Heart Healthy Holiday Gift Ideaby Elise Museles
It can be a real challenge to get everything crossed off your list this time of year. During this gift giving season I know how easy it is to be less mindful about health and nutrition. When we want to show some token of appreciation, it is often more convenient to give a box of chocolates. (You know I love chocolate, but unfortunately, the kind that usually comes in boxes is not the dark antioxidant rich variety.) So, how do we give a gift that is both thoughtful and healthy?
This year, I am making my Heart Healthy Holiday Granola and scattering my homemade treat all over the city. It really is super simple to make, and people love to receive something with a hint of health this time of year. Plus, it just feels good to give.
This groovin’ granola is a definite favorite of mine because it is both flavorful and nutrient-dense. To minimize harmful free radicals caused by the extra stress the holidays can bring on, I always like to add some awesome antioxidant rich superfoods like goji berries, dried blueberries and cranberries. Granola is also an excellent source of fiber and healthy fats, which help balance your blood sugar and reduce cravings for less optimal choices. The combination of cinnamon, coconut, roasted oats, nuts and seeds smell heavenly while baking in the oven.
HEART HEALTHY HOLIDAY GRANOLA
*Fills 6 pint size mason jars
6 cups organic old-fashioned oatmeal
2 cups nuts and seeds (walnuts, sliced almonds, sunflower seeds)
1/4 cup coconut sugar
1/2 cup unsulphured shredded coconut
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/3 cup maple syrup
3 tablespoons coconut oil or grapeseed oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup unsweetened and unsulfured dried fruit (goji berries, cranberries, blueberries)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Put oats, coconut, cinnamon, salt, coconut sugar and nuts in a big bowl. Pour maple syrup, pure vanilla extract and oil over all the ingredients. Coat evenly by mixing with a spoon. Spread mixture onto two un-greased baking sheets. Put in oven for 35 minutes, stirring after 20 minutes. Since ovens may vary, check often as granola can burn easily. Once evenly browned (about 35 minutes total baking time), remove from oven. Let cool completely. Sprinkle the vibrant and colorful dried fruit onto the granola and mix. Then fill mason jars with the healthy holiday treat!
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