I read somewhere once that the most productive people eat the same thing for breakfast on most days of the week. It’s not clear whether these people are food lovers but clearly, productivity has a lot to do with being laser-focused and starting one’s day with breakfast.
Looking at my own morning meals, I realize that they center on the same things: oats and grains. I’m big on oatmeal made with rolled oats, finished with chopped dates and a dollop of chunky peanut butter. Another favorite is granola. I used to live off the boxed ones until they started getting too sweet for my taste. So I attempt to make my own – with surprising success – and I haven’t bought a box since.
An ingredient common to all granola recipes is oil, usually vegetable or corn. But it’s my dermatologist who makes me see the benefits of coconut oil. In my book, I briefly mention that I suffer from a certain genetic skin illness and I credit my recovery to my doctor’s excellent care and of course, coconut oil.
Coconut oil, which is abundant in our tropical country, is versatile: I use it as a moisturizer, lavish it on my hair as a hot oil treatment, and I cook and bake with it, too. It’s terrific in vinaigrettes, as a frying medium, and I love it in my granola. It’s a healthy oil notably because of its unique composition of fatty acids, specifically lauric acid. It’s this certain component that enhances the immune system through its powerful antiviral and antibacterial effects. I do believe it’s because of this that I’m able to keep my skin illness under control.
In my kitchen, I use Minola Coconut Oil because it retains all the health-giving properties of coconut. I appreciate that the company has partnered with the industry’s leading organizations such as the Philippine Coconut Authority to help promote coconut’s many benefits. And one of the best benefits of coconut is this granola.
Yields about 4 cups
Here’s my granola recipe lush with coconut oil and sweetened with local honey. I snack on this during the day but I love it especially for breakfast – either with milk or sprinkled liberally on toast that’s been slathered with chunky peanut butter. If you want something different, grate half an apple into a bowl of granola, add enough milk and yogurt to your liking, then let soak for about 5 minutes: ta dah, instant muesli! Tailor this recipe to what you like and use whatever ingredients you’ve got on hand; there’s no need to run out to the health foods store or supermarket.
3 cups rolled oats (old fashioned or quick cooking, not instant)
½ cup mixed grains (I use a dry mix from a health food store)
1/4 cup whole flax seeds
1 cup whole or coarsely chopped nuts (use a selection you like. For this recipe, I use pistachios, Brazil nuts, and hazelnuts).
½ cup Minola Coconut Oil
¼ cup honey (use what you like. I always use a local honey. You can also add more honey to taste).
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
½ cup mixed dried fruit (for this recipe, I use chopped dates, jumbo cranberries, and a raisin mix).
Preheat oven to 225°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, toss the oats, grains, flax seeds, and nuts. Add the Minola Coconut Oil followed by the honey, and then the vanilla extract. Sprinkle the cinnamon over all. [At this point, you can dump in the dried fruit but I find that the long, slow bake hardens them so I add them in later.] Combine to coat mixture evenly, using two large rubber spatulas or a large wooden spoon.
Spread the granola mixture out evenly on a baking sheet. Bake until golden brown, about 1½ hours, stirring occasionally so it bakes evenly.
Remove granola from oven, stir in the dried fruit, and let cool on a wire rack; it will harden as it cools. Store in a tightly sealed container at room temperature away from heat and light. Will keep for up to 1 month or freeze for longer storage.