The Easiest Yummiest Granola Recipe Ever

>> Thursday, April 23, 2009

This post is part of Thrifty Green Thursday at the Green Baby Guide.

My family eats granola for breakfast a couple times a week. We also have muffins a couple times, oatmeal at least once, and cold cereal (the really bad for you kind) on the weekends.

By my calculations, cold cereal is actually the cheapest of all of our breakfast options. I know that's counter-intuitive. Cereal has a reputation for being super expensive, and everybody says making food from scratch is cheap. But I never buy cereal unless it's less than $2 a box, even if that means we only get the not as good store brand kind. Some people I know use coupons and never pay more than $0.50 a box.

So why do we eat granola instead of cold cereal if it means paying more? Let me count the ways...

  1. It's healthier. Granola contains 4 grams of fiber and 6 grams of protein per serving compared to 1 or 2 grams of each in a typical box of cereal. Not to mention that granola contains no partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, artificial flavors, or food dyes.
  2. I can obtain some of the ingredients locally, particularly honey.
  3. It's made with simple ingredients that I can keep in my food storage rotation.
The following recipe is a simplification of a number of granola recipes that I've seen. I keep the recipe simple so my picky kids can customize it to their own tastes. One person can add a banana, another raisins and peanuts, another can have theirs plain...everyone's happy!

Easiest Yummiest Granola Ever

SERVINGS: 10
APPROXIMATE COST: $0.40/serving

2/3 cup honey
1 Tbsp. molasses
1/3 cup oil
5 cups oats
1/2 cup wheat germ
1 tsp. cinnamon
  • Mix honey, molasses, and oil in a saucepan. Heat until melted and mixed.
  • Combine oats, wheat germ, and cinnamon on a large baking pan.
  • Pour honey mixture over dry mixture and mix well.
  • Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes. Stir and cook for about 5 more minutes.
  • Let cool before eating.
You can also replace the oil with apple juice, but it makes the granola chewier.

How do you like your granola?

12 comments:

Joy April 24, 2009 at 10:37 PM  

Wonderful recipe! I have yet to try making homemade granola but you may have just moved me toward making my first batch this weekend. We love it sprinkled on yogurt and ice cream and the boxed granolas are often really high in sugar. Thanks for joining us this week for Thrifty Green Thursday!

Erin aka Conscious Shopper April 25, 2009 at 8:00 PM  

Joy - My family loves this granola. Hope it works out for your family!

Rebecca April 28, 2009 at 5:44 PM  

I remember reading in the Tightwad Gazette that cold cereal is the most expensive breakfast compared to homemade muffins, pancakes, etc. I think I calculated it myself and also found that cereal was our most expensive breakfast, considering the cost of milk and the actual serving size (rather than recommended serving size).

So now I am curious to see how you calculated your breakfast expenses! (I love stuff like this; sometimes I go a bit overboard calculating serving costs of everything. . . .)

As for granola, that recipe does look delicious! I haven't made granola in a long time, but I may have to try this one! Thanks for the recipe!

Erin aka Conscious Shopper April 28, 2009 at 7:09 PM  

Rebecca,

Name brand cereal is definitely the most expensive option, but I only buy name brand cereal when it's on sale. If it's not on sale, I buy the store brand. I never pay more than $2 for a box of cereal, and my family of five eats almost a whole box of cereal in one breakfast. So $2 per breakfast is the comparison price.

A batch of granola costs about $4, and lasts us about two mornings. So the cost there is roughly the same. But we generally add fruit and nuts to granola, which increases the cost.

A batch of muffins also costs roughly $4 and lasts two days. But again, we usually eat muffins with a side of fruit or smoothies.

Cereal is for our lazy days, so we don't add fruit, and that's one reason it's cheaper. Also, if you use coupons, you can get cereal for much cheaper than I pay for it.

Another thing to keep in mind is that I'm using all organic ingredients (except the honey which is local) - it's very likely that granola and muffins are much cheaper with conventional ingredients.

I've found that a lot of homemade foods actually aren't cheaper than the store brand versions - they can buy their ingredients in huge bulk sizes that aren't practical for a home cook. But the homemade version tastes better almost 100% of the time.

My next post is going to include my price book, so you can see about what I'm paying for things. You might find it interesting...

Rebecca April 29, 2009 at 12:58 PM  

Oh yes, that will be very interesting to check out your price book!

Don't you eat the cereal with milk? Organic milk can cost around $6/gallon, though as a "conscious shopper" I am sure you would never pay that much. I pay $1.79 for a half gallon of hormone-free milk from a local dairy (it's not organic). I don't know how much milk five people would put on a box of cereal--maybe a quart? Wouldn't that add at least a dollar to the breakfast price?

I always think of the price of things in terms of cost per pound. Cereal is often well over $2.00/lb. (on sale), whereas organic oats can be found for $.50/lb.

I'm looking forward to your calculations. I haven't figured out how much my own breakfasts cost lately . . . maybe I should try to do that!

Erin aka Conscious Shopper April 29, 2009 at 10:41 PM  

Rebecca - We have milk with every type of breakfast, so that doesn't really change the prices. But actually, I spend more than $6/gal on milk. It's one of the areas where I splurge because I like supporting a local farmer (we buy milk at the farmers market).

Where are you getting organic oats for .50/lb??!! That's awesome! That would definitely make granola cheaper than cereal.

If you do your own calculations, let me know what you come up with!

Rebecca April 30, 2009 at 12:57 PM  

If you use milk for every breakfast, I can see how cereal would be the same or cheaper. I think this wouldn't be the case for me. Cereal would mean the cost of cereal plus milk, whereas other breakfasts wouldn't have that milk expense.

As for the oats, they sometimes go on sale for $.50/lb at Fred Meyer, but the regular price is $1.00. So I can't count on that price!

I tried calculating the cost of my breakfast. I usually eat toast with peanut butter. If a loaf of bread costs $.75 and I can get 15 slices out of it, that's $.05/slice. (Obviously I am talking about homemade bread!) I get natural peanut butter for $1.50/lb, and there are 15 servings in a jar, so that's $.10/two tablespoons. So, one breakfast serving = $.25.

Who knows if I did those calculations right!

Erin aka Conscious Shopper April 30, 2009 at 10:07 PM  

Rebecca - Wow! I'm having price envy...I discovered when I moved to Raleigh that for some reason food is very expensive here. Food is much more expensive here than it was in Maryland, and Whole Foods is practically my only choice for organics. But housing is super cheap compared to there, so I guess that's a good compromise!

Rebecca May 1, 2009 at 12:32 AM  

Here in Portland we have a lot of organic options, and Whole Foods is definitely the most expensive! I don't get organic everything, though. I buy natural peanut butter at Grocery Outlet, for example, for $1.50/lb. I think that costs almost $5/lb at Whole Foods. (I don't think you have Grocery Outlet in N.C. I wrote a post on the Green Baby Guide a while back on the organic deals that can be found there!)

Anonymous,  May 5, 2009 at 4:54 PM  

Speaking of peanut butter, I'm trying to go even cheaper than Rebecca in Portland (where I used to live!) Since peanuts grow so well here in NC, I've planted rows of them in the garden and later I'll roast and grind them up into peanut butter! Also, if you shop online and buy oats and such in bulk quantities, it's a lot cheaper than in the retail stores. Bulkfoods.com has some pretty good deals for large sizes that you can split with people - and the shipping's free if you spend over $75. I used to routinely plunk down $60 or so, for two half-filled bags at Whole Foods, but now I'm starting to find local farmers who sell everything from eggs and meat, to veggies and honey! Oh, and I just made my first batch of delicious yogurt (2 quarts) that I made overnight in a crockpot, and sprinkled with homemade granola for breakfast! YUUUMMMM! I never dreamed it would be so much fun trying to save money creatively! Good Luck Everybody!

Erin aka Conscious Shopper May 5, 2009 at 5:19 PM  

Anonymous - Since you say you're from NC, I hope you're planning on coming back to my site and sharing your sources for local foods! :)

Viagra April 14, 2011 at 4:40 PM  

I'm agreed with you brother, this is one of the most delicious and nutrional and healthy, I love to eat it with fruits, specially with a good fruit cocktail.

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