Thursday, February 12, 2009

Weekend Brunch

Here is the first of three options for a weekend breakfast. The first is the healthiest of the bunch, so I'll start with the world's greatest granola recipe. I know what you're thinking: Ewell Gibbons died just like everyone else, so you're not going to sit around eating pine cones and tree bark just to go out like he did. Trust me on this one: this isn't the crap you buy from the far end of the cereal aisle.

Mountain Granola, adapted from Colorado Collage, from the Junior League of Denver.

(click the graphic for a close-up view.)

Homemade Granola
8 cups oatmeal
½ cup vegetable or olive oil
½ cup packed brown sugar
1 cup honey
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon salt
1½ cups shelled, unsalted sunflower seeds, toasted
⅔ cup sesame seeds, toasted
1 cup sliced almonds, toasted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread seeds out on a baking sheet and toast in oven for 5–10 minutes, stirring once or twice to avoid burning.
Place oatmeal in large bowl. In a medium saucepan, heat oil, brown sugar, and honey over medium heat, until thin—about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Add vanilla and salt. Pour mixture over oatmeal; add sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, and almonds and toss to combine.
Spread evenly on 2 baking sheets and bake 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes. Serve with yogurt and berries.

(Makes enough for a family of four for about a week. Feel free to cut everything in half if you only want to use one baking sheet.)

For variety, use a little less sunflower and/or sesame seeds and add the difference in pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries, raisins, dried apples, or whatever else. We also usually add a little coconut and a sprinkle of flax seed meal.

I almost forgot to mention: friends of the family used this recipe at the Nebraska State Fair a couple of years ago and took the grand prize in the breakfast category.

For options #2 and #3, continue reading here.

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