Honey Orange Granola Recipe
Did you make resolutions to eat healthier and or save money in 2019? If so, I have very good news for you.
Learning (and loving) to cook for yourself and your family can help with both of those goals. This Honey Orange Granola recipe is simply one recipe to help you along the way.
How I Got into Cooking
One of my blog resolutions this year is to delve more deeply into the reasons why I love to cook, how it benefits my life, and how I’m certain it can benefit yours. Like I’ve mentioned before, I’m just a normal person who loves to eat and loves to cook. I have no professional culinary training. I don’t recall ever taking a cooking class in my life. Everything I’ve learned about food and cooking I’ve learned by watching Food Network, YouTube videos, reading books, and most of all, trial and error.
As it’s the start of the new year, I figured it would be fitting to share how and when I caught the cooking bug. (Scroll down if you just want to get to the recipe!)
I wasn’t someone who grew up cooking and baking with her mother and grandmothers. While they were all wonderful home cooks, the kitchen was their domain, and cooking seemed to go more smoothly without little hands getting into everything.
Rather, my desire to learn how to cook came about watching season one of Top Chef my freshman year of college.
I got really into watching the chefs prepare exotic and elegant dishes – duck confit, pork belly, truffles, panna cotta, ramps, and all these other fancy things that I had never tried – or heard of!
I was fascinated.
At the time, I still needed to learn how to properly make rice and bake chicken breast, but I was ambitious. I bought cookbooks, watched TV cooking shows, and tried something new every time I went out to eat, which I still do. I even attempted writing my own recipes – not that I ever made them.
The point is, cooking was a skill that I didn’t have, but wanted to have. So, I did the ONE thing I needed to do to learn and get better. I started cooking!
My First Attempts at Cooking
Since I lived at home through college, my family got to be my taste testers – whether they liked it or not. And boy did I make some flops.
I remember making a baked chicken and mustard dish (where I accidentally doubled the amount of mustard), and it was awful. I tried making gnocchi with instant potatoes (enough said). And I was constantly over using spices and herbs because I didn’t know that for some of them, a little goes a LONG way. (Hi, nutmeg!)
Despite the flubs, I kept practicing and got better little by little.
I even attempted to cook a dinner party for all my colleagues at the end of the year. You have no idea how proud I was that one out of the two dishes I made turned out acceptable! Sorry, guys!
Fast forward to moving to my own apartment for grad school, having to learn to cook on a gas stove, buy all my own groceries, and be completely independent in my own (tiny) kitchen. Gulp.
I typically stuck to pasta, potatoes, sandwiches, scrambled eggs, oh, and lots of TV dinners and junk snacks. Let’s just say, my love of Captain Crunch may have been responsible for my going up a few dress sizes.
What Changed My Perspective on Cooking…Forever
But then one night, (probably while eating Captain Crunch) I came across an article online about processed foods. It was eye-opening and disconcerting. I realized that not only had I been eating a lot of food that wasn’t nutritious; I was paying zero attention to ingredient labels and was actually consuming food that was really bad for me. I had been eating this way frequently, consistently, and with gusto.
That article woke me up and helped me change my behavior. I started scrutinizing food labels, and only bought products that had a short, recognizable, and pronounceable list of ingredients, or best, one ingredient. In short, I started eating more whole foods, more homemade meals, and less processed junk.
Even though it wasn’t my primary goal, I ended up losing about 15 pounds in one year after eating this way. I wasn’t a total stickler about it, and I’m still not. But I changed my habits from mostly eating junk to rarely eating junk. Plus, I started eating more “real” food and most importantly, started preparing most of my food myself. I found that not only was cooking enjoyable, it was also important for my well-being.
Making any kind of change can be difficult, but it was helpful for me to start looking at cooking and eating healthier by focusing on the positives.
Rather than denying myself the junk food I was used to eating, I focused on choosing to nourish and take care of my body with whole foods. I reminded myself that eating healthy and cooking more homemade meals would have long-term, personal benefits. From learning a new skill, to getting creative, to helping my family, and practicing self-care; I started to view cooking as both fun and good for me.
Focus on your new habit like this, and I bet you’ll actually enjoy making the change.
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How to Make Homemade Granola
To start you off, here’s an easy and flavorful Honey Orange Granola recipe that you can make ahead for breakfast. Once you have this recipe in your repertoire, you can say farewell to buying $5-8 boxes of packaged granola.
Oats are one of the cheapest ingredients you can buy. Besides oatmeal, you can make things like this granola, oatmeal cookies, add it to meatloaf, grind it and use it like flour (like in these Strawberry Sour Cream Pancakes), and the list goes on.
This granola is ever so gently sweetened with honey and flavored with bright, beautiful orange zest. It pairs wonderfully with yogurt and fresh fruit, or have it with your favorite milk. If you prefer it a little sweeter, feel free to add another tablespoon or two of honey. I added sliced almonds, banana chips, and ground flaxseed to mine, but of course, you can always add your favorite ingredients.
Granola Using Egg Whites?
Oh, and the secret to homemade granola that clusters up? A beaten egg white! Who knew? Actually several people knew, but now I’m telling you! Once you’ve combined all of the wet and dry ingredients, beat one egg white until frothy. Then, mix it into the granola. After it bakes and cools (for at least 10 minutes!), you’ll be able to scoop it in small pieces rather than loose flakes.
Wishing you lots of success with all of your 2019 goals and resolutions! Positivity and consistency will get you a long way.
Did you make this recipe? Let me know how it went for you in the comments below or by tagging me on social media @howtolovecooking #howtolovecooking!
Honey Orange Granola
This delicious granola is lightly sweetened with honey and flavored with fresh orange zest.
- 1 Egg White Whipped Until Frothy
- 3 Cups Old Fashioned Oats
- 3/4 Cup Sliced Almonds (Walnuts or pecans work well, too)
- ½ Chopped Banana Chips
- 2 TBS Ground Flaxseed
- 1/3 Cup Honey
- 1 Heaping tsp Orange Zest
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 3 TBS Vegetable or Canola Oil
- ¼ tsp Salt
- ¼ tsp Cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F, and line a large sheet pan with foil, parchment, or a silicone mat.
In a bowl, whip one egg white until frothy. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the oats, almonds, banana chips, and ground flaxseed.
In another bowl, mix together the honey, orange zest, oil, vanilla, cinnamon and salt.
Pour the honey and orange mixture over the oats mixture, and stir to coat. Lastly, add the frothed egg white to the oats, and stir again to coat. This is what will help your granola clump up!
Pour the granola mixture onto the lined baking sheet. Press on it gently to spread it out into a thin layer.
Bake the granola at 300 F for 30 minutes. Once toasted and golden, remove it from the oven, and allow it to cool on the pan for at least 10 minutes. Once cooled, break up the mixture with a spoon or spatula. Enjoy with milk, yogurt, over ice cream, or by itself!
This recipe is very gently sweetened with honey. The banana chips, orange zest, and vanilla add a little bit of extra sweetness. If you want your granola to be sweeter, feel free to add an extra tablespoon or two to the mixture or just drizzle some extra honey over top when serving. Enjoy!