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I’ve been making my own granola for my breakfast for about a year now.  In the past I have always had a problem with breakfast.  In middle and high school I was usually stressed out in some way and worried constantly about how others thought of me in addition to the usual other myriad of things that plagued kids in school in the mid 80’s and early 90’s (and now).  I did not eat breakfast regularly very often then but when I did I often reached for the boxed granola my mom used to buy for us.  I would add the milk and eat a few spoonfuls and then my digestive system would want it out of me immediatly (to be polite).

In college I had a breakfast of coffee and if memory serves correctly, some kind of donut from the Dunkin’ Donuts I lived up the street from at UF.  I had the same breakfast when I came back to NY when attending FIT.  I was a sugar addict and this continued until about 1998.  Then I rediscovered smoothies and becamed obsessed with making them for my morning meal.  After that I ate Greek yogurt with ground flax seeds and fruit.  In the past couple of months I have embraced a vegan diet and have omitted such things as dairy, meat, and eggs.  I have also come back to granola and have come up with a recipe that loves my digestive system as much as I love the granola.  It is not too sweet and is packed with energizing ingredients.  I make two batches at a time and store it in a large glass jar.  I add two tablespoons of ground flax seeds to it and eat it topped with a fresh sliced banana and topped with diluted coconut milk (1:1 coconut milk to water).  I also have a shot of freshly brewed espresso.

4 c. old fashioned rolled oats (not quick cooking)
1/2 c. unsalted sunflower seeds
1/4 c. unsalted pumpkin seeds
1 c. almonds (I blitz them in the food processor so they are roughly chopped)
1 c. unsweetened shredded coconut (I buy it in my local health food store)
zest and juice from 1 lemon
1/2 c. agave nectar
1/4 c. coconut oil or olive oil
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. pure almond extract

Preheat oven to 300 F and get out 2 large rimmed cookie or jelly roll pans.  In a large mixing bowl, combine the rolled oats, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, almonds, and coconut.  In a small saucepan combine lemon zest, lemon juice, agave nectar, coconut oil, vanilla extract, and almond extract.  Heat over low heat and whisk to combine.  Pour this mixture over the dry ingredients and stir to combine thoroughly.  Divide mixture (I use a 1 c. measuring cup to do this) between the two cookie sheets and spread out in a thin layer.  Bake for approximately 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.  I also rotate the two cookie sheets so they each get to be on the upper and lower shelves of the oven.  Cool completely.  Store in an airtight container.

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