This is the second week in February and I am still in diet hell. It should be easy to eat well; but I am amazed how hard it is to do. Eating junk is cheap and you pay a premium for healthy stuff. So we are looking for healthy and tasty ways to fill those little voids in our appetites that were once overflowing with the bounties of a holiday party.
We turned to the quintessential health food to help us in our weight-loss endeavour – granola. The food once thought to only be loved by tie-dye t-shirt wearing, VW bus driving, hippies is now a staple in the health food market. You can run the gambit with types, flavors and calorie count. For instance, my culinary inamorata, Ina Garten’s recipe tries it’s best to be “good for you” by adding sweeten coconut and 3/4 cup of oil – I mean the coconut alone is 1,120 calories!!! It’s like eating candy with a fiber punch in the gut. However, on the other end of the spectrum you have those horrible granola bars that could be used to file your nails or pound a nail in a 2×4 for that matter.
Thanks to Cooking Light, they were able to provide some granola guidance and as usual I made a few changes – well, due to a little mischief. What makes this granola different is that it uses 2 teaspoons of oil; so this recipe has 80 calories from the oil compared to the 1,445 in Ina’s recipe! You could eat two 12 oz filet mignon for that amount. The goodness continues by the added flaxseed. Flaxseed is a wonderful little seed that contains omega-3 fatty acids. For those that don’t know, omega-3 fatty acids are found also in fish, such as salmon, to help with blood pressure and overall heart health. For those people, who say they are allergic to fish (RAY!) – they can enjoy these wonderful seeds and reap the rewards of the omega-3s. But why in the heck do we have to pulverize them, you ask? Like corn, your body can’t digest the outer hull of the seed, it would…well, um, pass right through. The recipe calls for orange juice, but I didn’t have any, so I used pomegranate juice. Did it work, you ask? Yes, and quiet splendidly.
I am not a nutritionist, but I do a pretty mean Google search ;). Let’s get started:
2 cups regular rolled oats (do NOT use quick oats – you will end up with goo. Believe me)
1/3 cup ground flaxseed
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 slivered almonds
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/3 cup orange juice (or apparently pomegranate)
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup dried cherries
1/3 cup dried blueberries Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees. Combine the first 5 ingredients in a medium bowl.
In a small sauce pan, combine juice, honey and brown sugar. Cook over medium heat until sugar dissolves, stirring often. Remove from heat, add vanilla and oil. Pour honey mixture over oat mixture, stirring to coat.
Spread mixture in a thin layer on a cookie sheet coated with cooking spray.
Bake for 10 minutes. Stir well. Bake an additional 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. Spoon granola into a bowl and stir in dried fruit.
For a 1/2 cup, it is only 196 calories. It can be a great yogurt (even frozen yogurt) topping or just a handful to give relief to that sweet-tooth. Give it a try, your body will be glad you did – especially for your cholesterol levels and oh yeah, your colon.