I go through different workday breakfast phases. After college, there was a time of morning acai and banana smoothies. Then a street cart bagel phase, till that got too unhealthy. There were two separate periods were my usual breakfast was a slice of plain homemade toast. There was a summer of eating muesli and a winter of making oatmeal quickly in the microwave with walnuts and honey. There have also been many days where it's just a cup of coffee or chai tea. Lately, my breakfast of choice has been granola.
The great thing about making granola is that you can adapt it however you like. My favorite ingredients are below, but I've made many variations depending on the sweeteners I've had on hand. I once even made a successful batch of granola using leftover simple syrup. To keep it healthy, I try to use the minimum amount of oil and sweetener necessary.
You can make granola in the oven, but I also learned this year that it can be made in a crock pot and wanted to share how easy it is. Leave the granola to cook while you go about your lazy weekend afternoon, checking to stir it now and then. Be careful not to get so caught up in your day that you forget about it altogether, though, or it will burn on the edges (it's happened to me more than once).
A batch this size usually lasts me about two weeks worth of weekday breakfasts. It also makes about four gift-size portions. This holiday season, I shared my granola by preparing jars for my coworkers. It was much less work than baking up a storm of cookies and it stores better.
Slow Cooked Honey Nut Granola
4 cups rolled oats
1 cup walnuts
1/2 cup almonds (or other nuts)
2/3 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/3 cup flax seeds
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp nutmeg
1/3 canola or olive oil
1/3 cup honey (or maple syrup or sugar or some combination)
1/2 cup dried currants or raisins (optional - add after cooking)
In the slow cooker, combine the dry ingredients. Add the honey and oil and stir until the granola mixture is thoroughly coated. Cook on high for 2 1/2 hours, with the lid slightly propped open with a chopstick or other utensil. Stir well every 30 minutes so that it cooks evenly. Turn off the heat once the oats are golden. Be careful to not let the granola on the edges starts browning. Add the currants and transfer to a glass or ceramic container to store.