This golden granola reminds me of summertime! The combination of chopped and chunky dried apricots and golden raisins taste great together. Apricot-Honey Granola has a lot of other good things that I often add to my homemade granolas: sunflower kernels, coconut flakes, wheat germ or flaxseed, and chopped nuts. It’s sweetened mostly with honey and a bit of brown sugar. You can serve it as a cereal with milk, in yogurt parfaits, or just as it is, for a snack.
APRICOT-HONEY GRANOLA by NancyC
Makes about 12 cups
- 6 cups old-fashioned oats
- 1 1/4 cups hulled, raw sunflower kernels (if using roasted, add them in after baking)
- 1 1/4 cups sweetened or unsweetened coconut flakes
- 1/2 cup wheat germ or ground flaxseed
- 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
- 3/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 3/4 cup light olive oil
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 cup golden raisins
- 2 cups chopped dried apricots
Preheat oven to 325˚F. Line two 10×15″ rimmed cookie sheets or one 13×18″ rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
In large bowl, toss the oats, sunflower kernels, coconut flakes, wheat germ or flaxseed, and chopped pecans; set aside.
In small microwaveable bowl, heat honey for 20 to 30 seconds to make the consistency thinner. Then, in medium size bowl, blend honey, brown sugar, olive oil, and salt, blending everything well.
Pour the honey mixture over the oat mixture and toss until the oat mixture is well-coated.
Spread this mixture onto the prepared baking sheet(s) and bake at 325˚F for 20 minutes; remove pan from oven to stir and toss the mixture (for even baking). Return to oven and bake an additional 15 minutes, until granola is golden.
Remove from oven and add the golden raisins and chopped dried apricots to the mixture on the pan; toss to combine everything well. Let mixture cool completely on pan (the mixture will get crunchier as it cools), then store in a tightly-sealed container for 2 to 3 weeks.
When I make granola in the summer, I usually do it early in the morning, when it’s still cool. I try to avoid using the oven later in the day because my place gets so hot! But it’s worth making this yummy granola, even if you do have to get up extra early to do it! 🙂 Have you made any granola lately? What do you like to add to yours?
Last fall, I made some homemade applesauce. I thought it was so much better than store-bought. After making that, I decided I needed to try making homemade apple butter sometime. Several friends have given me homemade apple butter the last few years–it makes a wonderful food gift, especially around the holidays. I discovered you can make apple butter with the slow cooker or on the stovetop, and for my first try I decided to make a stovetop version.
This recipe is really easy and it’s weetened with honey and apple juice or apple cider. You basically just put all the ingredients in a large pot and let it cook on low for an hour, until the apples get all tender and mashable. Then you let the mixture cool a little and puree to a smoother consistency in a food processor or blender. I love the cinnamony taste and I think that homemade apple butter, like homemade applesauce, is so much better than any you can buy!
STOVETOP APPLE CINNAMON BUTTER by NancyC
Makes 3 3/4 cups
- 8 cups peeled, cored, and chopped apples (about 8 medium, or 2 1/2 pounds)–I used Gala apples; if using organic apples, you can leave the skin on if you want
- 2/3 cup apple juice or apple cider
- 1/2 cup honey
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon allspice
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
In a large pot or saucepan, combine chopped apples with the rest of the ingredients. Stir well, cover pot, and cook on low for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Let mixture cool for 15 minutes, then, in several batches, put mixture in blender and puree until smooth (be careful not to overfill your blender or food processor!).
Store in jars with tight-fitting lids or airtight food containers and refrigerate for up to one week.
This apple butter is great on toast, muffins, biscuits, and scones. You can stir it into plain or vanilla yogurt to flavor it up more, or layer it with yogurt and granola for a breakfast parfait.
Have you ever made your own homemade apple butter?
I’ve had homemade applesauce before, but this is the first time I’ve made my own. And let me tell you, it’s so much better than store-bought! It’s not as convenient as buying it, but I think it’s worth the extra effort to make homemade applesauce if you have the time. It’s really easy to make your own–the most time-consuming part is peeling the apples. After that, it’s just a matter of mixing the ingredients in a saucepan and letting it cook for 25 minutes until the apples are soft. If you like chunky applesauce like me, you can just use a potato masher to mash those apples into applesauce. If you like your applesauce smooth, you can puree the cooled apple chunks in a blender (you may have to do that in several batches).
I like sweetening my applesauce with honey or maple syrup. If you prefer using brown sugar, you can use that instead. The cinnamon and nutmeg also give this applesauce a great flavor.
HOMEMADE APPLESAUCE (Sweetened with Honey or Maple Syrup) by NancyC
Makes about 4 servings
- 8 cups (3 pounds) apples, peeled, cored, and chopped or sliced (this would be about 8-9 medium-size apples; use your favorite variety)
- 1/2 cup apple juice or cider
- 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
- 3 Tablespoons honey or maple syrup (or substitute 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
In a medium-size saucepan, combine apples, juice or cider, honey or maple syrup, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Stir ingredients together, then cover and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 25 minutes, until apples are soft. Let apples cool, then mash them with a potato masher. Or you can puree them in a blender until smooth. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.
You can serve this applesauce chilled as a side dish or snack. Or for dessert, heat it and use as a topping over ice cream. You can also serve it warm or cool at breakfast as a topping for pancakes, a bowl of oatmeal, or a cup of plain or vanilla yogurt.
Have you made homemade applesauce before?
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Drinking lemonade in the summertime is always a treat, and it’s always a nice change of pace to try different lemonade flavors. I’ve made Strawberry Lemonade and Raspberry Lemonade before, so I thought I’d try making some Blackberry Lemonade. And I wanted to sweeten it with honey instead of sugar to make it a little healthier. I really like the way this tastes! It has a rich fruity flavor from the blackberries, but it’s very lemony, too. This is the perfect thing to drink on a hot summer day, as you’re sitting in a nice shady area outside…with your feet propped up…maybe even reading a good book!
BLACKBERRY HONEY LEMONADE by NancyC
Makes about 4-6 servings
- 1 1/2 cups fresh blackberries
- 4 cups cold water, divided
- 2/3 cup honey
- 3/4 cup lemon juice (or use 1 cup, if you want it really lemony)
- 2 lemons, sliced (use some for stirring into lemonade and some for garnish)
In a blender, add berries and 1 cup of the water and blend about 1 to 2 minutes, until berries are pureed. Strain the juicy part of the mixture into a small bowl with a wire mesh strainer, discarding the solids and seeds.
Heat a second cup of water with the honey in a small saucepan (or microwave in a microwave-safe container), bringing it to a boil; remove from heat and stir mixture until honey is dissolved in the water.
In a large pitcher (about an 8-cup size), pour remaining 2 cups of water, along with the lemon juice, the honey/water mixture, and the juicy blackberry mixture; stir everything well.
Refrigerate mixture until chilled. When ready to serve, add lemon slices to pitcher (save slices as a garnish for the serving glasses) and stir mixture to ensure all ingredients are well-blended. Serve over ice and garnish each glass with a lemon slice.
Of course there’s always good ol’ Fresh-Squeezed Lemonade, too…I like them all! Do you have a favorite lemonade recipe?