Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Cashew Summer Granola

I don't know about you, but in the summer I like to take off for a few days from the city and be in the woods, or on the river in a canoe or anywhere out up in the "great north". There is something therapeutic about being in the wide open wilderness and not having to be anywhere without a care in the world. It is nice to just listen to the wind, the birds in the trees and breathe in some fresh air. Ahhh, I can feel the nerves relaxing already! That is what I am planning for this coming weekend, to get away from the busy-ness and find beauty in the great outdoors! 

Yes, it is nice, but what about lunch? What could we bring to snack on...it is also nice to have some easy hiking and camping foods I guess. I do love to be outdoors and be out in nature, but it does make it a bit difficult if you like to eat homemade cooked foods as well. Eating healthy sometimes can seem like it cannot be convenient too.. But I have discovered that it can be easier if you have a plan in place. If you have some easy nutritious recipes for packing some picnic-like foods and try to plan ahead of time. 

One of those great snacking recipes is a good granola. I have another recipe I like to make, but I made this new one up for some summer hiking fun. Granola can serve as a good breakfast when camping or a good energy food when you're on a canoe without a cooler. This weekend is a holiday weekend and I am planning on being away up north, camping and boating.... so what a better time to make a big batch of granola for breakfast and snacking...so here it is...

4 cups of certified gluten-free rolled oats (I use Bob's Red Mill brand)
2 cups of raw chopped or crushed cashews 
1 cup of sunflower seeds (sea salted or raw)
1 cup of pumpkin seeds ( sea salted or raw)
2 cups of golden raisins (or add only one cup and another cup of craisins)
1/2 cup of local maple syrup 
1/4 cup of black strap molasses
1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil (cold-pressed and unrefined if possible)
2 TB of ground cinnamon

Hand mix all the ingredients, or use a spoon or spatula to make sure you got everything covered in the wet ingredients.

Pour out the mixture on a parchment papered 12x18 baking sheet.

Bake in a 375 degree oven for 30 minutes and let cool 15-20 minutes so that it can get crunchy and crispy before you break up into pieces. It will be soft and chewy when you pull from the oven, but when you let it cool it will be crunchy and movable into portable containers. I store mine in a large glass container at home, or for the go I put in heavy duty zip lock bags or easy to go containers. Easy, right?! Now that you made a huge batch of granola you will have plenty to nibble on in the car ride, and still enough for hiking and more. 
Some other ideas of packing some healthy snacks:
*homemade hummus with chopped veggies (previous post)
*homemade trail mix (raisins, nuts, seeds, and other dried fruits, as a treat add some dark chocolate nibs)
*chopped carrots and celery to dip in hummus or a nut butter (sunflower seed butter is my favorite with celery)
*make homemade organic popcorn before you leave and put into portable containers
* dried or dehydrated apples

Enjoy and have a beautiful holiday weekend, 
I hope you are able to relax and enjoy nature. 
Much love to you today!

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