Pumpkin Granola

Grain Free Pumpkin Spice Granola

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When people ask me what I eat for breakfast (after I explain I do my best to avoid grains), my response is usually eggs and vegetables.  Sometimes vegetables with bacon or chicken.  But always vegetables.  When I first made the decision to embark on a paleo lifestyle, I had to reevaluate what I ate for breakfast. The SAD (Standard American Diet) consists mostly of cereal or toast in the morning and these nutrient poor foods were going to have to go.  Even oatmeal would have to be left behind.  It wasn’t long, however, before I went looking for alternatives to my staple morning meal of eggs.

#canned pumpkin #almond butter #full fat coconut milk #shredded coconut

011One of the best books I ever bought that both explained my whole, nutrient dense food options and provided a ton of great recipes was Practical Paleo by Diane Sanfilippo at Balanced Bites.  She provides a fantastic resource of meal plans for getting started toward finding out how food affects you personally and a path to wellness tailored for you.

There is one recipe in this book that I have been making consistently over the years, so much so that I have added it to my backpacking meals and it is my favorite morning sustenance on the trail.  At home I mix up a batch on Sunday and enjoy it during the week as porridge and in the spring I start dehydrating batches for a granola mix to take on my hikes.  Not only does it taste delicious (think pumpkin pie or pumpkin spice latte), it has tons of nutrition like fiber, protein, fat and Vitamin A (a fat soluble vitamin).  And the calories make it perfect for energy to get started in the morning.

017I have included the recipe below but when I make this I have to be honest that I just dump the ingredients into the bowl by sight (a can of this, a dollop of that), so every batch is a little different.  You can use the almond butter or whatever your favorite nut or seed butter is.  I also make this with different kinds of sweetener.  Lately, I have been using molasses for the iron and richness it provides.  I have also been experimenting with adding fresh grated ginger and it is amazing.

027A single serving recipe might look something like this:

  • 3 Tb almond butter
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 3 Tb full fat coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp clove
  • 1/4 tsp powdered ginger
  • 1 Tb shredded coconut
  • 1 Tb raisins
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 Tb sliced almonds (optional)

Combine all the ingredients and heat until warm. Tastes like pumpkin pie!

For this batch of granola I did this:

  • 1 29oz canned pumpkin
  • 1 cup tahini
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 2 cups coconut cream
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp of all the above spices
  • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup

018When I know I am going to be dehydrating it, I skip the water and use coconut cream (extra calories, too).  For my dehydrator, I don’t have anything fancy.  In fact, it is my uncle’s hand-me-down.  I tell all my friends, just put a post on Facebook that you are looking for a dehydrator because at least one of them has one sitting in the garage gathering dust.  Here’s mine American Harvest, the snack model.  Has held up fine for 3 years now.

You will need the jelly sheets for the trays, I found extra at a kitchen supply store at the outlet mall.  They don’t have to fit perfectly.

022Spread the porridge out on the trays to about 1/4 of an inch.  The thinner you have it, the quicker it dries but you want it thick enough that it makes a chunky granola when it crumbles.  Set the temperature to fruit/vegetables and it should take about 24 hours (time varies depending on thickness).  Your house will smell SO good!

You will know it is done when it lifts off the sheet and starts to crumble.  Start checking on it as the time approaches, some spots will dry faster than others.  018Once it starts to lift off, I break it up into large pieces but keep it in the dehydrator until completely dry.

040I then break it into granola size pieces and mix with a variety dried fruit, nuts, seeds and extra powdered coconut milk (I talk more about powdered coconut milk here).  043Last year I dried mashed bananas to crumble in and it was super delicious (albeit a major sugar rush).  I normally eat this cold, but if you use hot water it will be more like a porridge for those cold early mornings on the trail.

051I use the snack size ziploc bags, they are easy to add water to and hold to eat.

045I sometimes carry a plastic container with lid, and then I use a sandwich size bag as I can put it in the bowl and open the bag like a liner to eat the granola.  This batch made about 2 1/2 cups of granola (about 4-5 servings) but you can extend that the more dried fruit and nuts you add.  It has a lot of flavor and goes a long way.

I have to admit that when backpacking, this is actually my “second” breakfast.  First breakfast is when I am breaking camp and is usually few Lara bars because I am walking before 5:30am and not that hungry yet.

Oregon PCT

Oregon PCT-My view for second breakfast as the sun came up.

After I have put in a few miles and the sun is up, I stop to eat something more substantial. When hiking with others and I am asked about what I eat for breakfast, this recipe is the one most requested.  I hope you enjoy it!

 

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