Homemade Pumpkin Spice Granola - #Oatober


Fall, lovely fall, one of my favorite season, because it's not too hot and it's not too cold. I love the colors of fall, and there's no place like Colorado to celebrate it. We recently decided to take a trip up to the mountains to look at the beautiful Colorado Fall Colors. It's when the trees change colors and you can see a sea of yellow, oranges and reds, or maybe just a sea of yellow as shown below. People travel from far and wide just to witness our colors and I don't blame them, because it's beautiful! You may notice that when fall comes around, we tend to eat more comfort foods, and one of those comfort foods that I just love and my entire family also loves is Quaker Oats. I grew up eating Quaker Oats and I remember my mother making oatmeal in the mornings for breakfast before I headed off to school. In the Caribbean we would call it "porridge", and it was usually our go to breakfast meal. It was filling and you know that you were getting a great meal. Now that I'm older and have my own family, I always keep Quaker Oats on hand, whether they be the original or instant, they're a must have in my own pantry.


I've also been trying to eat a lot healthier as well. On my recent checkup with my doctor, I found out that my cholesterol was elevated and that I may also be diabetic. I have a follow-up visit in my very near future, but I know that I will have much better news. For one, I was traveling quite a lot this year. I've visited 2 countries and three states in 6 months and it took it's toll. I gained over 30lbs and I ate very unhealthy. Now I'm back on track, and Quaker Oats is there to help me with my dietary needs. Did you know that Oats are considered a super grain and has been part of daily morning rituals for more than a hundred years? I know it has to be true, because my mom died at the age of 72 and I'm 40, so I've been eating it for at least 36 of that, because I would get it for breakfast before school and I started at the age of 4.


Oats are very versatile and there are so many endless possibilities, and so many different ways that you can incorporate it into your day. My kids just LOVE overnight oats and you can make that any way you feel. My favorite is strawberry and bananas overnight oats. However, with me now working out and trying to live a much healthier lifestyle, I decided to make my very own Homemade Pumpkin Spice Granola. With this being "Oatober", what's better than incorporating a little bit of pumpkin that we've all come to associate fall with.

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Granola
(makes appx. 4 cups)

Dry Ingredients

2 cups Quaker Oats
1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup raw walnuts, chopped
1/4 cup dried mango, chopped
1/4 cup coconut sugar
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/8 teaspoon salt

Wet Ingredients

1/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/3 cup melted coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup honey or maple syrup


Instructions

Preheat the oven to 325°F.

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Add the dry ingredients to a large bowl and stir to combine.

Add the wet ingredients to a separate bowl and whisk until smooth.

Pour the wet ingredients over the dry and stir until evenly coated.

Pour the mixture onto your prepared baking sheet and spread it out evenly.


Place the pan in the oven on the middle rack.

Bake for 15 minutes, rotate the pan, and bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges.

Remove the pan from the oven and let it sit on the counter for at least 30 minutes to cool. The granola will crisp up as it sits.

When the granola has cooled off, break it up into pieces.


Notes:

Homemade granola is incredibly easy to make! This version has all the flavors of fall and is loaded with protein, fiber, and nutrients. Grab a handful as a snack, or sprinkle it over ice cream, yogurt, or even pancakes for extra crunch!

You can change up the ingredients, however you like. Some yummy additions would be dried fruit (other than mango), shaved coconut, or even mini chocolate chips. You can also change up the nuts to whatever you like or omit them altogether if you have an allergy.

If you don't have pumpkin pie spice, you can use 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ginger, 1/8 teaspoon cloves, and 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg. And if all you have is cinnamon, that's fine too!

Enjoy!


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