Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Grain-free Granola: A Delicious Anomaly

Chef Reiton and I had the pleasure of having one of his sisters visit us for a night on the way home from a business trip a week or so ago. After years of living close to each other, I didn't realize how much I missed her until we sat into the wee hours of the morning, catching up, reminiscing, drinking probably too much really good wine—and thoroughly enjoying every minute of it.

One thing we always talk about when we are together is food. Not only do we all love to eat, but quite a few people in Chef Reiton's family suffer from celiac, and so we are always sharing new meals or snacks or desserts that we have discovered that are gluten-free.

During this visit, Brenda pulled out a bag of grain-free granola that one of her friends had introduced her to. She let us try it, and wow! It was quite good!

Then she let us know how much that little bag of grain-free granola cost.

I believe I may have accidentally snorted a few pecan pieces in response. Why, oh WHY, do health food companies find it necessary to drastically overcharge for a product that they promote as necessary for all? We all know why: fad = $$$. But for many consumers , it's not about a fad. Their diet is based around a serious health condition, and there is NO reason that anyone should have to pay crap-tons of money to avoid going into anaphylactic shock. It's outrageous, and so I decided to give the health food companies the ol' one-two and come up with my own damn grain-free granola recipe.

Grain-Free Granola from Creating A Foodie

The "start-up" cost for making this granola may seem high, I understand. But a whole bag of nut parts is going to make a whole lotta granola. And you are ultimately going to be spending a LOT less than the $8 pre-packaged bag of grain-free granola you buy at the store!

This is not a terribly sweet granola. It's got a warm spice and salty flavor, but it's not going to be loading you up with sugar. And I would call this a snacking granola, not a cereal. You aren't going to need much.

If you don't like honey, you may want to try agave syrup, instead. And a few tips on nuts: don't look for nuts in the baking aisle. Look for the "generic" nuts that are sold in the bulk section or in the produce section. They will be cheaper. Also, look for broken pieces, slivers, or slices, instead. Whole nuts tend to be more expensive because they have to be prettier and so take more work to get out of the shell. And feel free to substitute the type of nuts used; go for what you already have. Or add some dried fruit or a teensy bit of brown sugar if you want it sweeter. You regular readers know what I think: you are the one eating it. Make it what you want. There is no one "right" way to make most recipes!

Ingredients and directions:

In a medium bowl, blend with a whisk:
• 1/8 cup coconut oil, melted
• 1/8 cup honey

Add to bowl and blend again:
• 1/8 tsp. almond extract
• 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Add to bowl then stir very well to coat:
• 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
• 1/4 cup slivered almonds
• 1/2 cup cashew pieces
• 1/4 cup pecan pieces
• 1/8 cup chia seeds
• 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
• 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
• 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
• 1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg

• 1/8 cup coconut flour

Blend well with whisk again. Place a piece of parchment paper on a rimmed baking sheet. Pour granola out onto paper and spread evenly. Break up any large clumps into smaller chunks.

Bake at 325° for 10 minutes. Toss. Bake for another 10 minutes until golden. Remove pan from the oven and place on a wire rack. Cool granola completely.

Chef Reiton loves his grain-free granola

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