On Christmas morning, my house is insane. I have a 6 year old, a 5 year old and a 2 year old. I am sure that you can imagine the scene. You can find us knee deep in wrapping paper and wiping the sleep out of our eyes by 6:30am at the latest. I am not a huge breakfast eater, but I do want to have a nice breakfast to celebrate Christmas morning. Sometimes I make a coffee cake the night before, or bake off cinnamon rolls the morning of, or have nice granola waiting for us for when we are ready to eat. I like the granola idea because I do not feel as guilty about starting the day with it as I would a cinnamon roll drenched in frosting. I am not one to say no to indulgence on a holiday, but Christmas is a very long day and frankly, we need to pace ourselves.
This granola is really easy to make and really adaptable. Use whatever fruits and nuts you have in your pantry. I like blueberries and walnuts the best, but I also like to make a pumpkin spice one, and sometimes just plain with sliced almonds. I wanted to use cherries and pepitas not only because they taste wonderful, but because they are Christmasy in color as well. I like to have this granola in the house at all times because when I am craving something sweet (which is always) I can have a handful and my craving is gone, and it is better for me than a cookie.
Make a double batch and give them as gifts. Then someone else that you love can have a healthy Christmas morning breakfast too.
4 cups oats (preferably not quick cooking, but that is what I had, I also prefer Irish Oatmeal)
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
1/3 cup honey
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/4 cup pepitas
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/3 cup dried cherries (I have some dried strawberries in here as well, I was trying to use up some of the other dried fruit in my pantry)
In a large bowl, (it needs to be pretty big, as you are going to be tossing this) combine the oats, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, nuts, and coconut.
In another bowl, combine the oil, honey, and vanilla.
Pour the liquids into the oats and toss well.
Spread the granola out on a parchment lined baking sheet. You clump it up at this point if you like. I like chunks of granola so I leave big globs on the parchment.
Bake the granola in a preheated 300 degree oven for about 40 minutes. Every 10 minutes or so, give it a stir. You want the granola to dry out and the nuts to toast.
Add the dried fruit to the pan and stir it in. Let the granola cool and keep in an airtight container for a week up to 10 days.
Put the granola into a bowl and pour in some milk. If you are feeling really fancy, add some fresh fruit. Or sprinkle the granola over yogurt. Christmas breakfast is served.
And how cute does it look all wrapped up? It even has bells on.