Thursday, November 19, 2009

Fruit & Nut Granola

Not only has my obsession with food increased over the years, but so has my addiction to Food Network.  It is my drug or my caffeine, if you will, and I watch (almost) anything and everything I can on the network every chance I get.  I remember starting out as a virgin to the network back in college when Rachael Ray first came out with 30 Minute Meals.  Since then, my love for her has grown tremendously as well as the addition for my love with her counterparts.  Whether it be watching the "greats" themselves such as Paula Deen and Bobby Flay or a fun episode of Food Network Challenge, Chopped, Chefs vs. City....I enjoy them all!

This recipe actually comes from one of the greats, Giada De Laurentiis, and is something I adapted and made for the first time last weekend.  I saw it on one of her episodes of Giada at Home over the summer and remembered it as what appeared to be an easy, tasty and healthy treat to try.  Because we are trying to be a tad bit more healthy in our household, I figured I'd give it a whirl and make it as a snack to munch on throughout the day!  To our delight, this easy-to-make homemade granola was so yummy!  The combination of nuts and dried fruit paired with cinnamon in the background made it a snack that was irresistable.  That being said, we have munched on it all week and it's time to make more!  The recipe below is the original by Giada, however, I made a few of my own changes to it the first go-round (mostly because I didn't have certain ingredients on-hand) and am making additional changes this time as well (I have noted those where appropriate).

Fruit & Nut Granola
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Non-stick cooking spray
1/3 cup maple syrup
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup cranberry juice
1 1/2 Tsp. ground cinnamon
2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup almonds
1/4 Tsp. salt
1 cup dried cranberries

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.

In a small saucepan, combine the maple syrup, brown sugar, cranberry juice, and cinnamon over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the sugar has dissolved. - I have used other versions of cranberry juice (i.e., Cran-Raspberry, Cran-Grape, Cran-Apple, etc.) and it works just the same.

In a medium bowl, mix together the oats, almonds, fruit and salt. - I have used a mixture of dried cranberries, strawberries, blueberries, and cherries and it ended up turning out really good - I would presume any sort of dried fruit would work.

Pour the maple mixture over the oat mixture and stir until combined. Spread the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven. Cool completely. Store in an airtight plastic container or resealable bag for up to 1 week.

Source: Adapted from Giada at Home


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