Wednesday, October 09, 2013

A Fall Challenge! + granola

I love a good challenge.  So when Megan announced that the Fayetteville Barre3 would be hosting a Barre3 Fall Challenge, I signed up right away. After all, what's more fun than finding a way to incorporate more delicious food and fun exercise into my day?
I love granola with some plain yogurt for breakfast or a snack.

I also promised her that I would post a bit about my experience with this challenge, as well as sharing some recipes and cooking tips.  I'll be posting more about my preparations for the food I'll be eating, but suffice it to say that I'm really excited about the menus that the challenge uses.  They are all gluten free (which rocks, since I have this whole gluten intolerance thing), and they incorporate lots of delicious veggies and seasonal recipes.  In fact, the Barre3 nutritional approach is pretty awesome--it's not about restricting or counting calories or labeling foods good/bad, but about working to incorporate healthier choices and eating food that is flavorful and delightful.

With that in mind, I looked at the meal plan for next week and the associated recipes.  When I saw this peanut butter granola recipe on one of my favorite websites, Food in Jars, I knew I wanted to make it, but bring it more in line with a lower-sugar nutritional profile, since lately I've found anything sweeter than fruit to be almost unbearable (including a banana).

So, using the Favorite Granola Recipe from the Barre3 site and the Food in Jars' recipe, I created my own take that is delicious, not too sweet, but should be satisfying with the amount of nuts and other nutritionally dense elements, which'll keep you from feeling hungry one hour later.  I'm already thinking of trying a pumpkin version for the next batch.

Jenn's Almond Butter and Banana Granola
Serves 8 (~1/2 c servings)

Note: I forgot that dried fruit should be stirred in AFTER baking to prevent it from being too hard to chew.  However, if you forget to read all the directions, you'll be all right.  If you'd rather have it a bit sweeter, up the honey a bit--for me, it has a lot of good flavor without being very sweet, and the dried fruit adds enough for me.

  • 1/3 c. almond butter
  • 1 Tbsp. coconut oil
  • 1-2 Tbsp honey (the end product isn't very sweet with just 1, but I like it).
  • 2 bananas, mashed
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 c. rolled oats
  • 1/2 c. shredded coconut or coconut flakes, unsweetened
  • 1/4 c. sesame seeds
  • 1/2 c. pepitas/pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 c. sunflower seeds (or really, any nuts you have on hand)
  • 1/2 c. raisins
  • 1/2 c. dried cranberries
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a saucepan, heat the almond butter, coconut oil, and honey until melted and liquid.  Add mashed bananas, stir.  Toss in the cinnamon and pinch of salt.

In a large bowl, mix oats, coconut, sesame seeds, pepitas, and sunflower seeds.  Pour the liquid over the oat mixture and stir.  Spread on a cookie sheet.

Bake for about 30 minutes, stirring regularly, until it begins to brown (watch carefully or it will burn). Cool.  Stir in dried fruit and place in an airtight container and NOMNOMNOM.

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