UPDATED! BACK-TO-SCHOOL GRANOLA (V+, GF, V, NF, ChF) & HOME-MADE SEED MILK (V+, R, P, GF, NF, Chf, GrF)

UPDATED! BACK-TO-SCHOOL GRANOLA (V+, GF, V, NF, ChF) and HOME-MADE SEED MILK (V+, R, P, GF, NF, ChF, GrF)

NOTE: The pictures were updated and the recipe improved in June 2015.

I write this blog entry on my 4-year-old son’s first day of school (which is a few weeks ago by now). I had mixed emotions, to say the least, about him starting his formal education so young and would have preferred he spent another year or two climbing trees instead and letting his imagination run roit. But alas, the English education system didn’t allow for it.

My son must have picked up on my feelings as - before starting – he said he thought school was 'dumb' (I think he’d have loved to have used the ‘S....D’ word, but that isn’t permitted in our house – just for your info ;)). However, to my surprise, he whizzed into class today with a big smile on his face, barely able to contain his excitement. In fact, he was so quick he never did see my tears (Thank you God!).

And his verdict at the end of the day when I asked how school was? ‘GOOD', which in 4-year-old-boy-speak means 'FAB, I LOVED IT, IT'S TOTALLY GREAT.'

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Of course, we had to start the day off with a bang, not the usual bread and jam affair. Oh no, this new chapter in our lives was going to commence with fanfare and all. So I made my all-time favourite granola to properly kick-start this school business. And man did it come out lovely! Sadly, my little one took one spoon full, said ‘yummy’ passed his bowl to his dad (who ate the stuff like there was no tomorrow) and then sheepishly asked for bread and (yup, you guessed it) jam. Oh well, gotta love him!

Please note this recipe IS super duper yum, approved by my son's 4-year-old friends and is based on the one here.

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UPDATED! BACK-TO-SCHOOL GRANOLA (V+, V, GF, NF, ChF)
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 40 minutes
Makes: 9 cups

Ingredients:
2 cups (organic) (gluten-free) oats (see tips below for substitutions)
1 cup (organic) buckwheat
1 cup (organic) millet seeds
1 cup pecans (see tips for nut-free substitutions)
½ cup pumpkin seeds
1/8 - ¼ cup sugar OR coconut nectar to make it less sweet 
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon

¼ vegetable oil (I used rice bran oil)
¼ maple syrup or honey 
1 tsp vanilla seeds

Add seasonal fruit (optional)

Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 150C (300F).
Mix the oats, buckwheat, millet seeds, nuts, seeds, sugar, salt and cinnamon together in a large bowl.
In a small saucepan briefly warm and combine the maple syrup/honey and vegetable oil. The pour the maple syrup/honey and oil over the grain, nut and seed mixture. Gently mix with a wooden spoon, until nicely combined.
Spread this over a large baking sheet, covered with baking paper. Bake for 40 minutes at the bottom of the oven to avoid the nuts browning too much, stirring carefully every 10 minutes.
Once removed from the oven, allow the mixture to cool completely before enjoying this lovely breakfast.

Tip 1: You can replace the gluten-free oats with regular oats if you can’t obtain the gluten-free ones. If you are particularly sensitive to gluten and want to avoid oats all together, use millet flakes instead.

Tip 2: To make this nut-free, please replace the pecan nuts with pumpkin or sunflower seeds or omit altogether.

Tip 3: I prefer using the coconut nectar as it makes it less sweet, but it's just as good with regular sugar. I didn’t add any dried fruit, which the original recipe and many other granola recipes call for to make sure it's not overly sweet. But of course, you can make this your own and add whatever you like. Just remember to add any dried fruit after the mixture has come out of the oven as they tend to burn in the oven.

Tip 4: Store in an air-tight container. It should hold for two weeks, but to be honest, we usually finish this within 7 days, so apologies I can’t be sure.

Eat with… (home-made) almond milk or the home-made seed milk noted below.


UPDATED! HOME-MADE SEED MILK (NF, GF, V+, P, R, ChF, GrF)

Pre-preparation Time: Soak the seeds for 6-8 hours or overnight
Preparation Time: 5 - 7 minutes
Serves: 3-4 (you get about 500ml of milk from this recipe)

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Ingredients:
1 cup of sunflower seeds
3 cups of filtered water
1 chopped and de-seeded date (optional)
Pinch of Pink Himalaya Salt (optional)
Pinch of ground cinnamon (optional)
Pinch of ground ginger (optional)

Instructions:
Soak the seeds in water for 6-8 hours, or overnight. Once this step has been completed, drain the seeds and wash them with clean water. Place the seeds in a high-speed blender (I use a Vitamix, but any blender will do) together with the chopped date, salt and 3 cups of filtered water.

Pour the mixture through a cheese cloth or fine sieve. And there, you’ve got your seed milk. I then place the milk back in the blender, together with the spices and blend quickly, just until combined.

Store the milk in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days. It’s that simple.

Eat with… the above noted home-made granola or use it to make the raw, vegan chocolate mousse.