When daytime temperatures hover in the 50s and nighttime temperatures in the 40s, it’s winter in Florida and it’s winter to me.  Hard to believe that I grew up in Wisconsin and went out skiing when it was 30 degrees below 0.  That was then, this is now.  Add to that the darn cholesterol readings that like to rear up to remind you that you aren’t 20 anymore.  It’s oatmeal time.

Quaker Oats informs

“As part of a heart-healthy diet, the soluble fiber in Oatmeal can help reduce cholesterol.  3 grams of soluble fiber from oatmeal daily in a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease.  This cereal has 2 grams per serving.”

Pretty easy to get your 3 grams since we all fill our bowls or plates with more than any manufacturer’s recommended serving size.  Just think about it:  two or three cookies, a bowl of granola with yogurt and fruit, or a dish of rhubarb crumble with custard would take care of your nutritional needs.  Well why not get some nutrition with your sugar and butter?

Did you really think that I was going to go all healthy on you?  Joking aside, oats are good for you and they taste good, too.  Our oldest son has lost 12 pounds by switching to granola for breakfast instead of his usual ham and eggs on English muffins.  His portions are far beyond normal as he also competes in weight-lifting competitions.  He won at heavy-weight but wants to lift in a lower weight class in addition to improving his health.  The following recipe actually contains good fats or MUFAs as the authors of the Flat Belly Diet refer to them–monounsaturated fats to the non-cogniscenti–the nuts and canola oil, not the sugars, sorry.

Ann’s  Granola                                            Makes 15 servings

4 cups rolled oats ¼ cup brown sugar
¾ cup wheat germ (optional) 2 tablespoons maple syrup
¾ cup oat bran ¼ cup and 2 tablespoons honey
½ cup sunflower or pumpkin seeds ½ cup vegetable oil (I use Canola)
½ cup chopped almonds 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon*
½ cup pecans  or any combination of nuts 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
½ cup walnuts ¾ teaspoon salt
1 cup dried fruit of your choice
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line one very large or two large baking sheets that have sides, with parchment paper.
  2. Combine the oats, sunflower seeds, chopped almonds, chopped pecans, chopped walnuts in a large bowl. Any combination of nuts equaling 2 cups is fine.
  3. Stir together the  brown sugar, maple syrup, honey, oil, cinnamon* (Sri Lankan cinnamon is milder—it is a flaky stick if you buy whole) vanilla and salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then pour over the dry ingredients and stir to coat.  Spread the mixture out evenly on the baking sheets.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven until crispy and toasted, stir after 15 minutes then bake another 12 to 15 minutes for a total of 25-30 minutes.
  5. Cool completely then break up into smaller pieces and store in a glass jar. I like to sprinkle on dried or fresh fruit just before serving rather than mixing it in before storing.

Do not over-bake this.  It will harden as it cools.  Store in an airtight container.  This is great with yogurt or milk.


Ready for breakfast, are you?




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