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Thursday, April 8, 2010

Surprise Granola

The hubby eats cereal by the boxful and I'm just not about to spend $4 per breakfast for the man to get his fill. Enter "Surprise Granola", a quick-to-make cereal that is awesome! Both the hubby and the 2 year old love it...she'd eat her body weight in granola if I'd let her.

Here we go!

2 cups quick cooking oats
2 cups bran flake cereal
1 cup crushed nuts
1 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup dried fruit
1 cup coconut
1/2 cup honey (or more)
1/4 cup butter
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Grab your antique stoneware shallow mixing bowl, or whatever bowl is clean at the moment! Add your oatmeal. You could even use old fashioned oats if that's all you have, the granola will just be chewier.

Add your bran cereal. Or any cereal really. Even stuff that's a little "past" if you know what I mean. The toasting and other flavors will give it new life! I've even thrown in some aged Rice Krispies just to get them out of the pantry!

If you are like me and are trying desperately to use up all the nuts we got for Christmas, just crack 'em, put 'em in a bag and smash 'em with a hammer. It's good therapy, really!

Add the nuts.

Add the sunflower seeds. Apparently, I was so excited about sunflower seeds, I couldn't keep the camera from shaking!

Ahhhh, dried fruit. In this version, I used half dates and half raisins. Simply because that is what I had on hand. I often use dried cranberries. But use your favorite (or handiest) dried fruit...I think pineapple might be divine!

Now the coconut, a healthy one cup and if more falls out, even better!

Stir gently to combine the large granola molecules.

Pour the mixture into an ungreased baking pan. And lest you think, "Oh my goodness, she doesn't even wash her pans!" This was the second batch of granola and I reused the baking pan. I was going green...

Smooth it evenly with your pasty white, chubby hand. If you don't have one of these, well, good for you. Give me even half a dose of vitamin D and I'll look better, I promise. (On a side note, check out the ring! I got it from a guy I used to date, when he asked me to marry him, in front of my refrigerator....ahhhhhh, I love this ring. And I love my husband.)

This was an experiment. I sprinkled on a bit of cinnamon. If you like cinnamon, give it a shot!

Combine the honey, butter and vanilla. I warmed this batch in the microwave, but you can also use a small saucepan on the stove over low heat.

Pour it gently over as much of the granola as you can.

As much as you are tempted to, DO NOT stir it now. Just put it in the oven. Put down the spoon and put it in the oven! Set your timer for 10 minutes. Why not stir? It puts all the gooey-ness of the honey/butter mixture at the bottom of the pan, not on the granola. I speak from gooey-pan and not-gooey-granola experience.

After 10 minutes, remove the pan and then give in to those stirring desires. Stir gently, just moving the granola from one side to the other, from top to bottom. Return to the oven for another 10 minutes.

After a mere 25 minutes you have more than a standard box of homemade cereal goodness!!

I call this surprise granola because I'm never sure exactly what will end up in it. Sometimes I run out of nuts or coconut, or use more fruit or oats. (I ALWAYS use more honey!) It's very forgiving and delicious!

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