Monday, September 12, 2011

Almond Coconut Granola

There was a time when I was fervently passionate about my profession. I went to school to be a dietitian*, moved to Toronto, but particular circumstances has slashed my love for nutrition. Some days I feel like it's wringing out all my juices, till nothing but the bitter peel is left, even the pulp is a pile of mush lying neglected and tasteless.

Some days, I just want to throw up my arms in the air and call it quits, discard the title that took me 6 years to achieve. Self doubt kicks in, I wonder whether I am really destined to be a dietitian, then, I wallow at my misfortune that seems to have parked a permanent spot in my life.

But yesterday my dad said something to me that put things in perspective. I'm in my early twenties, this is merely but a minor bump in the road, a small hurdle in my career, I am still a dietitian, I need to be positive and find a way over that towering stone wall. Which is true. So true, sometimes I just need a reminder that my life isn't over. It's also a reminder that my parents are very wise and I love them so.

So to make the world a better place and to numb my cocktail mix of emotions, I made granola.

There's been a nip in the air lately. I grudgingly watched the sun cast a blood red sky across the horizon by 7pm instead of 9pm. Even the leaves have started to shed their emerald green colors in exchange for gold and rusty shades. Folks, autumn is upon us and granola is a brilliant way to welcome the new season.

Store-bought granola, to me, is overly sweet or laden with ingredients that you can't pronounce, but this recipe, from Leite's Culinaria is a just the remedy to satisfy that breakfast crunch.

There's cinnamon and coconut to give the granola flavor and aroma. Roasted almonds are crucial, providing a much needed crisp in each mouthful, I added sunflower seeds to amp up the nuttiness. And finally, dried fruits are a must, they add contrast to the otherwise tedious noshing of hard ingredients. I tweaked the recipe by using less sugar, confident that the quarter cup of honey will suffice.

My favorite kind of recipes are the ones you can easily adjust to suit your tastes or whatever is sitting in your pantry. If you, like me, wanted to make exotic granola using crystallized ginger, but they suddenly disappeared because you used them for this and couldn't help but suck on them as a snack, wincing in its spicy heat, you can use other dried fruits. I used dried blueberries, which aren't my favorite, but dried apricots, raisins, and cranberries would be excellent choices.

I had a generous cup of granola with an equally generous amount of yogurt for breakfast, and I must say, even with the early arrival of fall, I think I'll be ok, as long as I have this to keep me satisfied.

*Disclaimer alert! I am a registered dietitian, but this site was created as a space for me to showcase my love for food and photography and occasionally, lament about life, it is not intended as nutritional advice.

Almond Coconut Granola
Adapted from Sweet Vegan through Leite's Culinaria

4 cups old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1 cup whole raw almonds
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup mild honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups chopped dried fruit

1. Preheat the oven to 300°F (148°C).

2. In a large bowl, mix the oats, coconut, almonds, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon.

3. Heat the oil and honey in a small saucepan over low heat until combined. Pour the honey mixture over the oat mixture, add the vanilla, and stir until combined. Spread the granola on a 9-by-13-inch baking dish or a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

4. Bake the granola, stirring every 10 minutes, until golden and aromatic, 25 to 40 minutes. Stir in the dried fruit and push the granola to one side of the pan to allow the granola to stick together in clusters as it cools. Keep the granola in an airtight container for up to 1 month.


  1. I'm on the diet study(for 15 days...)I hope so good,Love Your breakfast;)

  2. Granola is one of my favorites. There is so much you can do with it and mix with it that can completely transform the flavor. Almonds with coconut I am sure this is a fabulous recipe, how could it not be. Love it <3
    Laura @ A Healthy Jalape├▒o

  3. Monisia, good luck in your studies! I loved school and I miss it so.

    Laura, the versatility of granola makes it so easy and adaptable to your tastes. I love it too!