Making your own granola, which can be used as hot oatmeal cereal, is easy, fun and manageable on your wallet. The best part is you control what goes into your cereal - not the manufacturer.
Do you like raisins and almonds but dislike coconut? No problem. Do you love coconut but hate nuts? Again, no problem. You add what you like to your recipe.
You can also adjust the level of sweetness (none, a little, major) to your own preferences or those of your family's.
Speaking of families, this is a fun kitchen project for kids. They can customize their own cereal and make it their own. Just store individually in plastic containers and mark it with their name.
Home-Made Granola Cereal
Makes about 6 cups
Preheat oven to 250 degrees
This is the basic recipe. If you don't care for one ingredient (coconut, almonds, raisins, etc. just leave it out)
3 cups uncooked, old-fashioned, rolled oats (not the instant kind)
1/2 cup wheat germ
1 1/2 cups dry coconut shreds, unsweetened
1 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup honey (reduce this if you want less sweet, add a little more if you like it sweeter)
1/4 cup oil such as canola or vegetable, plus a little extra for the pan
1/2 cup water
1 cup slivered almonds or another type of nut such as chopped walnuts
1 cup raisins
In a large mixing bowl, thoroughly combine the oats, wheat germ, coconut, sunflower seeds and sesame seeds.
In a small bowl, whisk together the honey and the oil. Add to dry ingredients, mixing well. Add the water, a little at a time, until the mixture begins to clump together. You may need a little bit more than 1/2 cup of water.
Grease a heavy, rimmed baking or sheet pan with oil. Pour oatmeal mixture into pan and spread to edges.
Bake for 1 1/2 to 2 hours in 250 degree oven, stirring every 30 minutes or so. Add the almonds and continue to bake for another half hour. Cereal should begin to look slightly brown in color and feel dry and crisp to the touch.
Turn off oven and allow cereal to cool inside of oven. Keep door closed.
After about 45 minutes, remove cereal from oven. Stir in raisins. Cool completely and store in a tightly covered container in a cool, dry place. No need to refrigerate.
Serve as granola cereal or a snack. Serve with milk, yogurt, and/or fresh fruit.
To make hot oatmeal, measure out a heaping 1/2 cup of granola, add about 1 cup of milk or water and microwave about 3 minutes or cook on top of the stove.
Recipe adapted from the Rodale Cookbook, 1973