I'm a total creature of habit, which leads to serious food ruts.
All winter and spring, I ate oatmeal for breakfast everyday. As the weather warmed up, I transitioned to yogurt and a granola bar. Sometimes I got wild and stirred extra fruit into my yogurt. (I hear you all hollering in unison, "Don't get too crazy now, Erin!" Don't you worry. I'll hold myself back.)
Surprisingly, I got a little bored with my meal routine. So I made granola to stir into my yogurt. Because adding granola to yogurt is so much different than having a granola bar on the side with your yogurt.
I guess I'm not such a wild child after all. Sigh.
Tropical Almond Granola with Chia Seeds
Adapted from this Low-Fat Granola recipe
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/3 cup agave*
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
4 cups old-fashioned oats
3/4 cup sliced almonds**
1/4 cup chia seeds (optional)
1/2 cup chopped dried mangos
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup roasted coconut chips***
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. In a large bowl, stir together oil, agave, salt, vanilla extract, and almond extract. Add oats and stir until everything is evenly coated.
Spread the oats on a very large baking sheet so they are in a thin layer. (If you don't have a very large baking sheet, use two or three smaller ones.) Bake for 10 minutes.
Stir almonds and chia seeds into the oat mixture. Bake for an additional 10-15 minutes until granola is golden, crisp, and toasty smelling, stirring 2-3 times to make sure it bakes evenly. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
Once granola is cooled, stir in dried mangos, dried cranberries, and coconut chips. Store in an airtight container for up to four weeks.
*Don't have agave? No worries. Just substitute maple syrup or honey.
**I would wager that macadamia nuts would be fan-flippin'-tastic in this granola. I almost used them, but they were way more expensive than almonds. If you're in the mood for a splurge, give macadamia nuts a try.
***I bought roasted coconut chips at Trader Joe's. They were delish! If you don't have roasted coconut chips, you could substitute regular shredded coconut. Just stir it in for the last 5-10 minutes of baking so it doesn't burn. (This is no paid advertisement for Trader Joe's. Just an opinion on a product I thought I'd try because it was a really hot day and Danny and I needed an indoor errand to do, and Trader Joe's seemed like just the ticket.)
****I'm sorry for all of the asterisks in this recipe. If you've made it this far into the footnotes, congratulations. You get blog bonus points. You can redeem them for...uhhh...well, nothing. But thanks for reading!