I love granola. It’s one of my favorite breakfasts–quick, tasty, and healthy. However, lately I have been paying more attention to the ingredients in my foods and noticed something disturbing: There was a whole lot of sugar and additives in my granola. Was my healthy breakfast actually unhealthy?
You see, this past summer I read quite a few books about food (Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, 100 Days of Real Food, French Kids Eat Everything, and In Defense of Food). Because of this reading, I have begun to make a few simple changes to my diet. I am trying to cut out processed foods, cut down on refined sugars, and eat more organic, local foods. Which leads me back to my granola.
In Lisa Leake’s 100 Days of Real Food, she has 100 different wholesome recipes that use real foods. I found a recipe for homemade granola that I couldn’t wait to try! (You can see this recipe here on her blog 100 Days of Real Food.) When I looked more closely at her recipe, though, I realized that many of the ingredients were quite expensive. Pumpkin seeds, cashews, almonds, and sunflower seeds all in one recipe? That would completely blow my $70 a week food budget.
And so I created my own version of her granola recipe–a more budget-friendly, but equally tasty, one. Enjoy!
Budget-Friendly Homemade Granola
3 1/2 cups of rolled oats (don’t use steel cut, they will stick together)
2 cups of sliced almonds (or whatever nut you can find on sale)
Raisins to taste (we really like raisins, so I included about 1/3 of a canister)
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp salt
6 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup honey
2 tsp vanilla
1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Mix dry ingredients.
3. In small saucepan combine butter and honey. Stir over low heat until melted. Add vanilla.
4. Pour wet ingredients over dry ones. Mix.
5. Use a rubber spatula to spread over baking sheet.
6. Bake 75 minutes.
7. Let cool. Crumble into desired consistency for cereal. Store up to 2 weeks in airtight container.
For those of you budget nerds like me, I thought I would break down the prices and do a cost comparison. Is homemade granola made from real, healthy ingredients comparable to store bought? All prices that I will use are real prices found at our local grocery store in Virginia. Prices may vary in your region. I also did not use organic ingredients, and this will obviously add to your total cost if you choose to use them.
-3 1/2 cup rolled oats ($3.29 for 42 oz. canister. I used less than 1/4.) Cost: $.82
-2 cups sliced almonds ($3.99 for 7 oz. I used 3/4.) Cost: $3.00
*Side note: The nuts are the most expensive part of the recipe, so use what you have. If you live in the South and have pecans coming out your ears, use those! If your store has a sale on cashews, go for it! Strategic shopping can help cut the cost of the granola.
-Raisins ($1.60 for package. I used 1/3.) Cost: $.46
-Spices (cinnamon, ginger, salt, vanilla) (I keep these on hand.) Cost: $.30
-6 Tbsp butter ($3.60 for package w/ 4 sticks. Used less than one stick.) Cost: $.85
-1/2 cup honey ($5 for local honey. It could be cheaper at the grocery store.) Cost: $1
Total Cost: $6.43 for 3 pounds of homemade granola
$2.14 per pound
This seemed like a lot until I realized that I had been paying $4 for 1 pound of store-bought granola. The verdict? Homemade granola is actually cheaper and significantly healthier! For just minimal effort, you can make your own granola for your family to enjoy!
What healthy foods do you make for your family?
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