Monday, January 9, 2012

Homemade Vegan Granola...Spoiling My Family the Healthy Way

photo by Mark Thomas via

OK, I know that you could argue that granola isn't the healthiest breakfast food with all the butter, sugar, and nuts in most recipes but with a few simple substitutions it can be ultra healthy and pack more nutrients than any processed breakfast cereal. It can do you right when you don't have time to make a more involved breakfast. Healthy carbs, fiber, protein...what more could you want?!

Well, after Chris ate the entire bag of Bear Naked granola in one day (Hey- that stuff's expensive!) and since I had a craving for it I decided to try and make my own vegan granola. My requirements were: 1) Easy 2) Contains dates 3) Easy. I came across this recipe which I modified and used Earth Balance margarine and agave syrup and substituted walnuts for cashews. Although, cashews and walnuts I think would be sublime and I will be making many variations of this recipe in the future as it was very easy and lovely.

My 10 year old son and I had a little bowl tonight after it was fresh from the oven. It was awesome and so satisfying! He offered to take some to school for snack- how sweet of him! We talked about all the endless variations of granola we would love to try and make (chocolate, anyone?) and it was a nice experience.

It really made me think about how in most cultures one way to show people you love them is to cook for them. Many times the food we cook is tasty but not altogether nutritious for our loved one's body. It's the thought that counts, yes, but if the food you lovingly prepare for your friends and family is doing damage to their bodies then it seems almost counter-productive not to mention scary.

I love See's candy as much as the next person (maybe more), but I just wouldn't be too excited if someone gave me a box of it because of the effects of that candy on my body.

Now, if someone gave me, say, a jar of homemade, fresh, nutritious, vegan granola that tasted amazing and didn't include a sugar hangover I would be that much more appreciative of the gift. (Although I am not one to ever look a gift horse in the mouth!)

I used to make cookies, cakes, and brownies when I wanted to make a special treat for my family or friends. But if tonight is any example then a batch of fresh vegan granola is definitely a special treat that a mom can feel good about for many reasons.

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