I love this granola. Easy Overnight Granola requires 5 minutes of prep then lets the oven do the rest… while you sleep! In the morning, its fragrant toasty aroma gently wafts through the house- waking you up with its deliciousness. This version is vegan and sweetened with maple syrup and packed full of nuts and seeds healthy proteins to keep us fueled and energized all day long. It also works wonders for a sluggish digestive system. Topped with homemade yogurt and fresh berries, it’s one of may favorite breakfasts. And the best part is, it can be made in large batches and it will keep for weeks.
For this recipe, go to the bulk section of your grocery store and load up on nuts, seeds, oats, and dried fruit. This would be fun project to make with your kids.You can follow this recipe or change it to your own preferences keeping similar proportions.
You can feel change in the air. Not only literally, with cool night temperatures, but with everything. The slow languid pace of summer is gradually being replaced by a mounting frenetic energy. An urgency. Movement. People are driving faster, wrapping up their summer vacations, making lists, buying school supplies, getting binders in order, organizing drawers, scheduling, basically buttoning down the hatches for the mayhem to come. ‘Tis the season I suppose. School has just started and it’s time to get back to business. And just like that, summer is over.
For us though, “summer” is just starting. In the catering business, most weekends May through August are booked with weddings, and summer ends up being a a bit of a blur. September is when we can finally take a breath. It is the month I look forward to every year, not only for its promise of rest, but here in the Northwest, September is stunning.
One thing that helps me through our busy catering season is eating a good hearty breakfast, high in protein. It grounds me, arms me, steadies me for the craziness that inevitably comes. When I skip breakfast, I crumple under the pressure. I become irritable and cranky. By the end of the day I don’t like myself very much. So 44 years later, I am finally learning that breakfast, truly is, the most important meal of the day.
Instead of using oil or butter, try using coconut oil. Not only is it good for you, it has delicious flavor, nutty and sweet, perfect for granola.
Melt the coconut oil in a small sauce pan.
The granola turns out perfectly crispy with just enough sweetness.
For easy access, store in an air tight canister on your counter with a handy scoop and this will keep for a couple months.
If you are interested in making your own homemade yogurt – know that is relatively easy to make. There are lots of ways to make yogurt, but the basic concept is the same. Heat milk to the desired temperature, mix in cultures, usually in the form of plain yogurt containing active live cultures like lactobacillus bulgaricus or streptococcus thermophilus. Keep at a steady temperature for a period of 7-12 hours, so the bacteria has a chance to eat the sugar found in the milk, called lactose. As a result the milk will thicken and produce lactic acid. The lactic acid is what preserves the yogurt and gives it the tangy taste. That’s it. You now have yogurt. A creamy tangy yogurt packed with millions of alive active good bacteria, or probiotics, that aid in the digestion process.
You can make yogurt out of regular store bought pasteurized milk, organic milk, raw milk or even goats milk. Pasteurized milk, the kind you find at the grocery store, is basically milk that has been heated up to 180 F in order to slow the growth of bacteria in milk, which lengthens its shelf life. While this does make it safer by lowering the risk of harmful bacteria, there is growing research that shows that pasteurization changes the chemistry of milk and makes it less digestible. Unpasteurized, or raw milk, is basically milk, fresh from the cow, that hasn’t been treated or heated. If you are curious about the benefits and risks of raw milk, here are a couple good websites that will explain both. Look at this and this.
Here is a list of places in Washington State that sell raw milk. Locally in Spokane you can find it at Lorien’s, the Main Market Co Op, Huckleberries, and my very favorite, Cable Creek Farm in Post Falls.
The first step is to heat milk to desired temperature on the stove top. Here I am using Cable Creek Farm’s fresh raw milk, so I will only heat 110 F to keep the good bacteria that is already in the milk alive. Otherwise, when using pasteurized milk, you would normally heat to 180F. If you are leery, or this is your first time making yogurt, just heat it to 180F. You will feel more confident about the whole process.
Add 3 T yogurt with live cultures. When you add yogurt, make sure to cool the milk down to 110 F. Otherwise you will kill the cultures.You can use any grocery store plain yogurt, or some of your own homemade yogurt. Don’t be tempted to add more than 3-4 T yogurt, or your yogurt may end up sour and runny.
Place in a barely warm oven for 8 hours. You want to keep the temperature steady between 105-110F. I preheat oven on lowest setting for 5 minutes and then turn it off, but leave the light on. I wrap the dutch oven in a towel. In my gas oven, this works, and light and pilot keeps it warm enough. But it may not be warm enough in all ovens. There are many other ways to keep yogurt at a steady temperature like using a heating pad or dehydrator…..see links below.
After 8 hours, strain with a few layers of cheese cloth.
Homemade Yogurt Ingredients:
1/2 gallon milk
3 T unsweetened yogurt from the grocery store with active live cultures ( or yogurt from a previous batch)
Turn oven on lowest setting for 10 minutes. Turn off, but leave light on. If you want all the benefits of raw milk yogurt, remember to heat only to 110 degrees and no higher. This will keep the milks own bacteria alive. Add 3 T yogurt. Resist the temptation to add more, or you will end up with yogurt that is watery and sour. Cover, wrap in a towel and place in the oven with the light on, or the oven on the lowest setting for short periods of time. The light will act as an incubator. You could also place on a heating pad on lowest setting. The idea is to keep yogurt at a steady warmth for a period of 8 hours. If it gets too warm, it will curdle. After 8 hours, strain with a cheese cloth. Store in air tight container in the fridge. If you like sweetened yogurt mix in honey, vanilla, maple, or agave. I like to have sweetened yogurt in smaller batches, keeping my main batch plain.
Here is a an easy tutorial from The Nourished Kitchen
- 2 Cups oats- quick or thick, or a mix
- 1 ½ cups raw nuts ( almonds, pecan, walnuts,hazelnuts)
- ½ cup pumpkin seeds
- ½ cup sunflower seeds
- 1 cup flaked coconut ( big flakes, not grated)
- 1 cup mix of: chia seeds, flax seeds, quinoa, sesame seeds and poppy seeds
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- generous 5 finger pinch salt
- ⅓ cup coconut oil - melted ( or use vegetable or olive oil)
- ⅓ cup real maple syrup - or use honey, rice syrup
- 1 cup dried fruit- cherries: craisins, chopped apricots, raisins
- Preheat oven to the lowest setting, not higher than 200F.
- Combine all ingredients except dried fruit in a big bowl. Taste, and adjust salt and sweetness.
- If mixture seems dry add just enough coconut oil and maple ( in equal portions) to lightly coat all ingredients.
- Spread out on one or two large baking sheets, gently patting down. Place in the oven and bake overnight, about 6-8 hours, then turn oven off and let cool completely. Alternatively bake 4 hours, turn oven off and let them rest in the oven overnight.
- While it is baking resist the temptation to stir. This will give you nice large clumped granola pieces.
- After it has completely cooled, using metal spatula, break granola apart add dried fruit and store in an air tight container. This will last a couple months.