Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Clean Eating #17: Inexpensive Crock Pot Granola, a fantastic snack or lunchbox food!

Crockpot Granola

A year or so ago, I found this blog where a woman made it her goal to cook something new in her crockpot every day.  It not only inspired my own blog, but it is full of some awesome, amazing recipes.  Including Crockpot Granola.  That's what began our love of homemade granola.  Cooking it in the crockpot almost ensures you don't burn it.  Almost!  You have to keep an eye on it and stir it occasionally, but it is a LOT easier than trying to not burn it in the oven.

Here is what our granola has become (And we vary it a lot, I'll post variations below):
Amount varies depending on my mood:
Pretty much just filled my 6 quart crock with varying amounts of the following:
Old Fashioned Oats
Puffed Millet (I got it at Akins, our healthfood store for cheap)
Kamut Puffs (again, an inexpensive grain I got in the cereal aisle at Akins)
Sliced Almonds (my preferred nut in general)
Sesame Seeds
Then I sprinkled almost 1/4th - 1/2 a box of Wheat Germ
2ish tablespoons of Cinnamon
1/2ish cup of Hershey's Cocoa
1 to 2 cups Agave Nectar
1/2 cup Ideal Brown Sugar Xylitol

Cook on high in your crockpot for a couple of hours, stirring occasionally. to keep it from burning.

I usually don't make our granola sweet because we generally eat it with nut butter dip & apples *pictured above, which, in my opinion are already plenty sweet)

Once its done, you can add dried fruits.
You can add grain sweetened chocolate chips while its cooking to help it clump together more, but that makes it more of a treat, so don't gobble down a bunch of that kind.
Protein powder
Nuts, seeds, milled flax
It isn't as "chunky" as storebought granola because there isn't as much sugar.  Adding more honey/agave nectar, nut butters or coconut oil will help it clump a little more.

Brands I have found that I really really love:
Ideal Brown No Calorie Sweetener
Arrowhead Mills Whole Grain Puffed Millet Cereal, 6-Ounce Bags (Pack of 12)
Hodgson Mill has been the best priced pastry flour I can find.  If anyone has another source that is cheaper, please let me know!  We use a lot and I'm not growing any money trees around here!
Whole Wheat Pastry Flour I also need a cheaper source of grain sweetened chips.  Thos things were so expensive.  I think in the future, I'll just use a good quality chocolate bar and grate it into treats for the kids, for a not quite clean eating treat.