Cooler weather has finally arrived which gets me in the mood to cook or bake. I have a confession to make, I eat oatmeal every day. It's one of those foods I grew up eating and love it in any way. I am referring to the Old Fashion Oats which are better and less refined. I have been doing research about eating foods which score low in the glycemic index. These are the foods that have less impact on raising the blood sugar. On the other hand foods with a high glycemic have an effect on the hormone insulin that is released into our bodies. Oatmeal is one of those foods which score low. I am changing some of my eating habits due to the fact that I have a tendency to high triglycerides. This weekend I made a Pumpkin-Almond Granola mix and it turned out pretty good. Even Cliff who never eats oatmeal like it. He put it in a shaker spice jar to keep in the car and snack.
4 cups Old Fashioned Oats
1/2 cup raw sliced almonds
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup agave nectar
1/2 cup canola oil
1 tablespoon Vanilla Extract 1/2 a cup
Dried cranberries or Pomegranates
Combine the 4 first dry ingredients in a large bowl. Mix the last four ingredients. Pour these into the oat mix and distribute well. Spray a cookie sheet or a Pampered Chef large Bar pan with cooking spray. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes. You will need to stir the granola every 10 minutes or so. Watch it towards the end so it does not get too dark and burns. Stir the dried cranberries during the last 5 minutes of the cooking process.
Allow the granola to cool completely and store in a jar. Granola is great by itself or you can use it to add crunch to yogurt or ice cream.
I have been using the Agave nectar instead or regular sugar as a sweetener. Agave nectar is a natural sweetener which also scores low in the glycemic index. Unlike artificial sweeteners it does not have an after taste. It actually does have more calories than regular sugar per tablespoon but since it is so sweet you need less for example to sweeten your coffee or tea. Read more about the benefits of the Agave Nectar here.