Things have been mighty cold here since the week before Christmas. What started as inconvenient icy roads and pretty hazardous driving conditions, turned into the worst, and coldest weather that we have seen in about 30 years. Christmas was a very quiet affair as a result. I headed to my parents house on Christmas Eve and didn’t leave until the 27th as the roads were horrid!
New Year was fab, and while the weather was bitterly cold, we spent the weekend with friends in a beautiful little secret of a place called Loop Head, which is the most westerly point in Co. Clare on the west coast of Ireland. While to took us 6 hours to get there, it was well worth it. Good food, lots of wine (a couple of hot whiskeys for medicinal purposes you understand) and great company with good friends helped us ring in what, I hope will be a great New Year.
As we all know, with the new year, comes resolutions, or promises to ourselves that we are going to get healthier, spend more time with family, or get our finances in order (All three for me it seems!) It has been shown that the most common of all resolutions is to lose weight after the madness that is Christmas. Mince pies for breakfast, followed by a turkey and stuffing sandwich for elevenses plays havoc with non elasticated waist bands. Oh… just me then??? Right…
Well the following recipe for Granola, bursting with dried cranberries, blueberries and apricots will make the particular resolution about healthier eating, seem like less of a chore! The ingredients include porridge oats, which are proven to lower cholesterol as well as being a low GI food. If you can, get hold of dried berries that are not infused with sugar. This whacks up the calorie content and makes the granola not as healthy as it could be!
I have adapted a recipe from the Barefoot Contessa (her recipe has cashews which I am not mad about, and cherries which I didn’t have in stock!) I have mine with some natural yoghurt and a tiny sprinkle of cinnamon, but you could enjoy it over some stewed apple or even with milk à la Mr. C. Super easy to make, it stores in an airtight container for about 3 weeks meaning that you always have something sweet to nibble on, avoiding the attack of the goody drawer.
To Make the granola, you will need;
4Cups rolled porridge oats, 2 cups flaked almonds, 2 cups desiccated coconut, 3/4 cup Vegetable Oil, 1/2 cup Honey, 1 1/2 cup dried apricots chopped, 1 1/2 cups dried cranberries, 1 cup dried blueberries
Preheat your oven to 180C. Toss the oats, almonds and coconut in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk the honey and vegetable oil together and pour into the oat mix. Stir unti the oats are all coated. You may need to get your hands into the mix to make sure that they are all coated well. Pour the mix into a large baking sheet and bake until the mix turns a nice even brown. You will need to stir the mixture every 5-10 minutes to make sure no burning. I found that I had to stir about every 7 mins as the edges were starting to burn a little. Once cooked, remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan.
While cooling, combine the apricots, cranberries and blueberries in a bowl, and once the oat mix is completely cool add the fruit and stir well. Store in an airtight container. As I said earlier, the mix will keep for about 3 weeks once airtight.
A couple of tablespoons of granola with a heaped tablespoon of natural yoghurt, and sprinkle of cinnamon certainly kept the nibbles away for the past couple of days while I was snowed in!
So why not brighten up the dreary month that is January and enjoy your detox!!!
PS Just to write it down and seem more real (if that is possible) I will be taking part in the London Marathon on April 26th for a very good cause (more on that later) I have always said that London is my Everest and 2010 is the year that I conquer it… I hope.