This guest post is from our favorite ladies, Natalie and Holly, over at The Modern Proper. Their mission is to reinvent proper for the modern homemaker, one delicious meal at a time. Check out more of their delicious recipes here.
Have you seen that meme that goes “How do I stop eating chips and salsa? Do they run out or do I die or what?” I think we can all identify with that question. For my kids though, insert “snack food” into the place of chips and salsa. My kids literally do not know how to stop eating it, which is why I rarely buy it.
Don’t get me wrong, I love having some healthy, kid-friendly protein bars, packages of nuts, or even the occasional apple sauce pouch to stash in my purse for emergencies, super busy mornings, or those afternoons when my children are suddenly “starving” an hour before dinner time. But there’s just something about the packaging that convinces my children that their sole purpose in life is to consume it all at record speed. My 2.5 year old little boy will often wake us up at 5:30 am begging for a granola bar if he knows they’re in the house. We give in and beg him to go back to bed, which he does for another hour or so. When he wakes up it’s like it never happened and he wants another. And then he repeats the request hourly. It’s not like these snacks in and of themselves are so bad, but the constant snacking does diminishes my kids appetite at meal times, and that I’m not cool with.
My solution has been to simply not buy any prepackaged snacks, whether they’re healthy or not. Hiding them doesn’t work. (I’ve found my son on top of the refrigerator looking for them before.) And while it’s true that this would be a great time to teach my kids that yes means yes and no means no, quite frankly I just don’t want another battle.
I want the convenience of snack food (see above), without the gimmicks. Enter this satisfying and delicious homemade (yes that means NO packaging) coconut, fig, and almond granola. It’s got a little protein, a little fat, a few carbs, a little fruit, and a whole lot of goodness, making it pretty much the perfect snack for you and your little ones.
I now keep a container of this granola in my bag when headed out for the day and on hand at home for my daughter to have before school over yogurt or with some milk if she’s slept too late for a hot breakfast. And while my son loves it, because it doesn’t come in a shiny blue wrapper, he’s somehow not obsessed. Maybe you don’t have little food thieves in your home and your cupboards don’t require locks on them, well, you’ll still like it too, we promise.
4 cups old fashioned oats
2-2 1/2 cups sliced almonds (or any other kind of nuts)
1 1/2 cups coconut flakes (sweetened or unsweetened, depending on how sweet you like your granola)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup canola oil (or coconut oil)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or paste scraped from one vanilla bean
2 teaspoons almond extract
2 cups dried figs, chopped (or any other kind of dried fruit)
Preheat oven to 375° Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil or parchment paper. Oil the foil to prevent granola sticking to the bottom. Toss oats, nuts, coconut flakes and salt together in a bowl. In a separate bowl whisk together oil, honey, vanilla bean paste and almond extract. Stir into oat mixture and spread onto the foil lined baking sheet. Bake for 15 mins, turning and stirring the granola 1/2 way through to prevent uneven browning. Once your granola is finished baking, let it cool for 15 mins on the baking sheet. Once cooled, crumble the granola and stir in the dried fruit.