Okay, okay, I know I’m a little late to the party on a Valentines post, but if I told you that I’ve got THE MOST DELICIOUS healthy granola recipe for you, will all be forgiven?
I absolutely LOVE Valentines Day, and it’s not because I’m someone that’s accustomed to receiving large bunches of flowers and jewellery. No siree. It’s because I believe in celebrating as many things in life as possible! I make cards and gifts for friends, nieces and nephews and of course I always come up with a little plan for The Boy Next Door.
Speaking of TBND, he returned from a work trip to USA the day before, and hidden in his suitcase was a Valentines package of pure happiness with my name on it. So much better than jewellery or flowers, was a bag with the words Williams-Sonoma printed on it.
Only my favourite kitchen store in the entire world and therefore a Valentines gift that could not be more perfect. So let’s see what I got…
Sriracha rub, hello! We are obsessed with sriracha hot sauce, so this rub could not be more perfect. And I’m pretty sure The Boy Next Door worked out this was a win-win situation for both him and I, if he bought this, he’d also get to trial it.
Another hot sauce so close to our hearts! Chipotle! I feel a Mexican themed dinner in the pipeline.
And to balance out the savoury with something a little sweet, was this A-MAZ-ING maple syrup. With Cinnamon. Died and gone to heaven. Yes, another obsession of ours is maple syrup. We put it on everything. Yoghurt, fruit, pancakes, bacon. And I can confirm that it is sooo good!
I’d also been going on a lot lately that I absolutely NEEDED a syrup dispenser. Basically because they’re adorable and for no other reason. My cinnamon infused maple syrup will be perfect in this. Who’s coming over for pancakes?
I already have some personalised baking spoons from Williams-Sonoma, so TBND got me this Be Mine spatula to match the rest of my set.
And then there were the mini iced cookies. Tiny little hearts of sugary goodness, I’ve had to put them WAAAAY up high on a cupboard shelf to avoid nibbling at these little guys every five minutes.
So that was my Valentines Loot, and I could not be happier.
I’d been brainstorming over various ideas of what I should do for TBND. He’s not one for going out for dinner and holding hands over a candlelit table on V Day, so I wanted to come up with something low key yet something I knew he’d love.
The answer was Food. It is the way to both of our hearts.
TBND had been requesting for some time that I make some homemade granola, but I never seemed to quite get around to it. A Valentines breakfast was the perfect reason to make some and that is exactly what I did.
This healthy granola recipe came about when I was following a recipe for granola bars, that simply failed to stick together after baking. Instead of throwing out the bar failures, I crumbled everything up, popped it in a jar and my healthy granola recipe was created.
Being Valentines Day, I wanted it to look at least a little bit special, and so I decided to package up the granola in clear resealable bags and use my Dymo label maker to rename it the Valentines Day appropriate ‘Love Crunch’.
It’s so damn easy to make, you’ll wonder why you ever bought it in store. And the cool thing about it is that you can customise it to your personal taste. Different fruits, nuts and seeds, depending on what you prefer.
Healthy Granola Recipe
Makes a lot.
*Use the measurements as a general guideline, but soon enough you’ll be throwing ingredients in willy nilly, and it will turn out just as well!
1 cup rolled oats (I use gluten free)
1 cup sugar free rice krispies
1/2 cup dried, unsweetened cherries (or any dried fruit of your choice)
1/2 cup 70% minimum chocolate broken into tiny pieces
1/2 cup chopped nuts
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 cup maple syrup (the real stuff! please don’t buy the flavoured type!)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup sugar free peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 150 °C
In a large bowl, mix together the oats, rice krispies, half of the dried fruit, chocolate pieces, nuts, coconut, cinnamon and ginger.
In a small microwave safe bowl, pour in the maple syrup, olive oil, peanut butter and vanilla extract and heat in the microwave for 45 seconds. Remove and stir to combine.
Pour the maple syrup mixture into the oats mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until thoroughly combined.
Line a large rectangular baking dish with baking paper and pour your granola mix into the dish, spreading it out evenly.
Bake for 30-40 minutes, until golden brown. To make sure the granola doesn’t burn, check it every 10 minutes, and turn it over with a spoon so it bakes evenly.
The granola will still be slightly soft when you remove it from the oven, so allow it to cool.
Once cooled, add the remaining half of dried fruit and place your granola in an air tight jar, ready for breakfast!
We ate our Love Crunch granola with super thick plain yoghurt, frozen berries and maple syrup. Our favourite way to eat it! And you’ll spot little jelly shaped hearts in the photo’s of the granola, as I wanted to make it Valentines themed, so I added some Pomegranate Jelly Hearts from Wholefoods.
I followed up the Love Crunch with smashed avocado and eggs on granary toast, and we drank cold pressed vegetable juice and coffee. Valentines Day breakfast was a success!
We spent Valentines Day evening having an impromptu dinner date for four, which seems to be becoming a bit of a habit for us. Last year’s Valentines was also spent double dating at Bar Boulud, read about it and see what we ate!
A home cooked dinner with friends, Green Thai Curry was on the menu.
We even had candles. Tres romantique!
Dinner was ready. How sweet are these little rice moulds.
The curry looked so damn good, and you know how food always tastes better when someone else cooks it? Well this made dinner even more delicious.
We had a night full of great food, funny stories and a lot of laughter. And that is what Valentines is all about. Celebration. Be it with friends, family or lovers. Oh and Love Crunch.