I’m writing to you from what appears to be the North Pole. The snow banks in the town are well over my head, and if I attempted to walk throughout my lawn, I’m guessing that the snow would be about knee-height. Nova Scotia has gotten pummeled with snow the past couple of weeks and Mother Nature doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon. Luckily for you, the wind chill is convincing me to stay indoors in my cozy kitchen. I’ve got a few special recipes coming up in the near future to share with you, but today I thought I would keep it simple.
But, before I forget! I gave the space a little bit of a makeover yesterday while I was (literally) snowed indoors. What do you think? How can this space be more accessible to you, and what improvements would you like to see? I am always up for suggestions and want this blog to grow with me and my readers!
Now, on to the recipe!
This past fall I discovered that I’m very intolerant to oats. For about half a year I struggled with extreme stomach pain every single day – the kind of stomach pain where real pants = not happening. Unfortunately, real pants needed to happen given that I had a job in a cafe and was working 8-10 hour shifts. Once I finally pinned down that the culprit was oats, and after I was finished sooking about it (morning oatmeal, granola, oatmeal cookies, GONE!?), I knew I needed to find a granola replacement and FAST.
One downside to the homemade granola containing oats that I made before, was that it never seemed to get crunchy or cluster-y. I don’t want my granola to be too sweet, I just want crunch. This buckwheat granola that I’m sharing with you today provides everything that regular granola does, and more. It naturally crunches without adding a ton of oil, it clusters beautifully without a pile of sugar, and it has a great toasty flavour. I’ve been making this very same granola now since the fall, and this large batch is gone within a week, every week! (just between my father and I!). Use it just as you would regular granola, even as a cereal!
As you will likely guess, this “recipe” is more of a ratio guideline than it is a set-in-stone recipe; it is totally adaptable to your taste. If you have never heard of buckwheat, it is a grain that does not actually come from wheat – it is closely related to rhubarb! It has a ton of nutritional benefits that I won’t bore you with here, but you should definitely check it out!
Instead of buying buckwheat at the regular grocery store, I buy it in large amounts at the bulk food store – even the organic variety is incredibly cheap! In fact, it is around the same price as oats. This is a great tip for many products, like flours, sugars, spices and dried fruit. I rarely buy these things at the grocery store because the prices are pushed waaayyyyy up, simply for packaging!
If you, too, are intolerant to oats, or maybe are just bored with store-bought (and OVER-PRICED!) granola, give this one a go!!
Our Favorite Granola: Carob Buckwheat
(makes 4-5 cups)
- 2 cups raw buckwheat groats
- 1 1/2 cup nuts, chopped (we like cashews, almonds, and hazelnuts!)
- 1 1/2 cup dried fruit (we use thompson raisins, dried cranberries and goji berries!)
- 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- 2 heaping tbsp coconut oil, melted
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup or honey
- 1 1/2 tbsp carob powder (or cacao/cocoa, but you may need to add more sweetener)
- 1 tbsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract
- 1 tsp kosher salt
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, combine buckwheat, chopped nuts, (all or only part of) shredded coconut (I like a mixture of baked and raw), carob powder, cinnamon and salt. Do not add dried fruit at this stage or they will burn and harden while cooking!
3. Melt coconut oil and mix with maple syrup and vanilla bean paste/extract. Mix into the dry ingredients thoroughly. Spread mixture on baking sheet evenly and bake for 20-25 minutes, until buckwheat is only slightly golden in colour. NOTE: If you want your granola to cluster, DO NOT STIR IT WHILE BAKING. It will not burn (the edges may brown a bit more than the middle, but that’s okay!). Allow to bake completely AND cool completely on a cooling rack without touching it. If you want the granola to be lose, go ahead and stir as much as your little heart desires.
4. Once granola has completely cooled, break it apart into small-ish clusters and mix in remaining coconut (if any) and dried fruit. Store in refrigerator. +++ I have never had this granola “go bad” on me while kept in the refrigerator (up to 2 1/2 weeks), though I cannot guarantee it will stay as fresh when kept at room temperature. As well, I feel that it would soften and be stickier when kept out.