BY MEERA LESTER
My twin granddaughters, Savannah and Madison, like many of their high-school friends and soccer teammates, love to snack on healthy treats, as well as cookies, crackers, and baked goods. Such items also play a role in their soccer fundraising efforts. But when Savannah began having gastrointestinal issues and her doctor advised eliminating gluten from her diet, an early question arose.
What about granola? For the girls, granola is a quick out-the-door breakfast before school and energy pick-me-up after soccer practice. I offered a healthy solution and created a family activity—we make it ourselves from ingredients that are organic and gluten-free.
Crunchy peanut butter makes a natural, gluten–free binding agent. Oats are traditional, but we used gluten-free muesli since it already contains oats, coconut, almonds, and seeds. We added more of Savannah and Maddi’s favorites and used organics from my farmette, including honey harvested from my backyard hives and dried apricots.
Henny Penny Farmette Gluten-Free Granola
1/3 cup canola oil
1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter
1/2 cup organic honey
1/3 cup light brown sugar (or date sugar)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt (we omitted the salt since we used salted sunflower seeds)
1 16-ounce bag Gluten-Free Muesli (Bob’s Red Mill is also wheat and dairy free)
3 cups (total) of other ingredients: coconut, craisins, raisins, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, sunflower seeds, chopped dates, dried apricots, pecans, chocolate chips, or other favorites
Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit
Spray a (11 x 17-inch baking sheet) with canola oil
Whisk together oil, honey, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt in a large bowl until well mixed.
Add the muesli and all the other ingredients. Stir until combined.
Pour the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet and pack down firmly.
Bake for 30 minutes, turning the pan halfway during the baking process. Watch closely for over-browning during the last 15 minutes. Cover with foil if necessary to avoid burning.
Remove from oven and let set for 1 hour. Break the granola into chunks when cool and store in an airtight container or a zip top plastic bag.
Yields: 6 cups
Meera Lester has authored more than twenty nonfiction books, including The Everything Law of Attraction, 365 Ways to Look and Feel Younger, with Carolyn Dean, M.D. and The Marriage Devotional Her debut novel, A Beeline to Murder is loosely based on her experience as a farmette owner in the San Francisco Bay Area. She has four grandchildren she adores.
Meera Lester had written more than twenty nonfiction books, some translated into other languages, when she purchased land in northern California, launching her venture as farmette owner and cozy mystery writer. She purchased the run-down property east of the San Francisco Bay four years ago and promptly renamed it—the Henny Penny Farmette. She and her husband found and used recycled materials to remodel the house, build chicken pens and honeybee hives, and plant vegetables, fruit and nut trees, and flowers.
When she’s not tending her garden of heirloom, open-pollinated vegetables, keeping honeybees and chickens, and caring for an orchard of nut, fruit, and citrus trees, Meera’s blogging about life on the Henny Penny Farmette or writing scenes for her latest mystery. Her debut novel, A Beeline to Murder (Kensington Publishing)—the first in the Henny Penny Farmette cozy mystery series—features sleuth Abigail Mackenzie, former police officer and farmette owner, and her coterie of friends who live in Las Flores, a fictional small town south of San Francisco. Two more novels are already in the works.