Regardless of who you are and what types of foods you like to eat, we all like to munch on foods that crunch. There's something innately satisfying about the crunch factor. Unfortunately, so many of the crunchy foods that people eat are unhealthy and just add inches to their waistline.

One crunchy treat that I love to eat is granola. Now, all granola is not made equally. There are many granolas that are actually quite junky.

You may be asking what makes a granola junky? There are two categories to consider when picking out a granola- sugar and carbohydrates. In fact, sugar and carbohydrates are really pretty much the same category.

It's not to say that all sugars and carbs are bad because they aren't. They are not all created equally. For my granola, I like to have all nuts and seeds to maximize the protein content and use sugars that sweeten it naturally without drastically increasing the glycemic index.

Since I am rather choosey about what I want in my granola, I choose to make my own. it is fairly cheap and easy to make your own granola, which makes the decision a no-brainer for me. You can follow this recipe or you can tweak it to include some of your favorite ingredients.

I love to crunch on granola by itself, put it on top of my Greek yogurt fruit blends, use it as a homemade cereal, and add it to muffins or breads.
Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 25-35 at 300 degrees
Ingredients: 5 tbsp coconut oil, 6 droppers full of vanilla creme stevia, 2 egg whites, 1 tbsp of vanilla extract, 2 tbsp cinnamon, 1 tsp sea salt, nut mixture: 2 cups almond meal, 1 cup walnut pieces, 3/4 cup pumpkin seeds, 3/4 cup sunflower seeds, 1/2 cup ground flax seeds
* Note: This mixture can be adjusted accordingly. You really can't mess it up. Put in what you like and make it your own.

Warm the coconut oil by submerging the jar in a bowl of warm water. After it becomes a liquid, measure out 
* Make sure to wait to add the oil until you are ready to pour the liquid mixture into the solids. When the oil cools, it will become a solid.

The almond meal can have fine bits that is more like flour and bigger chunks. Mix in the sea salt, ground flax seed, and cinnamon.

Break the walnuts into chunks. I tried sticking them in a food processor but it doesn't give the nice chunks like you see here. I'd rather take a couple minutes to do it myself than have it ground into a pulp.
* I saw a cooking show that had some apparatus for this purpose. I can't remember what it was called.

Mix the egg whites, vanilla extract, vanilla creme flavored stevia extract, and last the coconut oil in a bowl.
* Note: Make sure to add the coconut oil just before mixing in with the dry ingredients so that it doesn't change back to a solid.

Next I added the chunky stuff to the almond meal before I added the liquid mixture. I added some of my favorite nuts and seeds- pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and walnuts (broken into small chunks).

Now, mix in the liquid mixture until it is throughly mixed.

Last, take the mixture and lay it on a parchment paper that is on top of a pan. You can make a small empty hole in the middle so that it dries well as it cooks.

After it's cooked, store it in an airtight container or tupperware to keep it fresh and ready for your next yogurt treat, bowl of cereal, garnish in some bread or muffins, or just to snack on and fulfill that need to crunch. Enjoy!



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