I've been doing really well with limiting (almost cutting out completely) sugar from my diet. I find that when I eat too much sugar causes me to feel ill (any amount of sugar almost inevitably leads to eating too much so even in moderation it's a slippery slope). However, sometimes it's nice to have a midnight snack for those nights that I wake up with a hankering (and with work stress that keeps me awake!). I haven't gone grocery shopping for a while so I thought I'd prepare my fridge with convenient edibles. This happens to be way cheaper than buying the stuff pre-made, too.
1 cup cashews (preferably soaked for at least four hours and then rinsed)
1/4 cup hemp seeds
pinch of salt
1/2 vanilla bean scraped or a dash of extract
dash of agave if desired
Blend in Vita Mix for 2-3 minutes until ultra smooth. If you have a nut milk bag, use it. If not, expect extra thick milk. Refrigerate until ready to use.
I read on Wikipedia that hemp seeds have all of the essential amino acids. I'm not sure if that's true, but I wanted to add it to my nut milk to give it a nutritional boost. Making nut milk without straining results in a very pulpy final product, but I tend not to mind it as long as I'm using it with cereal. You may want to de-pulp it. Even straining it through several layers of cheese cloth doesn't rid the milk of its pulp. I think a nut bag is required. [Edit: You can also blend it less thoroughly and strain out the pieces. If it is too liquidy you can add xanthan gum.]
Vanilla Nut Granola
2 cups rolled oats
1/4 cup dried coconut, unsweetened
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup hemp seeds
1/8 cup flax seed meal
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
3/4 cup chopped almonds (I used a nut chopper so the pieces were finer)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup grapeseed or other oil
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/8 cup brown rice syrup
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a large bowl, mix wet ingredients well. In a separate bowl, mix dry ingredients. Add half of the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and blend well. Continue to add dry ingredients, stirring well, until the desired consistency is achieved. Save the remainder for another batch of granola or just toss it in a have a little drier granola. Spread granola mixture onto parchment lined cookie sheets and put them in the oven on 300 degrees. After fifteen minutes, rotate trays and stir granola. Bake a total of about 30 minutes but check every ten minutes to stir and ensure the mixture does not burn. The color will darken to golden brown when it is done. It will harden as it cools. Once cool, store in an airtight container.
What I like about granola is that 1. it is an alternative to over-processed cereals, and 2. it can be made with a huge variety of ingredients (including cleaning-out-the-pantry ingredients). I once made granola from a recipe with soy nuts and soy flour. I would love to make this granola with less sugar and oil, but I don't really know what else to add so I guess I'll just be eating sugar if I eat granola!