Thursday, September 17, 2009

Feel-Good Granola

I have had a hard time finding the right granola. The bars of coarse have all the icky vegetable oils and high fructose corn syrup, tasty, conveniently packaged, deceptive health food. There are tons of “natural granolas” that use less refined oils and sweeteners, but still contain lower quality ingredients for a sky high price. Besides, I always feel yucky after eating any more than a handful. Come to find out, oats are SUPER high in this new common term “phytic acid.” Along with nuts that are heavy in enzyme inhibitors—this stuff is just plain hard to digest.

Granola is great to have on hand for a filling, shelf stable snack and a quick breakfast cereal. Commercial boxed breakfast cereals are dangerously toxic. It is so sad that so many people are eating these every day, sometimes twice a day, most of the time doubling or tripling the serving size. The media and FDA have pushed these boxes as health food. Sadly, even the low sugar, color-free, natural and organic brands are making us sick. The problem is with the way that the grain is processed; high temperature, high pressure. This process of extrusion destroys nutrients and fatty acids and renders the amino acids toxic.

This has been such a wonderful replacement for us. Same great sweetness, crunch and shelf life of the boxed variety with none of the awful effects. When I have this for breakfast I am so satisfied, for a long time. The food is easy to digest and the nutrients are easily absorbed because proper care is taken in the preparation. I love that I can keep this raw by dehydrating instead of baking. Do yourself a big favor and master the art of nourishing granola making.

4 cups rolled grains (I use oats, barley and rye) THE MUSH
1/2 cup whole flax seeds
1/2 cup whole
1/2 cup
kefir (vinegar or lemon juice)
5 cups water
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup shredded coconut, unsweetened
1 cup raisins
1 cup previously
soaked and dehydrated walnuts
1/2 cup
sprouted kamut flour

In a large bowl, place rolled grains, flax seed and millet.
Add kefir and water, mix, cover and let soak on counter for 12 to 24 hours. The mixture will become a bowl of mush. Place mixture in a mesh strainer and rinse well. In a large bowl combine oil, sugar, syrup, cinnamon and salt. Fold in rinsed mush, coconut, raisins, nuts and flour. Spread out in a thin layer on 3 lined baking sheets. Bake on lowest oven setting until dry, turning as needed. I used my oven’s dehydrating setting at 115 degrees to preserve the enzymes and turned about every 6 -8 hours for 24 hours. The higher the heat, the more you turn and the less time it takes to dry.
Feel-Good Granola on Foodista


  1. As someone who has tasted Kara's granola I can vouch for the tastiness of this stuff- it's awesome. I tried my own and it may take me a time or two to get it right.

    In this soaking time, do the flax seeds have enough time to sprout, taking care of the "indigestible hull" problem?

  2. Yummy, thank you Kara for this post! I am excited to try it. Looks relatively easy too.

  3. I didn't really pay attention to if they had sprouted. I assumed that the kefir acid did some breaking down/pre-digesting. I should look into that.

  4. what do you mean by "vinegar or lemon juice" when referring to the kefir?

  5. Jenny, take a look at my soaked pancake recipe, it will explain the soaking method more throughly. In short, the soaking requires a slightly acidic solution. This can be accomplished with kefir, vinegar or lemon juice.

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. yummy, this granola looks really good.
    wonder if im brave enough to try the kefir part of it.

    what happened to the price of maple syrup? did you find a good place that is inexpensive to buy it? i refuse to buy it anymore because its just too expensive.
    agave has become cheaper. costco used to sell maple syrup for 17.99 for a huge jug, now its half or a third of the amount for the same price. im on strike against it. ha ha
    have you ever tried bobs red mill flake coconut? its unsweetened, and has no additives. its really amazing.

  8. You can use lemon juice or apple cider vinegar instead of kefir.

    I know, maple syrup is expensive. I love the Canadian one at Trader Joes, though Costco's is a better price. Amazon has a sale right now that is slightly less than Costco.

    I love how mild and easy to use agave is, but prefer not to use it for everything since it is fructose.

    Learning to like less sweetness is the best way to adapt.

  9. Umm... I just stumbled on this blog- LOVE IT. I will def be steeling some of these recipes. Thanks!

  10. I'm so excited to have found your blog! I'll be making my way through it slowly making tiny wonderful changes to my diet. Bravo!

  11. Your blog is so informative! Thank you! I have granola dehydrating (well, technically cooking at 175) right now. Wish me luck! I am so excited!


  12. kara, i thought i remembered you posting some cookie recipes that were semi-healthy, but i can't find them. do you have any? the only one i can find is the pudding one.

  13. That's the only cookie recipe I have up. I have been experimenting with using different sweeteners and have not found the right texture yet :(. If you make any grand discoveries, please share.

  14. Hey Kara! Can I use plain yogurt instead of kefir? or is it not acidic enough? I'm not buying raw milk anymore since we just don't use it up and my fridge started filling up with kefir. Is kefire from the store as good? Or can I get some kefir grains from you when I pick up some raw milk? Let me know. Thanks!

  15. Erica, plain yogurt works too. Here is a really indepth articla on soaking You can culture kefir with pasteurized milk in the same manner as raw. Store bought is made with pasteurized low fat and skim milks mostly and flavored with juice concentrates. Also, the culture is not as strong because of dilution and extended storage from being produced to being shipped, stocked and finally bought.

    The Good Apple does not sell raw milk anymore :( You are welcome to get in a rotation with me as well as scoring some new kefir plumps.

  16. We like this. I think I'll keep some on hand most of the time. I dehydrated mine and it didn't take very long, actually. It was on 145 degrees, and I think it took maybe 12 hours to get good and dry. Is that normal?

  17. It seems like dehydrators do the job faster. Sara was telling me about doing granola and fruit leather in her dehydrator pretty fast, my oven setting must just take longer. Maybe not as much venting?

  18. Just so you know, I shared your recipe on this blog:
    Thanks! I'm making another batch right now!

  19. Hi Kara, I know this is an old post but I have a couple of questions. First, I don't mean to be nosy but what did you mean by "get into a rotation with me..." (your comment to Erica)- were you referring to a raw milk supplier, or kefir? I've got the kefir covered thanks to you :) but just didn't know if you have a good source for raw milk. We're doing Save Your Dairy. Also, I REALLY want oatmeal raisin (okay really oatmeal chocolate chip) cookies and am wondering if you have mastered any cookie recipes yet. When I soaked and dehydrated the oats for cookies the oats just didn't seem like they'd be good for cookies (unfortuately something came up and I never ended up making the cookies so I'll never know). Let me/us know if you have found anything that works! I'm craving cookies! The recipe I was using was the soaked oatmeal cookie recipe on Cheeseslave's blog in case you want to try it...

    Thanks for all your help!

  20. We all live close to each other, so we set up a rotation where one person picks up each week and delivers it to each of us. We get our raw milk from Save Your Dairy as well. If anyone knows of another source, please share.

    I am a cookie snob. I do not like "cakey" cookies, I like them crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside. Wish I had a great success to share.

  21. Oh, I see...thanks for the explanation. Mmmm- crunchy on the outside, chewy on the inside sounds so good. The recipe I mentioned are definitely cakey, sorry!

  22. I'm just working on modifying my own recipe for soaked granola, but I find that when I use lots of water and rinse the oats, half of them go down the drain through the holes of the colander, and the consistency is too sticky and then too thick after dehyd. ?? I used 1 cup water to 3 cups oats last time, didn't rinse, and it was awesome!

    That being said, there is a lot of conflicting and missing research on soaking, which I'm currently investigating by reading food science and even contacting professors. If you're curious about my findings:

    thanks, Katie

  23. Katie, what kind of acid are you using in your soaking for the oats? I have not had a problem with rinsing them, but wonder what nutrition I am wasting down the drain.

    I have read conflicting information as well, but I am going with my gut on this one-on two accounts; It makes sense to me and I feel really good when I have soaked granola for breakfast and not so good when I have Bear Naked granola :(

    As far as spiritually; the Doctrine and Covenants says "wheat is for man" flat out. So I do believe that we are meant to eat grain.

  24. Now there's a thought! Make it ALL into granola, and then dehydrate it.
    I soaked 8 C of oats, drained them, squished out the liquid, then dehydrated them till dry. That yielded 5 C of oats, which I then made into granola the regular way. and it was super delish, by the way.

    I'll have to try your way. I think I might soak the nuts, though, too...

  25. When I don't have nuts already soaked and dehydrated, I soak them at the same time as the oats and dehydrate them all together. It does take longer for the nuts to full crisp than the oats, so you have to dehydrate it longer this way.

    I am going to try your way of soaking and dehydrating the oats separately. I am thinking it would give the granola a different texture. Good for variety's sake. Thanks for sharing!

  26. whether the difference between kefir and yogurt?
    Which is better between them?
    whether kefir has the same flavor of yogurt?
    It looks very tasty

  27. Read up at my "Gut Kefir" post and comments.

    I feel kefir is better, similar to yogurt but thinner and, a little yeasty and carbonated tasting. You could use yogurt in this recipe too.

  28. Nice work and post research, I have liked your blog.

  29. I know this an old post. But I just tried the granola for the first time this weekend. It came out a very dark brown and has a weird taste. I'm assuming I did something very wrong, but I don't know what! Has anyone else had that problem? I soaked oats and rye for the "mush" with whey instead of kefir.

  30. Did you bake or dehydrate? Darkness could be from the sugars caramelizing if you baked. If it isn't sufficiently dry, it will be darker and also start to sour and even mold over time. We still make this recipe all the time, in fact, we are on a trip right now and have it along. Maybe try lemon juice next time. I find it to give the least offensive flavor and rinse, rinse, rinse the mush.

  31. Can you please tell me where to get free kefir live grains in mesa az?

  32. I give them free when you attend one of my classes. I'll be going again in January, so look for them. I have not heard of anywhere else for one to get them for free.

  33. Do you have something to roll grains yourself, or do you buy them already rolled? And if you do buy them, from where (just curious)?

  34. I finally am making this with all of the right ingredients and am nervous because it isn't drying! I remember how delicious and crunchy yours was and mine seems to be rubbery...any thoughts? I rinsed REALLY well. I have an old dehydrator that does not have settings so I'm not sure what temp it is drying on but was doing so for about 24 hours. I threw half of it in the oven just now on 200 and it has been there for an hour and still seems pretty rubbery! Can too much drying/baking hurt it?

    I will report back! The flavor is great, just not the texture so far!

  35. Mine has taken longer than 24 hours before. It depends on how well drip dry after they are rinsed. If I do them in 2 batches and let them sit in the strainer for 10 minutes, they do go faster. Keep drying it, it will get crunchy. If you store it with moisture still in it, it will get moldy.

  36. Have you tried swapping out the maple syrup for honey? I was considering doing that but wanted to get your opinion first:)

  37. Yes, it works well with honey. Depending on how thick it is, it could take some work to get it evenly distributed. But I bet your honey us always fresh;)


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