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Thursday, December 1, 2011

JUST-ABOUT-FAT-FREE HOMEMADE MAPLE-CHERRY-COCONUT GRANOLA

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I'm going to be posting more low-fat or fat-free recipes this month (interspersed with holiday recipes) because DH and I are back on our vegan version of the old WW Core Plan (lost 4 lbs. each last week).  This morning I had a rare craving for granola, so I dug out my old recipe for almost-no-fat granola made in the microwave and tweaked it for my new, more powerful microwave, and also to what flavors I fancied.

A microwave works so well for making small batches of granola without added oil. (Many homemade and commercial versions of granola contain over 3 times the fat grams as this recipe.)  It takes less than 10 minutes all together, so it's no trouble to make a batch when you run out. (Afraid of microwave ovens?)  I also found that this did not make my jaw hurt from chewing so hard, as is the case with some granola cereals I have encountered!  But it could be "chunkier", so I have an idea for overcoming that-- I'll keep you posted.

Half a cup of this cereal with half a banana and some soy milk kept me going all morning!

Want to know the origins of granola?  Here's an interesting history.


BRYANNA’S JUST-ABOUT-FAT-FREE HOMEMADE MAPLE-CHERRY-COCONUT GRANOLA (WITH NUTTY ORANGE-APRICOT-COCONUT VARIATION)
Yield: 4 cups; Servings: 8 
This recipe is adapted from one in my book "The Fiber for Life Cookbook". NOTE: Without fruit, this makes a good nut substitute for low-fat baking.

2 cups    oatmeal (or other rolled whole grain cereal)  
3/4 cup    whole wheat flour, or any other whole grain flour  
1/2 cup    wheat bran, oat bran or rice bran  
1/3 cup    maple syrup  
1/2 teaspoon    cinnamon  
1/4 teaspoon    salt  
1/2 cup    unsweetened desiccated coconut  
1/2 cup    dried tart cherries  
VARIATION: NUTTY ORANGE-APRICOT-COCONUT GRANOLA   
   For the sweetener, use 1/4 cup frozen orange juice concentrate and 2 tablespoons agave nectar  
   Instead of 1/2 cup coconut, use only 3 tablespoons coconut, along with 1/3 cup chopped pecans or other nuts  
   Add 1/2 teaspoon pure orange extract, orange oil or 1 tablespoon grated organic orange zest  
   Instead of the dried cherries, use 1/2 cup chopped dried apricots  
  
NOTE: You need a 2.2 cubic ft. capacity microwave for this recipe. Mine is 1200 watts. If yours is weaker, you may have to cook it in 3 minutes increments instead of 2 minute ones.

Mix all of the ingredients (except the dried fruit) together thoroughly in a medium bowl.


Spread the mixture evenly on baking parchment cut to fit the microwave carousel.



Cook on full power for 2 minutes. Stir gently and spread out evenly again. Cook 2 minutes more, stir gently, and push the granola in the center of the carousel out toward the edges, leaving an empty space in the center of the carousel about 3-4 inches across. The reason for doing this is that the center tends to burn towards the end of cooking. Cook for 2 minutes more.  The mixture should be light golden.

Dump the granola onto a baking sheet with sides and add the dried fruit. Cool completely, stirring once in a while.



When completely cool, store in an airtight container.

  
 Nutrition Facts
Nutrition (per 1/2 cup serving): 220.5 calories; 18% calories from fat; 4.9g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 64.5mg sodium; 213.2mg potassium; 41.7g carbohydrates; 6.3g fiber; 8.6g sugar; 35.5g net carbs; 5.9g protein; 4.0 points. 

Enjoy!

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