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Clumpy granola with macadamia nuts pictured in a jar on a chopping boardI am a breakfast person. It’s my favourite meal of the day. Maybe it’s because breakfast is the fuel that gets us through the next 15 hours or so. Maybe it’s because breakfast calories “don’t really count” towards our daily intake as we can burn them all off (yes, I will continue to tell myself that, thank you). Or maybe it’s because we can get away with eating anything in the morning! Sweet, savoury, fresh, fried, baked, slow cooked; fruit, veg, sausages, bacon, cookies, porridge, spinach pie, apple pie, cake… literally anything! I draw the line at drinking Coke in the morning, but I know many people do.

Oats are considered one of the best options for breakfast, due to the slow releasing energy they provide, which keeps us going for much longer and helps us avoid snacking. That sounds really cool, slow releasing energy… Makes me feel a bit super-womany! Recently I’ve realized that it’s actually true. Oats and protein rich foods are best in the morning. Carbs are worst. This is my personal opinion and I have no idea if it is backed up by science! My philosophy is that our bodies speak to us and tell us what they need, what they want, what’s wrong. Ok, not always, or we’re not always in a position to understand the language it uses, but if we try I think usually we can get a good idea of what’s best. After being on the Dukan Diet for a couple of months, I came to realize that protein rich breakfasts are what’s best for me. If I have bread, or a pasty (popular in Greece), or fruit or cereal, I’ll be hungry by 10 and will probably get the shakes and a drop in blood pressure (especially if I have coffee as well). Eggs, ham, yogurt, cheese, all keep my energy going for longer, and my mind free of food related thoughts – at least until lunchtime! Oats also do that. I think they are high in carbohydrates so I’m a bit confused as to why, but they are definitely different to any boxed cereals I’ve ever tried.

During winter I love me my porridge. My Grandma used to say if you eat porridge when it’s hot you get itchy (again, no idea what science has to say about that!) so I don’t usually eat it in the summer. Itchiness aside, a hot breakfast in 40 degrees Celsius is not very appealing. A few years ago, I discovered another fabulous way to enjoy oats. Granola! The reason granola came into my life so late is that you can’t get it here in Greece, at least not easily. You definitely couldn’t get it until very recently. So I made my own! And since then I think the only recipe I’ve made twice is this Coconut Cranberry Granola. There are so many variations, so many ways to experiment, so many tasty ingredients to use, I always want to try something different.

Today’s recipe is based on the Coconut Granola by Two Peas & Their Pod. I’ve changed quite a few ingredients but the base is the same, with the same dry to wet ingredient ratio. And it works perfectly. I’ve read many granola recipes and a lot of them mention clumpiness as being a desired but hard to accomplish result. Well, I think the combination of honey with olive oil is great for this. My granola was super clumpy, which is exactly how I love it. It tastes brilliant and it keeps fantastically well in an air tight container or jar. Try it!

Macadamia, Olive Oil & Honey Granola

(adapted from Two Peas & Their Pod Coconut Granola)

Ingredients

2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup macadamia nuts, roughly chopped
1/2 cup desiccated (shredded) coconut
1/4 cup flax seeds
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
2 Tbs brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup olive oil
1 Tbs vanilla extract (that was supposed to be 1 tsp but I messed it up. It turned out great anyway! If you’re using the expensive store bought type stick to a teaspoon. Or sub with coconut extract)

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 150C and line a baking sheet with grease proof paper.
  2. Mix all the dry ingredients (oats through to salt on ingredient list) in a large bowl and set aside.
  3. Combine the honey and olive oil in a small saucepan and heat gently till the honey has completely melted. Whisk till incorporated.
  4. Add the vanilla extract to the wet ingredients and stir.
  5. Add the wet ingredients to the bowl with the oats and stir well with a wooden spoon till the dry ingredients are well coated with the honey mixture.
  6. Turn mixture out on to the baking sheet and spread it out so it’s in a single layer. Try to press it down firmly (a rubber spatula is good for that) as this helps make it clumpy.
  7. Bake for about 30 minutes or until granola is golden. Don’t let it brown as it will turn bitter.
  8. Enjoy with Greek yogurt, milk or –my favourite- buttermilk. It’s also great as a topping over porridge (oatmeal).

More granola goodness:

Morning Time Breakfast Granola Cups by Mommie Cooks
Cookbook: The Homemade Pantry and The Nutty Granola Bar by Food In Jars
Low Fat Granola Bars with Mango, Hazelnut & Ginger Recipe by Cookin’ Canuck
Small Batch Honey-Pistachio Granola by Mountain Mama Cooks

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