Soaked Pumpkin Granola

Soaked pumpkin granola
The one problem I seem to have in my homemade kitchen is the embarrassing lack of snacks. Store-bought chips, pretzels and crackers are the first things to be eliminated when getting into ‘real food.’ These ultra-processed, highly refined starches have almost zero nutritional value, save the artificial vitamins and minerals that are added in a last ditch effort to make them seem healthy! Natural! Part of a balanced diet! Now, I love Lays potato chips as much as the next guy, but I am not willing to sacrifice my health (nor the health of my children, especially when breastfeeding) for the sake of mindless pleasure. When you first give up processed snacks, you do miss it. You find yourself craving it, actually, salivating for that salty, addictive crunch. But after a while, a funny thing happens- you stop caring. In fact, the idea of it seems kind of gross and if you eat more than a handful (say, at a party when you figure, hey, all things in moderation, right? Only to find yourself licking your finger to get the crumbs at the bottom of the bowl, while other guests give you strange sideways glances. What, just me?) you feel quite sick.

soaked pumpkin granola-001

So what to do when 3:00PM strikes and you get a hankerin’ for something tasty but not too filling? Pumpkin granola! It may not be salty, but it is certainly crunchy and addictive. It’s a little sweeter than your typical granola, and is healthy without being ‘health food.’ Enjoy it with milk, a generous dollop of creamy yogurt (my favorite, especially with frozen wild blueberries), or just by the handful! I seriously love this stuff. The recipe below makes a gigantic double batch, and for two reasons: 1) anything that messes up my kitchen needs to make it count, so why not double your results with half the mess? and 2) This stuff will disappear fast. It’s that good.

soaked pumpkin granola-002

Why soak the oats? Check out this post over at The Nourishing Home. Also, I’ll be posting a ‘What We Eat and Why’ page soon, which will explain a lot the weirdness in my recipes.

 

SOAKED PUMPKIN SPICE GRANOLA

Yields approx. 15 cups

          Depending on the size of your oven and the number of baking sheets you own, this may need to be cooked in batches. I’m okay with this, as it’s basically hands-off time and I enjoy having a huge stash of this in my freezer from one round of dirty dishes. If that isn’t your thing, the recipe is easily halved.

8 cups oats

4 cups filtered water

1 cup yogurt, kefir, or whey

1 cup pumpkin seeds (preferably soaked and dehydrated)

4 cups nuts of choice (preferably soaked and dehydrated)

1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

2 cup pumpkin puree (or 1 15oz can)

4 tsp pumpkin spice (see recipe below)

1 tsp sea salt

1 cup butter or coconut oil

1 cup maple syrup, honey, organic cane sugar, or a combination

Once cooked and cooled:

1-2 cups dried fruit

 

Begin by soaking the oats:

In a huge bowl or stock pot, combine oats, water, and yogurt/kefir/whey. Mix thoroughly and gently pat down the top to ensure all oats are moistened. Cover and let sit for 12-24 hours.

The next day:

Combine the nuts and seeds in your food processor and pulse a few times to chop them up. (This step isn’t necessary, it just creates a more uniform texture.) Add this mixture and the coconut to the oats.

In a medium saucepan set over medium/low heat, combine the rest of the ingredients. Stir until everything is combined. Pour this onto the oat mixture and stir, stir, stir!

Preheat your oven to its lowest temperature, ideally somewhere around 150 degrees. Mine only goes down to 200, but it still works. You are essentially dehydrating the granola, while giving it the slightest hint of toastiness. You could also use a real dehydrator, but I don’t have experience with that, so you’re on your own. 🙂

Line your baking sheets with parchment or silicone baking mats (my preference); see note above. Spread mixture onto your baking sheets, spreading it out evenly and no thicker than a few centimeters.

Bake, occasionally stirring and breaking up big pieces, until crispy. Depending on your oven and temperature, this can take anywhere from 4-24 hours. I know, that is a ridiculous time frame. But remember, it is hands-off time, save for a couple visits to move stuff around.

Remove from the oven and let cool a bit. Now you can mix in your dried fruit and store in an airtight container. I store about 2 quarts on the countertop and freeze the rest, though it disappears so quickly I hardly need to freeze any!

Pumpkin Pie Spice
Forget the store-bought stuff, this is so easy to make and tastes way better!

2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground clove
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Mix thoroughly. Store in airtight container. (I use a 4 ounce canning jar, labelled of course!)

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