My granola-loving brother-in-law is here for the weekend, so I felt inspired to pull out my favorite recipe and bake up some crunchy oatmeal goodness. Several years ago our friend Lace served us the best granola I’d ever had: a Williams-Sonoma recipe called Honey Granola. I’ve tweaked it a bit and am quite happy with the result, especially the texture and caramel flavor of the cherries after they’re baked. It really takes no time at all to make a healthy homemade breakfast.
- 2 cups rolled oats
- ¼ cup dark brown sugar
- ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
- ¼ cup shredded coconut (we had sweetened on hand but unsweetened would work well too)
- ¼ cup dried tart cherries
- ⅓ cup sliced almonds
- 4 Tbsp. Earth Balance vegan buttery sticks
- ¼ cup pure maple syrup
- Preheat oven to 325°.
- In a bowl, stir together oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, coconut, cherries, and almonds.
- Combine Earth Balance and maple syrup in a small saucepan; heat over low until melted. Pour over oat mixture and stir until well coated.
- Spread out on baking sheet. Total baking time is 25 minutes; I like to stir it about halfway through.
Granola is definitely yummy, but it’s got a ton of calories. So, to make a little go a long way, I switch up the usual proportions of cereal to fruit. Instead of a big bowl of cereal topped with a handful of fruit, I start with a generous serving of fruit and sprinkle my 1/3 cup granola over the top. This recipe is especially good with a crisp Braeburn apple, but berries or banana would be fabulous as well. Adding 1 cup chopped apple and ¼ cup of soymilk boosts the fiber content and your most important meal of the day will cost you less than 300 calories. (Of course, if you’re not worried about calories you could be more generous with the amounts. Of course, if you’re not worried about calories, you must be 17 years old.)
Another note on portion size: the bowl makes a big difference. If you’re used to regular cold cereals that are all airy and puffed up, you probably grab a soup bowl in the morning and fill it with a couple cups or more. When you put 1/3 cup of granola in that same bowl it’s going to look very disappointing. Research tells us that we can be satisfied with smaller servings if we choose plates and bowls that make our healthy helping look generous. As they say, we eat with our eyes. Consider how 1/3 cup of granola atop chopped apple looks in this container.
Another benefit to portion control is that you can stretch your recipes further. Putting the time in to make granola on the weekend lets you enjoy a healthy breakfast all week long.
What tips and tricks do you have for being happy and contented with smaller portions?