Monday, November 2, 2009

Autumn Granola


I love the fall and daylight savings time is probably my favorite day of the fall since I get to wake up early with the sun coming up like I do in the summer, without sacrificing it being my favorite part of the year. The changing of the seasons never ceases to change my appetite drastically. Where in the summer the thought of "stick to your ribs" food is a rarity, in the fall and winter, I somehow find myself dreaming after warmer, denser, heartier foods. In the summer smoothies and bowls of fruit do just fine for breakfast. Salads with lean protein for lunch. Fresh spicy food for dinner. In the fall and winter, that just won't do. I mean as hearty as a salad can be has one ever warmed you up? When you are hoofing it through a winter (or fall) snow storm are you dreaming of leafy greens with a whisper of dressing to stave off the cold? Hardly! I want soups, chili, curry, roast vegetables, comfort foods (made healthy of course!) Especially since I am prone to being cold anyways, I need something warmer to keep me sustained especially when I am running 100-120 miles in a week in the cool fall air. And just because something is warming and comforting doesn't mean it has to be bad for you.


Over the weekend, I headed to Cibo post-run for a late breakfast and dug into a bowl of granola with yogurt and stewed fruit. The stewed fruit especially was absolutely the perfect fall breakfast. I decided to take the idea home and create something that would fit my foodie model. Must taste great, but also not just be loaded with sugar or without additional health benefits. I decided to notch down the level of oil and sweetener in the granola and boost up the dried fruit and nuts. I also used agave nectar instead of brown sugar It was not overly sweet but got a great golden toastiness that I adore. The fruit stewed in POM Wonderful juice (which is what I had on hand thanks to them sending me some!) or any juice will do. The stewed fruit will be plenty sweet to balance out the granola. I thought it potentially could be too sweet but this breakfast was a home run.


Stewed Fruit

Yield: 4 servings


2 apples, diced
2 pears, diced
2 persimmons, diced
1 cup peaches, sliced
¼ cup Pom Juice
¼ cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon


Put everything in a pot over medium-low heat, bring to a simmer and cover. Let cook for 45 minutes stirring occasionally.

Autumn Granola

Yield: About 24 servings.


4 cups gluten free oats
1 cup shredded coconut
1 cup chopped walnuts
½ cup peanut oil
½ cup agave nectar
1 cup diced dried apricots
1 cup roasted unsalted cashews
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup dried berries
1 cup dried cherries


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Toss oats, shredded coconut and walnuts together in a large bowl. Mix oil and agave together and stir into oat mixture. Spread out evenly on a sheet pan and bake in the oven for 45 minutes or until golden, stirring occasionally.

Remove mixture from oven and mix in remaining ingredients and let cool. Store in an airtight container.

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