Berry Cherry Almond Granola

Growing up, if we didn’t like what was being served for dinner…we could have cereal. To my brother and I, that was like saying, “Here, skip straight to dessert!” We were (and are) both cereal-holics. It’s a trigger food. If there’s a box of Frosted Mini Wheats or Honey Bunches of Oats in the pantry, consider it gone. For some it’s chocolate…for others it’s chips or ice cream. For me, it’s cereal.

However, there’s always a box of Kashi puffed rice cereal in my pantry. It’s the one cereal I keep on hand that doesn’t call my name from afar. I mean, it’s good, but it’s no Honey Bunches of Oats…

When Mr. Prevention starts to huff and puff about the over-stuffed (which it very much so is) pantry, he always wants to pick on my box of Kashi. Sure, I don’t eat the puffed rice cereal as is…but it’s on hand for recipes such as this.

So when berries are in season (now!), I don’t have to pause to travel the 1 mile to the grocery store for cereal…I can just get started. Valid, no?

Let’s just say no one’s complaining then…

Puffed rice cereal is extremely low in calories and acts as a crunchy filler in recipes such as granola, helping to keep the calories down and the fiber up, up, up!

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Berry Cherry Almond Granola slightly adapted from Healthy Food for Living

1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 1/2 cups puffed brown rice cereal
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp Kosher salt
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup raspberries, fresh or frozen & thawed
1/4 cup strawberries, fresh or frozen & thawed
1/2 tsp pure almond extract
1/3 cup sliced almonds
1/3 cup dried unsweetened cherries, roughly chopped

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

Measure the oats and rice cereal into a large bowl, set aside.

Puree raspberries and strawberries in a food processor or blender. You should end up with 1/4 cup puree. If you’re short short, supplement with unsweetened applesauce until you have a full 1/4 cup of fruit puree.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the cinnamon, salt, maple syrup, fruit puree, and almond extract. Whisk until very smooth.

Pour wet ingredients over dry and stir until the oats and rice cereal are evenly coated. Spread mixture on the prepared cookie sheet in an even layer.

Bake for 15 minutes. Remove sheet from the oven, stir the sliced almond into the granola, and bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until the granola is golden brown and crisp.

Remove granola from the oven, toss with dried cherries, and cool completely. Store in an airtight container. Yield: 4 cups (8 servings; 1/2 cup each)

Nutritional Information (per 1/2 cup serving): 171 calories; 6.3 g. fat; 0 mg. cholesterol; 119 mg. sodium; 26.4 g. carbohydrate; 3.4 g. fiber; 4.3 g. protein

Result: I am in shock as to how intense the berry flavor turned out! While most granola offers a sweet taste with commonly a peanut butter, maple, or honey twist, this offers the tang of fruit. This kept well on the counter to nibble on throughout the week. Thumbs up from Mr. P…he loves granola. Or, any carbohydrate that he can get his hands on. Enjoy!

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And for a Friday smile..

That’s butternut squash she’s eating. Loved the stuff. Who knew? 😉

Question: What’s your favorite cereal? Only one!

TGIF!

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17 Comments

  1. July 15, 2011 / 6:28 am

    Cinnamon Toast Crunch!! Um…your puree is perfect.

  2. July 15, 2011 / 6:43 am

    Seriously, frozen berries in a granola?!? That’s awesome!! I’ll have to give this a try (it’s going on my list). Like you, I love cereal, but I don’t eat it as often anymore because of the whole “no wheat” thing. When I do, I typically choose Frosted Mini Wheats, or cheerios, but my ALL TIME FAVORITE is Cinnamon Toast Crunch (and f=Fiber One makes a cinnamon streusel that tastes just as good!).

  3. July 15, 2011 / 7:41 am

    I love making my own granola, but this addition of berries sounds wonderful. I’m going to the farmer’s market this morning so I’m going to pick up some berries!

  4. July 15, 2011 / 9:09 am

    Oooh, that sounds yummy!!! I love that it’s low in added refined sugar with using the berry puree!

  5. Liz
    July 15, 2011 / 9:13 am

    I’m not a big cereal person, but I love homemade granola! I try not to make it to often because it disappears. love the idea of adding some puffed rice to ligthen it. I am definitely going to make this!

  6. July 15, 2011 / 11:50 am

    This looks delicious! I love granola..maybe a little too much!
    Loving the berry puree. So clever!
    Have a great weekend, Nicole!

  7. July 15, 2011 / 12:04 pm

    Homemade granola is the best…and I love the berry flavor in this one!! Awww, Lily is such a cutie! 🙂

  8. July 15, 2011 / 12:38 pm

    Im in love with the Kashi berry cereal. I cant remember what its called, but its the one with the dried berries. Two different kinds of berries. Raspberries AND strawberries. Thats what won me over.

    Lily is so cute – my moms dog loves cauliflower. I used it to teach her how to high five. Theyre so strange that way.

  9. July 15, 2011 / 12:41 pm

    Love the idea of using fruit puree! Definitely saving this one.

  10. July 15, 2011 / 12:45 pm

    Hi Nicole, oooh….what a stellar recipe. (and cracks me up that Mr. P whines about stacked cupboards, my husband does that sometimes too…they sound very much alike!) Lily eats butternut squash??? That’s hilarious! She’s lovely! TGIF indeed, hope its a good one!

  11. July 15, 2011 / 12:56 pm

    I’d have a hard time keeping that granola in my house….I’d go through it way too fast!! Cinnamon Toast Crunch is my favorite but I haven’t had it in forever!

  12. July 15, 2011 / 1:56 pm

    Big clusters of granola! That’s always been my favorite form of cereal. This looks amazing. So cool that you used puffed cereal in it.

  13. July 15, 2011 / 7:23 pm

    What a good idea and great looking recipe! I love how the serving size is 1/2 cup when most granola is 1/4 🙂 YUM!

  14. July 16, 2011 / 7:00 am

    Cute Lily! I actually just learned that pumpkin and Bnut squash is really good for dogs!

    I can’t keep cereal around either but this granola sure does look delicious!

  15. July 16, 2011 / 3:45 pm

    I love making homemade granola, but never thought of adding berry puree! What a nice touch!

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