The flavors of Autumn come together in this Autumn Harvest Cinnamon Apple and Pumpkin Granola; an easy, healthy and homemade breakfast treat the whole family will love!
Last week I started to get the itch for some fall-flavored breakfast food. The mornings are finally cool and crisp and the leaves have even start to change color (not always guaranteed this early in California). While I love a good warm breakfast, most mornings it’s about getting food into my family’s mouth so that we can get our behinds out the door.
Lately, due to laziness and busyness I have fallen into the frozen food trap.
Before you feel the need to defend frozen food, let me clear the air here- there is absolutely nothing wrong with the stuff. My child loves the mini pancakes and whole wheat frozen waffles which basically means one less battle over food. Plus, I love them, too; they remind me of my childhood. And a waffle sandwich with PB and jelly may just be the best thing in this world.
Not every morning- at least if I can help it.
Homemade waffles or pancakes or eggs or french toast is not something I can manage every morning. I have too many other things to manage- like my child climbing the refrigerator for food. And there is no way I am going to wake up early to make my family breakfast.
Sorry. Not sorry.
So unless it’s the weekend, breakfast needs to be easy.
Granola has always been a huge favorite of mine. With yogurt, milk, ice cream or just plain, granola is my jam. And I always kept our pantry well stocked. My love for granola started when I lived in Germany and my host family always kept at least 3 varieties in the house. As an Au Pair I would do their grocery shopping, so I got to pick my favorites. Anyway, since most Germans eat a large lunch and a smaller dinner, I would always eat at least 1-2 (very big) bowls of granola for dinner (which is typically my preferred big meal). I was literally addicted.
Sadly, I later learned the granola I was eating was not at all healthy and packed full of sugar (I couldn’t read the labels on the box, since, you know, I only speak English). Anyway, this bit of information explains why I gained at least 10 pounds during my almost 6 months in Germany (ok, that and the beer…and wine…and sausage).
When I returned home to the US I decided I needed to either find a “healthier” granola or make my own. Well, I failed at both. I blame getting pregnant.
But this year, I had no excuse, it was time to make my own! And, umm, my friends, IT IS SO EASY! And, so much healthier because YOU control the sugar amount that goes in.
I would be a total liar if I said I never buy my favorite boxed granola. I mean, old habits die hard and my granola habit hasn’t died; but I definitely try to find a happy balance (and only eat one big bowl instead of two).
ps- don’t forget the pomegranates. They’re like little jewels of goodness.
Autumn Harvest Cinnamon Apple Pumpkin Granola
- 4 cups old fashioned oats
- 2 cups cooked quinoa
- 3/4 cup chopped pecans
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 1 cup pepitas
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup golden raisins, or regular raisins
- 3 apples, cored and chopped
- 5 tablespoons butter, divided
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ginger
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons uncooked quinoa
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In a large mixing bowl combine the oats, cooked quinoa, chopped pecans, walnuts, pepitas, dried cranberries, golden raisins and chopped apples. Toss well and set aside.
- Add the butter to a small sauce pot set over medium heat. Melt and heat the butter until just browned. Whisk the browned specks off the bottom of the pot and immediately remove from heat. Allow the butter to rest for 1 minute before slowly adding the maple syrup, brown sugar and pumpkin puree.
- Add the cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and salt to the pot and whisk well to combine. Finally, stir in the vanilla.
- Slowly pour the sweet maple syrup mixture over the dry ingredients and thoroughly mix to combine.
- Spread the mixed granola over the two lined baking sheets and sprinkle with uncooked quinoa. Drizzle with approximately 1 tablespoon of honey per sheet.
- Transfer baking sheets to the oven and bake for 45-60 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes to insure even cooking.
- Remove granola from the oven and allow to cool completely before storing. Stores well in an airtight container for up to one week in the refrigerator.
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