Last week I did the inevitable. I had turned in my resignation letter to my work. I was nearing the end of my 4 month maternity leave and had been searching for daycares, nannies, babysitters and they all seemed like fairly decent options. Yet, none of them made sense to Eric and myself because we couldn't bring ourselves to let anyone else take care of our daughter. We had made the final decision that it would be best for me to stay home and not return to work. I have never been so scared, nervous, relieved and happy all at the same time.
My career in Human Resources will be put on hold for now until Elena starts school. Eric and I will tighten our budget, cut out any extra expenses and focus on raising Elena to our utmost ability. Cutting expenses means cooking more meals at home, less dinners out, frugal activities, simplifying our lifestyle and stretching our dollars out. These coming years might be a little difficult, but well worth the sacrifice to stay home with Elena.
Making my own granola is a great way to save on breakfast and snacks. It's a great way to give up on purchasing boxed cereals and other packaged snacks. I bought the majority of the ingredients in bulk and tweaked the recipe to my preferred add-ins. Most times I'm too busy in the morning trying to nurse Elena that I don't always have time to prepare a decent breakfast for myself. This easy to prepare granola is a great energy booster, and a fantastic healthy breakfast to enjoy if you only have one hand available.
Wonderfully delicious, easy and inexpensive!
Adapted from Bon Appétit July 2012
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2 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
1/4 cup wheat germ
1 tablespoon golden flaxseeds
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/3 cup honey
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons (packed) light brown sugar
3/4 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup raw shelled pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
1/3 cup raw sunflower seeds
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup dried apricots
1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup dried mango
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Prepare two large jelly roll baking pans with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
In a large bowl, mix together the oats, wheat germ and flaxseeds, 1/4 teaspoon salt, cinnamon, and ginger. Add 1 cup hot tap water. Mix thoroughly and let stand for 15 minutes to soften oats.
In a small saucepan, bring the honey, 2 tablespoons oil, and brown sugar to a boil, making sure to dissolve sugar. Stir in honey mixture to oat mixture. Spread out mixture in an even layer on prepared baking sheets.
Bake oat mixture, stirring 2 to 3 times, until dark golden brown, about 50 to 60 minutes. Place sheet on cooling trivets until oat mixture completely cooled.
Increase oven temperature to 350 degrees. Mix together the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, remaining 2 tablespoons oil, pecans, pumpkin, sunflower seeds and sugar in a medium bowl. Spread in an even layer on other prepared baking sheet. Bake, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Place sheet on cooling trivet until completely cooled.
In a large bowl, combine oat mixture, nut mixture and dried fruits together. Place prepared granola in an airtight containers at room temperature.
Serve granola with yogurt and fresh fruits or enjoy by itself.
Yield: +1 quart
preferred granola recipe, and not as sweet. It's a great energy booster and perfect as a snack, and pairs well with your favorite yogurt and fresh fruits. I enjoyed my surfers granola over greek yogurt and fresh blueberries. DELICIOUS!