On Wednesday, reluctant to turn on the heat despite the cold, I turned on the oven instead. I already had muffins and bread from the previous weekend in the freezer, so I decided to make granola. I first made granola at Quaker youth camp in the 1970s in upstate New York. It was tasty, but loaded with honey and fat, and we made it in such vast quantities that it was years before it occurred to me I could just make the same amount that would be in a cereal box for myself. If you have never done it, or suffer from the same inhibitions I’d suffered from, give yourself a treat and make your own.
Take a few cups of multigrain flakes (or just oat flakes). Throw in any or all of the following: shredded coconut, chopped nuts, flax seeds, sunflower seeds, hemp seed nuts. If you have them in the house, add a handful of wheat germ and/or flax seed meal, a little salt (makes it taste sweeter) and spices if you like (e.g. cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg). Stir in enough of any of the following liquid sweeteners (my favorit is brown rice syrup because it gives the best clumping with the smallest amount), honey, maple syrup, agave, fruit juice concentrate (thaw first) and a little vegetable or nut oil (my favorite is walnut), that the mixture is a pleasing combination of coated flakes and small clusters. (The more sweetener you use and the stickier the sweetener, the bigger the clumps).
Spread mixture on an oiled cookie sheet. Bake for 20-30 minutes at 325-350F. Let the mixture get golden, but not brown (or to taste). Turn and respread mixture once at about the 12-15 minute mark.
When you take the mixture out of the oven, stir in dried fruit of your choice (raisins, currents, dried blueberries or cranberries; dice larger fruits such as dried apricots or apples).
Use combinations of nuts, spices, sweeteners, and fruits that make sense: apple, walnut, maple syrup; brazil nut, coconut, pineapple juice concentrate, nutmeg; cranberry, raisin, walnut. You get the idea. If you like peanuts, blend some peanut butter in with the sweetener and oil before mixing it with the grains.
Why is this recipe not exact? Because it does not need to be exact to come out delicious. Because breakfast cereal is best if it is the way you like it and not the way someone else likes it. (Just like doing your own asana practice at home).
If you have never done it before and are afraid of picking your own proportions and oven temperature, find a couple of recipes on the internet or in a cookbook and then use the recipes as a basis for experimenting.
For muesli, leave out the sweetener and the oil, omit the baking, add the fruit to the flake and nut mixture and then prepare as you like your muesli (soaked or not soaked, with yoghurt or with milk, etc).