Topped with our just-picked blueberries, this has been my breakfast every morning this week!

I was picking up cereal at the grocery store last week and noticed the commercially available granola. For $3-5 per box, you could get granola with a variety of flavors, with varied ingredients and perhaps even some preservatives thrown in.

Such as Kellogg’s low-fat granola:

Here’s the ingredients list from the entry: “Whole Oats, Brown Sugar, Whole Grain Wheat, Corn Syrup, Rice, Almonds, Modified Corn Starch, Partially Hydrogenated Cottonseed and/or Soybean Oil, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Cinnamon, Salt, Nonfat Dry Milk, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Polyglycerol Esters of Mono- and Diglycerides, Malt Flavor, Niacinamide, Zinc Oxide, Guar Gum, Sodium Ascorbate and Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Reduced Iron, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Vitamin A Palmitate, Folic Acid, Thiamin Hydrochloride (Vitamin B1), Bht (Preservative), Vitamin B12 and Vitamin D.”

High fructose corn syrup and partially hydrogenated oils?  If one is considering granola, one would think they’d be aware of such ingredients and not choose this particular brand.  There are so many others out there…if you had to purchase it.

Even Kashi’s yummy “Cocoa Beach” chocolate granola has “mixed tocopherols” in its ingredients, but at least I could recognize everything else.

It wasn’t too difficult to take a look at what I had available in my pantry and figured I could do this myself without high fructose corn syrup or partially hydrogenated-anything. I had plenty of Quaker’s “Old Fashioned” oats, honey, brown sugar, nuts and raisins that I could use to make granola. Plus a complement of spices such as nutmeg and cinnamon.

I browsed numerous online granola recipes, looking for one that fit the volume I wanted to make, plus the ingredients I had available.

A recipe from Amy at A Little Nosh blog was the winner [link to recipe has since gone dark].  She adapted it from the 100 Days of Real Food blog, which is a wonderful blog about a North Carolina family who succeeded in 100 days of non-processed foods, making everything from scratch.  They then tried an additional 100 days of the same thing on a tight food budget and found out it’s harder than it ought to be.

As for Amy’s recipe, being 2nd on the Google search for “homemade granola” helped her case for being my choice.  All the sweetness came from the honey, and the fat that gives it the richness came from butter instead of oil.  We here prefer the flavor that comes with butter, so this was the recipe we tried out.

I had to make a couple of changes to adapt to the ingredients I had on hand and deal with some of my kids’ tastes:

  1. I used raisins instead of dried cranberries, since I had plenty of raisins on hand already
  2. I omitted the sunflower kernels and pumpkin seeds, my youngest son doesn’t care for seeds
  3. I also omitted the coconut.  None of us care for it too much.

Otherwise, this recipe worked out like a charm and the kids enjoyed snacking on it.  We love the cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg aroma in the house while it’s baking up, as Jacob told me last week, “It smelled like Christmas!”

While Amy claims that she makes a batch and it disappears quickly, we here find granola very filling and we’re still snacking on it and having it for breakfast 5 days later.  After all, the recipe makes 3 pounds or 48 ounces, the equivalent of 3-4 boxes of what’s commercially available.

Cost-wise, I probably used about $1 worth of ingredients (a non-scientific estimate) to produce the same amount you’d have to pay about $15 for in a store.

“Back to Basics” for the win!  Once again!