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Blueberry Coconut Granola

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I love blueberries!  They are known as an antioxidant powerhouse!  Just the other day I was out doing my grocery shopping and stumbled upon a pretty amazing deal at Whole Foods.  Fresh, organic blueberries were on sale!  So, I bought a case.  Yep a case!  I had no idea what I was going to do with a case of them but it was just to good of a deal to pass up and I had no doubt in my ability to consume them. (haha)  Ever seen a squirrel with his cheeks puffed out with acorns?  Now picture me with my cheeks puffed out with blueberries.  :)  When I created this recipe for Blueberry Coconut Granola, I used raw honey because I enjoy the depth it brings to a recipe but if you are Vegan, please just substitute it with your favorite sweetener.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups raw, gluten-free oats, soaked overnight (read down below)
  • 3 cup fresh blueberries, organic** (if frozen thaw before using)
  • 1 cup raw coconut flakes, unsweetened
  • 1 cup raw almonds, soaked overnight
  • 1 cup raw pecans, soaked overnight
  • 1 cup raw pumpkin seeds, soaked overnight
  • 1/2 cup  majool dates, soak until softened
  • 1/4 cup raw agave nectar
  • 2 Tbsp raw honey
  • 2 Tbsp cold press coconut oil, melted
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • ****4 Tbsp Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar and 6 cups of water – see below

Preparation:

  1. Overnight step: soak your oats in 6 cups of water in a bowl all by themselves along with the apple cider vinegar.  When ready to use, drain and rinse very well. Read here as why you should soak the oats.
  2. Overnight step: soak the nuts in a bowl of water, do this during the same time you are soaking the oats.
  3. When ready to assemble – Drain, rinse and rough chop the nuts in the food processor.  Pour into a large-sized bowl and mix in the coconut flakes, oats and 1 1/2 cups blueberries.
  4. In the food processor combine the honey, agave, 1 1/2 cup blueberries, coconut oil, salt, dates, and vanilla extract. Process till well incorporated.
  5. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and stir until everything is well coated.
  6. Spread the granola mixture on non-stick teflex sheets that come with your dehydrator.
  7. Dry on 105 degrees for about 24 hours or until dry.
  8. Store in an airtight container in the fridge to extend the shelf life.
  9. Eat as is as a snack or pour nut milk over it for a breakfast cereal.

Good things come in small packages: Introducing the – Blueberry!

  • The highest antioxidant level of all fresh fruit
  • Neutralizes free radicals which can affect disease and aging in the body
  • Aid in reducing belly fat
  • Helps promote urinary tract health
  • Been proven to help preserve vision
  • Good for brain health
  • Helps prevent heart disease
  • Eases constipation & Digestion
  • Cancer fighter

How to Select and Store:

  • Choose blueberries that are firm.
  • Shake the container, noticing whether the berries have the tendency to move freely; if they do not, this may indicate that they are soft and damaged or moldy. Avoid berries that appear dull in color or are soft and watery in texture. They should be free from moisture since the presence of water will cause the berries to decay.
  • When purchasing frozen berries, shake the bag gently to ensure that the berries move freely and are not clumped together, which may suggest that they have been thawed and refrozen. Blueberries cultivated in the United States are available from May through October while imported berries may be found at other times of the year.
  • Ripe blueberries should be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator where they will keep for about a week, although they will be freshest if consumed within a few days. Always check berries before storing and remove any damaged berries to prevent the spread of mold. But don’t wash berries until right before eating as washing will remove the bloom that protects the berries’ skins from degradation.
  • Ripe berries can also be frozen, although this will slightly change their texture and flavor. Before freezing, wash, drain and remove any damaged berries. To better ensure uniform texture upon thawing, spread the berries out on a cookie sheet or baking pan, place in the freezer until frozen, then put the berries in a plastic bag for storage in the freezer. Berries should last up to a year in the freezer.

 

Why is it important to soak oats?

I will be honest with you, this is something new that I have learned.  Here’s an extract from Nourishing Traditions which explains the reason why oats need to be soaked.

All grains contain phytic acid (an organic acid in which phosphorous is bound) in the outer layer or bran. Untreated phytic acid can combine with calcium, magnesium, copper, iron especially zinc in the intestinal track and block their absorption. This is why a diet high in unfermented whole grains may led to serious mineral deficiencies and bone loss. The modern misguided practice of consuming large amounts of unprocessed bran often improves colon transit time at first but may lead to irritable bowel syndrome and, in the long term, many other adverse effects. Soaking allows enzyme, lactobacilli and other helpful organisms to break down and neutralize phytic acid. As little as seven hours of soaking in warm acidulated water will neutralize a large portion of phytic acid in grains. The simple practice of soaking cracked or rolled cereal grains overnight will vastly improve their nutritional benefits.

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Blueberry-Coconut-Granola

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