Sunday, February 19, 2012

Fruit, Yogurt, and Granola Parfaits

Lately I've been really into granola. I start off pretty much every day with some fruity yogurt mixed with granola and some eggs, be it hard boiled, scrambled, or an omelet if I have the time. Since my family regularly shops at Costco, and they frequently stock the same items, I usually end up alternating between the same two varieties of granola. One day I decided that I wanted to try and make my own granola but somehow this idea got postponed for a really long time, partially due to the fact that I was too lazy to go and buy old-fashioned rolled oats.

After finally going to the grocery store and picking up a bag of oats I no longer had any excuses and set upon making the granola. There are so many different "recipes" although after looking through them I realized a recipe is not really needed. Basically you just need to mix the oats with some sort of binder, be it honey or peanut butter or maple syrup, and add in any mix-ins, such as coconut flakes, sunflower seeds, nuts, etc. After it's done baking you can add in any dried fruits as well. The only annoying part is that while its baking, the granola needs to be stirred periodically which means that you can't just stick it in the oven and pull it out once a timer goes off.

I still ended up following a recipe I found on my favorite blog Annie's Eats for a healthy omega-3 granola. Of course I didn't have all of the ingredients so I kind of took some liberties with it. Since the recipe called for sunflower seeds and canola oil, but I didn't have it, I substituted pumpkin seeds and sunflower oil. In the end the sunflower taste was a little too strong for my liking, making it a very savory granola, but my whole family loved it, especially my brothers. Both said that the savory taste was great and different compared to the usual granola from the store. Next time I think I will try sticking to a neutral oil and see if that lets the sweetness of the honey come through more.

As for the parfaits, I've been making those quite frequently for my family as they continue to request them over and over. The concept is very simple: I layer fruits with Greek yogurt and then sprinkle granola on top. I know that some people put a layer of granola in the middle as well but unless the parfait is eaten right away the granola gets soggy and I can't stand that. I usually make six or seven of these parfaits (leaving out the granola) and leave them, covered, in the fridge. Then once someone wants to eat it, for breakfast or dessert, they take one out and put the granola topping on themselves. Everyone in my family loves them because they're a sweet little treat but also healthy.

Fruit, Yogurt, and Granola Parfaits

For the parfaits:
Note: These are all rough measurements in order to make 6-7 parfaits in 4 oz. ramekins.
  • 3-4 cups fresh or frozen fruit (thawed if frozen)
  • 1 large container (650-750 mL) Greek yogurt (I used honey flavored but plain or vanilla works too)
  • Granola
To assemble: Put a layer of fruit in the bottom of each ramekin so that it is completely covered. Spoon enough yogurt over top to cover the surface of the fruit. Repeat the layering process with the fruit and yogurt then top with granola. Optional: Put a layer of granola on top of first yogurt layer before repeating fruit layer.

For the Omega-3 Granola:
  • 1/3 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/3 cup walnuts, roughly chopped 
  • 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons ground flaxseeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup raisins (I used 1/4 cup raisins, 1/4 cups dried cranberries)
  1. Toast the almonds and walnuts in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring often, until fragrant and beginning to darken, about 3 minutes.
  2. Stir in the oats and oil and continue to toast, stirring often, until the oats begin to turn golden, about 2 minutes.
  3. Stir in the sunflower and sesame seeds and continue to toast until the mixture turns golden, about 2 minutes.
  4. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and stir in the honey, flaxseeds, and salt until evenly combined.
  5. Spread the granola over a large rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake at 325 degrees Fahrenheit, stirring every 3 minutes, for 15 minutes until the granola is a light golden brown.
  6. Stir in the raisins (or whatever other variety of dried fruit) and use a spatula to gently push the granola to one side and press into a slab about 1/2" thick.
  7. Allow the granola to cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes, then use your hands to gently break it into small clusters. 
Note: The granola can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week.

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