Thank you everyone for all of the sweet birthday wishes! It was a splendid birthday indeed and I feel so loved and blessed. So far 25 is great!
Since we are not eating any grains I've had to brainstorm ideas for homemade granola since I cannot make my traditional recipes which call for oats and maple syrup. Lately I've been delving into the world of raw/live foods, which in a nut shell means foods that are not cooked or altered in any way that would break down the digestive enzymes and important minerals and nutrients.
I've been reading and doing a lot of research about what happens to certain foods once they are cooked and the benefits of eating raw fruits and veggetables. When you cook a vegetable the natural enzymes that aid in breaking down the sugars and starches are zapped by the high heat resulting in a "dead" vegetable....thus the reason for referring to "raw" foods as "living" foods. Now Im not saying that cooked vegetables have absolutely no nutrients but it is certain that they are drastically deminished and the final cooked product may be harder to digest without those important enzymes.
Where are you going with this Coco?....well the reason I call this recipe "rawnola" is because it is just that...raw. Rather than cooking the granola in the oven I dehydrate it in a dehydrator at a very low heat for several hours, resulting in a crunchy "this tastes like it was baked" rawnola. Of course if you do not have a dehydrator you can easily make this in your oven set on the lowest temperature.
One more thing I would like to address are the nuts. Nuts are high in protein, potassium, calcium, magnisium, and healthy polyunsaturated fats. However, nuts also contain enzyme inhibitors on the outer skin. The inhibitors are useful to seeds and nuts because they keep them from sprouting prematurly; however this is not good for us because it makes the nuts and seeds harder for us to digest. Neutralizing these inhibitors will awaken a whole slew of healthy enzymes that are nurishing for our bodies.
So how do we break down these inhibitors? Soaking. Soaking, sprouting and fermenting has been around for thousands of years so this method is not the latest fad or trend. By simply soaking your nuts, seeds, legumes, and grains for several hours in warm, filtered water will allow the final product to be brought to its fullest potential. Our bodies can then naturally digest and use the minerals and vitamins that would otherwise have been insoluble.
This delicious rawnola is naturally sweetened with raw dates and honey and the hint of the fresh vanilla gives a unique flavor with each mouthful. I love to snack on this when I have a "sweet craving" or just needs somethin' crunchy.
This granola is 100% raw, dehydrated at the low temperature of 105F. Enzymes are said to withstand a food temperature of no higher than 118F. If you do not have access to a dehydrator you may make this in the oven at the lowest temperature possible. OR you can do this au natural and dry the rawnola in the warm sun outside (protected from unwanted pests of course!)
HOW TO SOAK
Soaking is extremely easy and takes just a few minutes. You MUST start with raw nuts. Pour the nuts or seeds in bowls (do not mix different types of nuts or seeds because they all require different amounts of soaking times). Cover the nuts/seeds with warm, filtered water (I pour filtered water in a tea kettle and heat until warm, not hot!). Cover the bowl with a paper towel to keep the buggies out and leave alone for the appropriate time. If you notice the water being absorbed feel free to add more warm water to keep them covered. Once your seeds/nuts are done soaking drain the water and rinse well with cold water. Dry the nuts completely either on the counter, in a dehydrator, or in the warm sunshine. Store them in glass jars in the refrigerator or freezer (Nuts spoil easily and are best stored in the fridge or freezer).
***FOR A MORE CRUNCHY RAWNOLA AND LESS DEHYDRATING TIME DRY YOUR SOAKED NUTS COMPLETELY AND THEN PROCEED WITH THE RECIPE***
-Cashews, Pine Nuts, & Macadamia Nuts: 1-2 hours (these will get slimy if soaked too long)
-Pumpkin, Sesame, & Sunflower Seeds: 4-8 hours
-Brazil nuts, Pecans & Walnuts: 4-6 hours
-Almonds, Hazelnuts & Pistachios: 7-24 hours
* I like to soak all nuts and seeds (aside from cashews, pine nuts and macadamia nuts) overnight or longer. This can sometimes result in the seed/nut sprouting or growing a little "tail". This is very normal and very nutritious. I hope to learn more about sprouting and sprouts because they are rich in life giving nutrients.
Vanilla Bean Raw-Granola
- 2 cups raw almonds (soaked)
- 1 cup raw walnuts (soaked)
- 1 cup pumpkin seeds (soaked)
- 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 6 pitted raw dates (if you buy dried dates soak them in warm water until they are plump and juicy)
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 TBSP honey
*Feel free to experiment with different types of nuts/seeds/dried fruits used in this recipe.
To make the binding ingredients place the dates, water,honey, vanilla seeds, salt and cinnamon in a food processor and process on high until a paste forms. Set aside.
Then place your nuts and pumpkin seeds in a food processor and coarsely chop (do not over process or you will have nut flour!).
Pour the chopped nut mixture in a bowl and toss with the date mixture. Make sure you coat the nuts evenly.
To Dry in Dehydrator: pour the rawnola onto your teflex sheet (with the mesh screen and tray underneath) and spread evenly unto a thin layer. Dehydrate at 105F (to keep the rawnola truly "live") for 24-48 hours depending on how crunchy you want it.
To Dry in the Oven: Line a couple of cookie sheets with parchment paper (not wax paper) and spread the granola evenly into a thin layer. Place in your oven at the lowest degree possible and dry until it is your desired texture.
To Bake in the Oven: Preheat oven to 250F. Line a couple of cookie sheets with parchment paper (not wax paper) and spread the granola evenly into a thin layer. Bake for about 30-45 minutes until is is your desired texture.
Makes about 4 cups.