You know a cereal monster when you see one. And, you’re kind of looking at one right now. Yes, yours truly. Cereal was my favorite thing to eat every single morning. It was easy, affordable and required minimal effort on my part. Growing up in the 90’s- I had a few sugar-laden favorites: Life, Cookie Crisp; the infamous Count Chocula & Lucky Charms. I went into my teenage years looking for cereals that read “bran” or “muesli” or had that conspicuous “K” as part of their health-oriented naming convention. I would eat them and be hungry 2 hours later; unable to understand why. It’s only now, 15 years later that am able to understand I was not fuelling with nourishing food, I was merely eating food products with a lot of not-so-simple or natural ingredients. There is a stark difference between the two.
So here I am collaborating with one of my blogger besties: The Nutritious Princess to bring you not 1, but 4 Easy DIY Cereal Ideas that are going to a) change the way you eat cereal b) change the way you feel after eating said cereal. Because friends, it’s all in the ingredients. Like I mean, ALL. I am contributing two cereals to this post; both granola based, both homemade. The first one is the recipe on this post. The second is a wonderful accident. My No-Bake Granola Bars crumbled on top of a yogurt bowl with the most plump + juicy side of wild blueberries. A single recipe that can be enjoyed two ways; either as granola bars to-go or as granola itself when crumbled.
And Sarah brings her life-changing Healthy Cocoa Puffs Cereal & her NEW (and equally amazing) Banana Bread Granola. Her cocoa puff cereal has taken Instagram by storm and I see dozens of remakes of this deliciously healthy alternative of the childhood classic. And, what’s not to love about Banana Bread Granola- I mean, Ba-na-na Bread.
The second recipe is the long awaited one on the Chunky Monkey Granola I shared on Instagram a few weeks ago. It has apples, bananas, dates, almond butter, pepitas, hemp hearts & a pinch of cinnamon and vanilla. This one actually involves baking and pressing down on the pan to create a thick & tightly-packed granola layer. When the baking tray is out of the oven and cools down, rather than crumble the granola I break into chunks. Large, sizeable, chewy chunks. Can I just say: HEAVEN in a plate?! Too good for words, too good to share. So I suggest you make a lot of it.
Also, if you’re looking for cool + fun DIY gifts for friends or family whether it’s a holiday or someone you know just had a baby or moved into a new place; I highly recommend this chunky granola in a cute little jar with a rustic ribbon around it. It will be very much appreciated and well enjoyed, I can assure you!
Chunky Monkey Granola
- 2 plus 3/4 cups of oats (not quick oats, I use old-fashioned rolled oats)
- 1/2 cup of raw or roasted chopped almonds
- 1/3 cup of raw or roasted pepitas or pumpkin seeds
- 1/3 cup finely chopped medjool dates (pitted)
- 1/3 cup chopped dry banana chips
- 1/2 cup of chopped dried apple rings (I get the sulphite free ones)
- 2 tbsp of coconut oil
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup of organic almond butter
- 1/4 tsp of sea salt (tip: if you use roasted, salted nuts- you don’t need to add sea salt)
- 1/4 tsp of ground cinnamon
- 1/3 cup of pure maple syrup (you could also use honey, coconut nectar, date syrup, or raw agave) For sweeter granola: use 1/2 cup
- Instead of chopped almonds you can use walnuts or pecans
- Instead of chopped medjool dates you can use raisins or cranberries
- Instead of apple rings you can use dried apricot or mulberries
- Instead of almond butter you could use peanut or sunflower butter
- Preheat your oven to 325 F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper (if you only have 1 baking sheet, you’ll have to do a second batch)
- In a large bowl, combine your dry ingredients
- In a small sauce pan on low heat, warm up the almond butter & coconut oil until melted. Add the pure vanilla extract & your unrefined sweetener of choice & stir. I used date syrup.
- Pour wet ingredients onto the dry ingredient bowl. Use clean hands or a large wooden spoon to give it a good toss.
- The mixture is enough to cover one baking sheet entirely and almost a second one. The granola must be spread evenly on both sheets and I like to press down with clean hands. I don’t stir the granola once it’s in the oven, I like to end up with chunky clusters.
- Bake at this low temp for about 30 minutes, always remembering to rotate the sheet halfway through. Once the granola starts turning a nice, golden brown- it’s time. Depending on your oven, this could take up to 40 mins.
- Allow the granola to cool completely and then you can break it into clusters. Once it’s broken down into clusters, it’s ready to eat, jar, gift or gorge. You decide. Incredibly delish!