideas – #2

Hey guys! Today I threw together a super simple and insanely cheap lunchbox!


This lunchbox is definately a sesasonal delight for me! Not only that but you’ll notice I reused a plastic throwaway container to hold the salad in. Healthy  veggies + recycling = <3

LunchBox idea #2 is a whole wheat multi-grain peanut butter and strawberry jam sandwich. The bread is fresh made at a local grocery store from local ingredients. The jam I made myself from strawberries purchased from the farmers market. Jam is super easy to make: get instant pectin, fresh strawberries, and sweetener if needed. Blend the ingredients together and store in fridge overnight until it sets. Not only does it taste better, is better for you, but you control the ingredients! The peanut butter is organic all natural peanut butter with nothing but peanuts in it. ( for those with allergies you could definately use a different nut butter like almond, brazil, or cashew. You could also do a seed better like sunflower or sesame (tahini)). There is also sliced up cucumbers, in season and cheap right now so of course we’re eating a lot of them. They are served with a side of dressing. There is also a simple salad made entirely from ingredients from my farmers market. Three large romaine lettuce leafs sliced up with a handful of snow peas (removed from pod, but left raw), shredded carrot, and sliced bell pepper. A small serving of rice, approxomately 3/4 cup, with chili sauce on the side. (chili sauce is our guilty pleasure, we pretty much always put it on rice). Last, but definately not last, is my swiss chard chips (Recipe Here). Ignavius did not finish all his lunch tomorrow so I decided just to toss in the chips again. (definately nothing wrong with that!).

Pros of this lunch:
*cheap! – this meal is about $2.00, made with all organic, local ingredients (except the peanuts… can’t be helped! they don’t grow in Nebraska to my knowledge LOL)
*  This meal is vegan/vegetarian friendly, plus most people will have all the ingredients available.
* Kid friendly, & adult approved! – the simplicity of this meal attracts everyone. Who doesn’t love a good peanut butter and Jelly sandwich?! Kids will never know how healthy and fresh it is, while adults will love how low calorie it is. Bright colors will attract children and encourage them to eat their food, aswell as adults.
* Can be eaten without reheating it. The rice is fully cooked and doesn’t require heating, nor does the sandwich, and obviously the rest is fresh veggies!
* Minus the chard “chips” this meal took me 5 minutes to put together (using precooked rice).
* low calorie!
* high in vitamins & minerals

 

(This next photo shows how I reused a plastic take-out container. I’ll probably use this 5 or 6 times before recycling it, basically until it gets funky. This is a great way to save money, aswell as “fancy-up” any meal and make someone feel important. Remember though, if possible don’t get throw away plastic boxes!)
(click to see full photo breakdown of nutritional values)