Friday, 30 September 2016

Spiced Apple Gluten Free Granola



For as long as I can remember I have suffered with chronic stomach issues. Now, i'm not talking cramps or bloating...I am talking about within seconds of taking a bite of toast, a bubbling sensation in my stomach and sheer terror creeping over me as I dash to the bathroom knowing i'll be stuck there for no less than an hour and then will be rushing back every 30 mins for the rest of the day, in agony... feeling SO unbelievably poorly.
It is NOT pretty and has caused me many an issue over the years! Anxiety to travel, to eat out, be somewhere new, not knowing where the quickest exit to the ladies was... Just being around people in general when food was involved caused me far too much worry. Having to excuse yourself that many times, for that length of time does not go unnoticed!
About a year ago I was literally so sick and tired of being sick and tired of these horrible episodes. No matter how much I loved croissants and pizza I was going to have to make a change and fast!



Gluten Free was a term I feared, dreaded and above all did not want to associate myself with. However, I finally came to realise this may be the only trick to getting me well again and so...begrudgingly I stepped away from the pasta, put down the bread and banished the pastries!
Since making this change, my stomach issues have disappeared and actually...since having no choice but to cut out all those naughty favourites of mine, it has done wonders for my figure... which is another silver lining! It has given me a sense of achievement and has really made me re-evaluate my lifestyle to become a healthier and overall happier person!
So this now brings me to my new, exciting challenge...finding ways to create my own healthy recipes, that are cost effective (as unfortunately GF doesn't come without a price!), that are easy to make and totally delicious!
So here we have my new favourite recipe - Spiced apple and strawberry granola! Totally GF, and it also by coincidence is also dairy free and vegan! Hooooray!
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So...Here is what you are gonna need! (All ingredients can be found in Tesco or any other large supermarket eg. Sainburys, Asda or Waitrose)
About 3 large heaped tablespoons of pure coconut oil
365g of GF oats
200g of mixed seeds - Mine had pumpkin, sesame, sunflower and golden linseed.
200g of mixed nuts - Mine had almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts and cashews.
210ml of Pure maple syrup
100g of baked apples
40g of Urban fruit baked strawberries
1.5 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspon of fine sea salt
Main Appliances -
Preheat oven to 200 oc (I used an AGA in the baking oven which is roughly that temp)
Measuring scales
Chopping board
A large mixing bowl
Large baking tray
Parchment paper
Rolling pin
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First things first... if you need to, preheat your oven!
Then line your large baking tray with baking parchment, make sure it is enough to cover the sides of the tray.
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I had already measured out the most of my ingredients for this recipe, I was just weighing out a couple things to be sure of the amounts needed.
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You can do this stage at a time, I just like to be ready to whip everything together nice and quick. Plus it does make for a pretty picture!
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Start by adding your oats first to a large mixing bowl.
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The next step is to put 2/3 of the whole nuts into a freezer bag and seal them up tight.
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Here comes the fun part...Take a rolling pin and batter those nuts until they are all broken into lovely little pieces. This is great for de-stressing...take whatever or whoever is causing you tension and beat that negativity out of your system!
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As you can see here it does wonders for the soul...LOOK at that smile!
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This is what you want to end up with, a mixture of broken bits that will help bind your delicious granola chunks together!
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Now add that nutty mix in with your GF oats.
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Then add the whole nuts you set aside earlier.
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Now get those seeds into the mix...
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Ooo look at all that Autumny coloured goodness!
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Now it is time to get those tropical icebergs melted to start the real mixing process!
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It can be quite a messy affair but certainly worth it...Plus coconut oil is amazing for the skin and has lots of other health benefits, so no hand washing needed!
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Pop that into a bowl (or in my case teacup) and get it in the microwave until its totally melted. Then I simply top the melted oil up with it's sugary partner in crime...the maple!
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Now you are ready to bathe all your dry ingredients in this wickedly delicious concoction.
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This is where to hard work comes in! Get those arms to work and mix it all together so everything is coated.
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This is where I like to SPICE UP YOUR LIFE...I'm not even sorry!
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Dust over your 1.5 teaspoons of ground cinnamon to give this granola some serious spice!
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and just a pinch of salt (don't be afraid) it really compliments the rest of the flavours.
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Once you have blended those together with the rest of the mix, start getting it onto the already lined baking tray.
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Watch all that glorious mix cascade onto the tray...Mmmmmmm.
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Take your spatula and spread it out across the tray so that it bakes nice and evenly in the oven.
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Now pop it into your oven for about 35 minutes... I'd check every 15 mins just to make sure it isn't burning and to turn the tray around to ensure it bakes evenly too.
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Now you have 35 minutes to make a cuppa and relax...Or you could clean up... and get caught licking the spatula...Ooopsies!
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35 minutes has been and gone and your whole house should now smell like Christmas. You should also be presented with a sheet of golden brown granola too!
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Pop your tray somewhere safe to cool with a tea towel over the top and start prepping your dried fruits. You can use as many or as little dried fruits as you like! I personally love the sweetness of the strawberries and the tang of the baked apples.
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I never bake them into the mix because those wee buggers will break all your teeth...and that is certainly something I could do without!
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Once your mix is cool, start breaking them into pieces and crush them between your fingers so you have the perfect mix of clusters and flakes.
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Then scatter your fruits on top of this glorious granola mountain!
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Finally, find something to store this in. I LOVE using Kilner jars as I like to see all my treats! I also had a freezer bag for the surplus to top up my jar when needed.
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Note - Try not to cover your mums whole house with a trail of granola...This ain't no Hansel and Gretel story!
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Hoooray! Now you have your very own batch to use however you like.
Here are some ideas -
I have mine sprinkled over Total greek yogurt with fresh berries and a drizzle of greek honey.
Sometimes I have it with skimmed milk and a chopped banana.
Other times I keep a pot on my desk and just graze on it as it comes.
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I also took the liberty of doing the calorie counting for you too...You are welcome!
So this mix works out at 25 portions if you measure out roughly 45-47 grams per portion (which is more than enough!) and comes in at a healthy 208 calories.
This granola is sweet with the maple but I have made it will lots of other healthy ingredients to compensate for that!
This is a slow releaser of energy and keeps me fuller for longer and keeps my naughty cravings to snack at bay!
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I really hope you enjoy this as much as I do, let me know if you make it too!
Bon app├ętit!
Cat x
*Special thanks to my sister Kirstie who helped me photograph this recipe...You da bomb!*
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