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6 March 2015

Cinnamon Maple Nut Granola

Serves: 4
Time: 20 mins


Having been a student for 6 months now I have certainly learnt a little something about not having much money; that said it does not mean I compromise on the nutritional value of my food, if anything I have actually been healthier than before. When you're on a budget you're constantly looking for ways to stay cheap as well as completely nourished, since a few weeks ago when I made my chocolate orange granola I have been making quite a bit more and experimenting with different flavour combinations of granola; it's cheap, filling, nutritious and super tasty, what's not to like?!
Another way of saving money is to plan for about 4 different meals throughout the week that you can easily make up lots of portions with, for example by adding more lentils or using up the carbs you already have in the cupboard, this way you do not have to buy so many ingredients and you use up the ones you have. Also plan your meals to work together; if you buy mushrooms for one dish but only need to use half of them, plan another meal that has mushrooms in to use the rest up, curry's are also a great cheap meal, curry paste, coconut milk, some sort of legume (lentils, chickpeas etc) and some leftover veg are a great way of using up food that may be slightly past its best - in my experience you can pretty much put anything in a curry and it still tastes great, thanks to all those fragrant spices. Yesterday one of my friends at uni came by our house before getting the train home, he also brought with him some organic fair trade (perfectly ripe) bananas that he wasn't going to get to eat, it really did make my day and it was a bit of fruit! But my point is, sometimes little acts of kindness don't take anything away from you but can really make someone's day, so if there's a chance to make someone smile today or in the near future, take it and make a difference, even if it's only to one person & the world can become a more positive place. 


I was talking to someone the other day who couldn't believe it when I mentioned that I was vegan, her response being about how healthy I looked, which to me is definitely a compliment! Through the internet I have noticed a worldwide misconception about a vegan diet and what its purpose is, vegan diets are not there to starve people, its the exact opposite, they are there to provide maximum nourishment with minimal cruelty to everyone/thing around them, to me they are not boring and I look forward to every meal time (that could just be the foodie in me). I want to change people's perception that you can't be healthy on a vegan diet, I have honestly never felt better, and a large part of that is eating a mostly plant based diet and cutting out all junk food, even if I only ate a very small amount before. For over a month now I have not eaten any junk food and have been really focused on ensuring I eat balanced meals throughout the day, I have found I've been eat between 7-9 portions of fruit and veg a day. In the past two weeks especially I have noticed a real difference with my sleeping pattern, I have needed a lot less sleep than before and have been waking up naturally between 6.45-7.15 most days, despite not having any early morning lectures to attend. At first I was quite annoyed with this, I wanted my sleep and I like my lie ins, however I feel awake at that time so I get up and the days as a whole are more productive, I have the occasional afternoon nap, but on the whole I need so much less sleep than I used to and I actually feel awake, completely alive and ready for what the day brings. 

This next recipe is for cinnamon maple nut granola, the perfectly crunchy maple nut clusters infused with cinnamon, along with the sweet and slightly chewy texture of raisins, provide a nourishing breakfast that will keep you full! This granola is great served up with slices of fresh banana and chilled almond milk, for that added nutty flavour!  This recipe is amazing the way it is, but it is also designed to work with what ingredients you have, feel free to swap out the peanut butter for another nut butter and interchange the raisins with other dried fruit to keep the costs down and use up what you have. Just a tip - be careful what's actually in dried fruit, so many companies add sugar and oil to their mixes and things like apricots should actually be brown when dried, not bright orange! Sulfur Dioxide is added to many dried fruits to preserve the colour and make them more appealing to the consumer, however there are many claims that it has negative effects on the body such as stomach pains, skin rashes and impact on asthma sufferers - always read the label to know what you're buying!


You'll need:

  • Baking Tray
  • Mixing bowl
  • Silicone spatula/ wooden spoon
  • Measuring Cups

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1.5 tbsp maple syrup
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 1/4 cup chopped mixed nuts
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1.5 cups oats

Method:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 160°C.
  2. Mix together the peanut butter, maple syrup and water in a bowl until fully combined, then stir through the nuts, raisins, cinnamon and oats.
  3. Spread out on a baking tray and bake for 15 minutes, stirring a little half way through so the granola doesn't brown too much.
  4. Remove the granola from the oven and leave to cool until consuming, serve up with some slices of banana and dairy free milk & enjoy! Cassidy xx
Store the rest of the granola in an airtight container for 3-5 days.