I’m always on the lookout for healthy recipes and my sister suggested we make granola because it was easier and cheaper than buying the stuff, with half the sugar too! So I figured, why not make this a ‘Cali themed’ post with some healthy, refined sugar free granola, made with jumbo oats, protein powder, pecans, walnuts and california raisins. I find eating sugar makes me hungry again really quickly, while this granola is a lot more wholesome and filling, and makes a great topper for greek yoghurt, smoothies and oatmeal, perfect for this hot, muggy, (LA in march) weather, here in England! (plus, granola is way easier to make than it looks; no scales needed!)
Taking photos for this was a little rushed as I had to cut short to head to my birthday meal (cause this girl just turned 21, hell yeah), so it was still cooling on the tray when I was walking out the door. I was hoping to shoot this with some gorgeous ways to eat it but now I have gone to stay with some family so I am once again separated from my precious granola *sob*; thankfully it lasts up to 2 weeks in a sealed container so it’ll be waiting for me when I get back. 😀 I’m a big fan of smoothie, porridge, yoghurt bowls, so I’m excited to get back to making some gorgeous Instagram worthy art soon with this granola..
I feel like this recipe really fits in with the Californian way of eating healthily, all the health food fads are known and well catered for in LA especially. LA is such a great city and spending my time there over Thanksgiving was incredible! Me and a few British friends decided to go because everyone American was, of course, with their families and college was out for the whole of the week leading up to it. It felt like Christmas come early!
This blog is called ‘Bakes, Cakes, and Protein Shakes’ but I feel like I have never really opened up about why the ‘protein shakes’ fits into the picture! I am a very sporty person, practically living in the gym when I am not in the kitchen, and I do two martial arts (guess which ones in the comments!) and competitive powerlifting. So I eat a very high protein diet to help my muscles recover, which often involves a protein shake or two for convenience, but I like to throw some protein in recipes too sometimes!
That’s why one of my favourite pre/post-workout snacks is 0% Plain Greek Yoghurt or some oats, mixed with lemon curd, berries and this granola. It’s a great crunch with all the smoothness of the yoghurt/oats and tart, softness of the berries. Sorry, I got sidetracked, back to the story…
So we stayed in a gorgeous little apartment just off of Hollywood Boulevard, a side street away from the Ripley’s Believe it or Not! museum and the Chinese Theatre, which was very convenient to see the sights and for getting to the subway system. One of the first mornings there I caught the subway and a bus over to Barbell Brigade gym, to work out and hopefully meet some of my powerlifting role models from their YouTube channels ‘Barbell Brigade’ and ‘JustKiddingFilms’. If you haven’t seen them, check them out, they have some great posts on form for powerlifting and accessory moves, as well as funny vlogs and an informal chat show debunking fitness myths.
We also went to Santa Monica on our first and last days in Cali as it was a bus ride away from LAX and because in classic karma fashion, the weather was the nicest on the day we arrived and the one we left! It is honestly the most gorgeous beach I have ever been to, I could’ve stayed there forever.
We rounded off our West Coast trip with Thanksgiving evening and a potluck, with a few friends joining us for some home cooked food and a lot of wine, before flying back while the sun set. It was the perfect trip. I suppose I should give you the recipe now, I’ve not talked this granola up much… sorry 😛
Makes 4-8 servings, adapted from Elizabeth Rider’s recipe.
1/2 tsp ground ginger1 tbsp cinnamon
1 cup oats (jumbo works best)
2-3 tbsp honey/agave/maple syrup
1 tbsp coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup pecans
1/4 cup walnuts
1/3 cup seeds (I used chia)
1/4 cup raisins/dried fruit
Pinch of sea salt
To make it protein:
2 scoops protein powder (I used chocolate flavour here)
2-3 tbsp sugar-free syrup (if using protein powder) (I used chocolate MyProtein, but Walden farms’ would work!)
Preheat your oven to Gas Mark 3/150°C/300°F. Line a baking tray with foil or baking parchment.
Melt the coconut oil and add your liquid sweetener of choice. Mix in the salt.
In a seperate bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients. Add to the wet ingredients and stir thoroughly to cover all of the oats, seeds, nuts and fruit. If the mixture is a little dry and not clumping together enough add a little more syrup. If the mixture is too wet, add more oats. Taste the mixture and add more spices if you feel it needs it.
With your hands, scatter the granola on the baking sheet, breaking up any large pieces into small bitesize ones.
Bake for 10 minutes, then with two teaspoons, break up the granola and unstick it from the baking sheet. If the granola isn’t quite done (mine wasn’t), put back into the oven for another 10-15 minutes until crispy.
Cool, then sprinkle with more chia and cinnamon (I sprinkled cinnamon very liberally. It got everywhere.) Keep in an airtight jar/container for up to 2 weeks.
Enjoy! This is a great thing to have for breakfast for a hit of some filling oats and honey for carbs, chia, pecans and walnuts for healthy fats and protein powder, for, well, protein! Mine were cinnamon and chocolate themed but why not play around with the add ins? Mix some mini chocolate chips in once its cooled? Or some candied peel, or peanuts? You could even substitute some melted peanut butter in for half the coconut oil! Or use this as a base for some oat bars, just add less oats so the mixture is wetter and press into a square pan. Easy!
Until next time, keep baking (and eating)!
Love Sian xxx