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Today's breakfast!

Today’s breakfast! Granola topped fruit and yogurt.

Olive oil? In granola? Certo! (Certainly!) This idea offered to me by my sister-in-law Mirna, was worth exploring. I’ve made plenty of granola in the past and recently started craving it with my morning yogurt and fruit. A quick label read at the local healthy grocery store revealed that every single brand on the shelf from medium-priced to expensive all contained canola oil. As a canola oil rebel, I was disgusted that all these companies creating so-called nutritious and healthy cereals would be reluctant to add anything other than canola! Yes, I realize that canola oil has its benefits for some but I choose to eliminate it from my diet – GMO’s, pesticides, high heat processing – you get the picture. When the suggestion was made to substitute olive oil for canola oil, at first I suspected it might have a flavor incongruent to the cinnamon and maple syrup in the granola. I took the chance anyway. The results – the best granola I have ever made. I used my Galantino medium fruity EVOO but think it would be extraordinary with lemon or mandarin oil. The granola cooks at a very low temperature so the oil remains stable and holds onto all its health benefits. Because the ingredients in granola are personal, feel free to substitute your own favorite nuts or fruits. I love coconut and feel this adds the amount of sweetness I like. One trick I’ve learned over the years is to add the nuts and coconut nearing the end of the baking time so they do not over-toast. I stir in the dried fruit when the granola has cooled.
So for you brave hearts that try this delicious snack, please send me a comment and let me know how you liked it. I think it will make a great nibble at work!

Olive Oil Granola
Preheat oven to 225 degrees
4 cups oatmeal   I use Trader Joe’s organic
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 Tablespoon cinnamon  I used a bit more and love King Arthur’s Vietnamese Cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup Galantino EVOO   Try lemon or mandarin too!
1/2 cup maple syrup
3/4 cup sweetened shredded coconut or unsweetened if you prefer1 cup nuts   I used 1/2 cup slivered almonds and 1/2 cup hazelnuts
1/4 cup tart dried cherries
1/4 – 1/2 cup dried fruit of your choice   I used Trader Joe’s mix of mango, dried blueberries and dried cranberries

Mix together the oats, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt.
Combine the olive oil and maple syrup.
Pour olive oil/syrup mixture over oats and stir to combine well.
Pour out onto a 13 X 18 baking sheet lined with parchment paper. I do this so the pan stays cleaner! You can also use two smaller cookie sheets. If you use two cookie sheets, the layers are thinner so watch carefully as it will cook faster.
Bake for about 2 hours or until desired crunchiness and well-browned. Stir every 20 minutes to evenly brown the oats. Just before the granola is finished, stir in the coconut and nuts and cook just until browned.
Cool and stir in fruit of your choice.
This granola is not clumpy. If you prefer it clumpy, give it a gentle stir and allow pieces to stick together.

Olive oil update: My next shipment arrives in a week! New EVOO flavors and even olives! Check out http://www.thevirtuousolive for the latest tasty products to be added to my line-up.

EVOO = Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Thanks for reading
Ciao for now!