Day 5 in our ChristmasCalendar2019!
Food: Food for the Body
“Oh, what is this? Smells so good! Really, you made it? Oh wow, so nice!”
The reactions I heard last year after giving my homemade Christmas gifts to some of my family members were not far from the lines you just read above. I felt happy, after having put some effort in what I had just offered.
I like the Christmas season, as I believe people take a little more time for each other, to care about each other, to value family time, especially for us who live abroad or far from our families. I believe that in this season people share more time and effort to show that they care. We suddenly have a special reason to meet friends and celebrate the first day of advent with some pepparkakor and glögg, to organise a Christmas dinner with work colleagues or buddies from the KI blog. It is lovely and I wish we would keep this state of sharing throughout the whole year.
Despite this nice atmosphere, December is also a synonym of rushed shopping and crowded shops. But I really don’t like having to find gifts while feeling under pressure and under these conditions. It certainly increases the chances of feeling stressed and buying meaningless things. Therefore, last year, immersed in Christmas spirit, I decided to make my own gifts so they would be more meaningful and environmentally friendly. I thought about something good and tasty, made with all my heart. My choice was: homemade granola.
I started making my own granola at home last year and since then, I can’t appreciate as much those granolas we buy in the supermarket. Homemade granola is very easy to make and its flavour is rich and heart-warming. In addition, since you make it, you know the exact ingredients you use and therefore you know what you are putting on your yogurt (and in your body). And your apartment smells wonderful while you bake it!
I enjoy cooking and baking very much and by making granolas I discovered a new way to explore my creativity as I can experiment with different ingredients and flavours. Granola is basically a mixture of oats with other grains of your choice, for example, buckwheat, mixed with a variety of nuts, seeds and spices. This mixture is then assembled with a viscous or liquid ingredient to bring it to a flaky texture, and then spread on a baking tray and baked in the oven until it becomes golden. It doesn’t sound very difficult to make, right?
So, for last Christmas, I decided to make three versions of my favourite granolas, and carry them in my suitcase to Portugal to offer them to some family members and friends. There, I got some nice glass containers, which were also part of the gift, where I stored the granolas. To make it even more personal and useful, I also hand-wrote the recipe on a nice paper that I attached to the container using a wool string. Those who received the granolas loved the gift and some actually made it afterwards. I was very happy and am already thinking of another baked gift for this year (hmmmm).
I give you here one of my recipes, in case you want to give it a try. I hope this will be the beginning of your creative granola experience and will inspire you to make something yourself to offer this Christmas.
(I use 1 measuring unit of 100 ml, that’s why amounts appear in ml)
400 ml high fibre oats
100 ml sunflower seeds
100 ml pumpkin seeds
100 ml grated coconut
100 ml chopped walnuts
50 ml maple syrup
1 full tablespoon coconut oil
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon cardamom
pinch of sea salt
Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl, then add the maple syrup and coconut oil and mix well to form a homogeneous flaky mixture (you can melt the coconut oil in a pot on the stove prior to mixing to make it easier to blend in). Add a little more syrup if you want it sweeter and more flaky. Spread this mixture on a baking tray previously coated with baking paper. Bake in the oven at 150 C for around 20 min or until golden. Stir halfway through. Let it cool down inside the oven with the door open and store in an airtight container for up to 1 month (the granola must be dry in order to last).
For variations, try adding dried fruits, other types of nuts, cocoa powder, coconut flakes, dark chocolate pieces (after baking), orange or lemon zest…even orange juice instead of maple syrup (honey is a common substitute I use too) – it is all up to your taste and imagination! I also tried replacing half of the oats by whole buckwheat grains (pre-soaked for 30 min) to add more nutritional value and a different texture.
If you become a fan of homemade granola, you can explore many more recipes and tips online – there is a lot out there for granola lovers like us! Maybe you even want to take it a step further? Then try using your granola to bake cookies or bars by mixing it with mashed banana and baking a little more.
Featured Image by <a href=”https://pixabay.com/users/Caproche-1024152/?utm_source=link-attribution&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=image&utm_content=3440204″>Ovidiu Creanga</a> from <a href=”https://pixabay.com/?utm_source=link-attribution&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=image&utm_content=3440204″>Pixabay</a>