Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Maple Almond Vanilla Granola *Homemade Christmas 2012*



So, I'm obviously REALLY late posting the homemade gifts I made this past Christmas.  Better late than never right?  I actually wanted to post this before Christmas but then, my family would have seen what they were getting so, that idea was out.  So then I figured I would just want until Fall rolled around since that's the official start to the holiday season.

Stephanie over at Keeper of the Home posted some easy, frugal gift ideas a while back, which of course, I pinned.  When the Christmas season rolled around, I was determined to put some of my pins to use and make some homemade Christmas gifts.  First, since these gifts were for the grandparents, I framed a pictured of the kiddos w/ Santa.  Next up were Monogrammed Tile Coasters which I saw several tutorials for on Pinterest.  This looked simple enough and turns out, it was pretty frugal too! I did have just a little trial & error with getting the right placement, and pressure with the stamps so, I kept those for our home.  I have to say though, I REALLY love them.  The stone absorbs condensation really well.  I used Chiaro Stone Tiles (a pack of 12 is just over $3).  I LOVE how no 1 tile is alike, making each one, truly one of a kind.  I chose a Japanese inspired theme with bamboo & cherry blossoms and used a permanent black ink stamp pad.  And on the bottom, I placed round, self adhesive felt bumpers on each corner.  (Can't get much faster or easier than self-adhesive!)  I used med. sized rounds.  I love how they lift the tile up off the table, making it really easy to pick the coaster up and move it.




And finally, I also paired the gifts with a jar of some homemade granola.  I started with a recipe from Earthbound Farm's which I found on the list mentioned above but, I made quite a few changes such as adding Pumpkin Seeds & Vanilla.  It came out delicious!  My Father-in-law talks about it every time we talk.  I made if for him again on his last visit to Florida & when we visit them again soon, he has already asked if I would be willing to make him some while we are there.  And my Grandmother recently asked me for the recipe.  When I make it at home it does not last long because Mr. A & I go through it pretty fast.  You can eat it straight up or enjoy it sprinkled on top of dairy free yogurt, add some crunch to your oatmeal, spread some peanut or almond butter on apple slices and top it with the granola or my favorite...on top of some dairy free vanilla ice cream.  I am only just now realizing that I forgot to add the word "Vanilla" to my gift tags.

Maple Almond Vanilla Granola

Ingredients:

4.5 C Organic Whole Oats (not quick cook)
1 C Raw Sunflower Seeds
1 C Raw Pumpkin Seeds
2 C Blanched, Slivered Almonds
4 Tbsp Ground Cinnamon
2 Tbsp Pure Vanilla Extract
1 1/4 C Pure Maple Syrup (I use Grade A, Dark Amber)
1/3 C Coconut Oil, slightly melted
2 Pinches of Sea Salt
4 C of Raisins

Directions:

  1. Preheat your over to 325
  2. Mix the oats, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds & almonds together in a large bowl.
  3. Mix the cinnamon, vanilla, maple, salt & coconut oil together in a small bowl and pour over oat mixture.  
  4. Stir well until the oat mixture is fully covered.
  5. Spread out on a large, rimmed baking sheet and bake for aprox. 48 min. stirring every 12 min.  (I find it helpful to just set the timer for 12 min 4 times so I remember to stir).
  6. In the last 12 min, watch very carefully to make sure it does not over brown.  Or you may also need to keep baking for up to an additional 12 min. depending on your oven.  Again, watch carefully.
  7. Transfer warm granola to a really large bowl or a large pot (you will want lot's of stirring room) and add the raisins.  Stir until well combined.
  8. Store in an airtight container or in mason jars for gift giving.

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