Fruity Homemade Granola

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It’s that time of year again, Christmas is over for another year and we’ve all eaten that little bit too much turkey, stuffing, mince pies, Christmas cake, chocolates and drunk a few too many beers, glasses of fizz and wine, and the need to get fit and lose weight rears its head again. New year, new me we always think. Last year Tom and I stuck to the Hairy Dieters plan for about 3 months or so along with circuit training and badminton and the results were really good. Inevitably though, we got a bit bored of the recipes, work got busy and there were late nights and boozy nights so the weight crept on a bit again by the end of the year.

We got the new Hairy Dieters cookbook for Christmas and it has helped to inspire us to get back on the diet horse and try again. The food looks and sounds great and I’m really excited to eat healthy delicious meals and cook new dishes. I’ll also be attempting to run regularly to get my fitness up to scratch as well.

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The part of healthy eating I find hardest is breakfast and lunch at work – I struggle to fit in breakfast before I get to work and once there I often get distracted or forget to sort breakfast out, meaning I start to snack later on in the day. If I don’t prep lunch the night before, I end up buying lunch everyday and that can get expensive and unhealthy. This year, I’m going to be on the ball and prep my meals before hand so I know I’m eating well. I’m not a huge fan of cereal or muesli but it’s such a quick, easy and filling breakfast that I’ve decided I need to try and so this weekend I am making my own granola. I’ve adapted a couple of recipes, the Hairy Dieters and this one from completely delicious blog. Served with the Hairy Dieters fruit compote, this brekkie comes out as 243 calories or 252 served with yoghurt.

Ingredients:

I didn’t measure anything out as I just used what was in the cupboard to make a big batch – it’s easy enough to judge how much you need

Oats
Sesame seeds
Honey
Sunflower oil
Fruit
mix (I used a tropical mix of dried fruits and a mix of raisins and cranberries, finely chopped but you could use dried apricots, dried banana etc)
Cinnamon
Nutmeg

This granola is really easy to make – all I did was combine the ingredients in a big mixing bowl until the oats started to come together slightly. Once mixed, I spread the granola in a baking parchment lined tray and baked until golden brown. Now I can use it on top of yoghurt or with fruit compote and I can always make new batches with different fruit and nut combinations – yum!

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Plaited Loaf with a Spoonful of Honey

Tonight Tom made his world-famous . . .ok . . . family-famous chili for dinner – it’s delicious and he is becoming a true pro at making it! We usually have a few dishes of extra toppings to go with the chili; cheese, sour cream, tortilla chips and bread for dunking; you’ve got to mop up the scrummy chili sauce, it can’t be left to go to waste! Unfortunately, we’d run out of bread but everything was ok, I had some of my amazing mixed grain wholemeal flour left – luckily the perfect amount required to make a plaited loaf from the Great British Bake Off cookbook.

I’ve been excited by the prospect of making this recipe as it looks so rustic and delicious – the recipe uses wholemeal bread flour mixed with hazelnuts, apricots and honey, however, my luck with ingredients didn’t go that far, so I just used the flour and honey. The loaf still tasted amazing but I will try the full recipe next time as I think it will be even better!

The honey in the recipe adds a delicious sweetness to the loaf which I can imagine is complimented really well by the hazelnuts, but it isn’t too overpoweringly sweet so would go well with cheeses and chutneys or, as we used it, chunky bread for dunking! Other flavours that would work well in this loaf recipe are a good strong cheddar with roasted red onion, cashew nuts instead of hazel and olive and sundried tomatoes.


 For the full recipe see The Great British Bake Off How to Bake cookbook – it’s worth investing in, it has so many easy to follow, delicious recipes and it just looks gorgeous!