Homemade Granola

Bored with your everyday, off-the-shelf breakfast cereals? Try something new: this recipe! ;-) The best thing about it: it's totally versatile! Not in the mood for dried figs? Try dried dates! Tired of dried apricots ? Try dried pears or apples! Dried cranberries or cherries don't tickle your fancy? Try dried mango or papaya! Substitute pecans, walnuts, and/or peanuts for the almonds and/or cashews! You're getting the idea, right?! Have fun with this recipe and many, many good mornings! :-)

Ingredients (makes about 12 cups):

4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
2 cups sweetened, shredded coconut
2 cups sliced almonds
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup good-quality honey
1 1/2 cups small-diced dried apricots
1 cup small-diced dried figs
1 cup dried cherries
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup roasted, unsalted cashews

Tip: If you cannot find roasted, unsalted cashews, buy unroasted, unsalted ones and toast them with the oats, coconut, and almonds.

Preparation (about 20 minutes plus 45 minutes baking time):

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Toss the oats, coconut, and almonds together in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the oil and honey. Pour the liquids over the oat mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until all the oats and nuts are coated. Pour onto a 13 x 18-inch baking sheet. Bake, stirring occasionally with a spatula, until the mixture turns a nice, even golden brown, about 40 to 45 minutes.

3. Remove the granola from the oven and allow to cool, stirring occasionally.

4. Add the apricots, figs, cherries, cranberries, and cashews and toss gently, but thoroughly. Store the cooled granola in an air-tight container.

Now you can start everyday with a bowl-full of your homemade granola with lots of cold milk ... Enjoy!