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DISCOVER VIBRANT & VEGANFULL

Vibrant and Veganfull (V&V) provides vegan recipes to support health and contributions to sustainability.  V&V also explores ideas and concepts to provide you informed choices for living more sustainably.


With love & hope for a better future for all of us - Jamie

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Coconut Maple-Glazed Granola with Buckwheat & Chia Seeds

I was late in life to loving granola and it really wasn't until I started making it myself that it truly appealed to me. I load my version up with all the flavors and tons of "extras" like chia seeds and coconut flakes (you MUST use the flakes so they become golden coconut chips) which make this granola a stand-out! I also like the buckwheat groats as a way to use more ancient grains and also not to let the groats languish in my pantry when I have a large bag and only a few recipes that really incorporate the grain (so far; you know, I'm always creating too!)


Make this recipe early morning on a Sunday before you start your day; officially. Let it cool on the counter while you run some errands and then come back to put it in an air-tight container to enjoy the rest of the week. My kids like to eat it warm from the oven by the fingers full too!

Sustainability Spotlight: This recipe (like probably many others you have come across) is a way to make a processed food at home. I know, it takes more time and more ingredients (see below vs. 1 bag at the store in this example). But...that processed good at the store has been loaded up with more sugars, oil, and potentially additives (you know, "for freshness") that are not evident in homemade recipes. They contain food dyes and preservatives that you probably can't even pronounce let alone understand what they actually are or do. Believe me, I'm not an expert! Even with a science background and a better chance at being able to pronounce the ingredients and "guess" at what they are than some, I typically am not confident in either interpretation.


Because you are intelligent, you have probably already jumped ahead here a little and thought, but Jamie! The amount of ingredients below all are somewhat processed to get to the store in order for you to buy them and combine them into your granola. AND, those processed foods had energy impacts (transit, warehousing, and packaging) as well as impacts from your cooking in a single batch vs. bulk cooking in a factory. You would be right...sort of.


It's really very complicated actually! Environmental impacts are not straightforward; they are complex because of the complexity of our culture and society. People of this planet, the one thing that you must take into consideration on sustainability efforts are environmental trade-offs. What is that?


Environmental trade-offs can be likened to opportunity costs. Those with a finance background already know, but I'll simplify as refresher or for maybe those that don't know what opportunity costs are and I'll use an example. Let's say that you have two ways to spend your money; one is right now for immediate use and one is later. If you spend it on the convenience brewed coffee now, you lose the opportunity to save the money, combine it to a larger sum and say buy a coffee machine in X amount of time. Opportunity costs are simply looking at the trade off of both decisions and deciding (and here's the important part) for yourself what decision you wish to make.


Environmental trade-offs are like that; you have to review the information and make decisions best for you and the resources you have at your disposal at the time you are making that decision. One of my decisions is health based (see above, my version is healthier), but also planet-based. I have these ingredients in my pantry at all times and I use them for numerous recipes and meals. That means that I am "saving" on my energy by extending the resources used to package and ship the base ingredients over many, many, many recipes vs. 1 bag of granola from the store.


Make your decisions about environmental impacts in the same way; what works for one doesn't necessarily work for another. I think if you try this recipe though, you will decide homemade granola vs. store granola is one of your trade-off choices too!


Ingredients:

  • 1 cup old fashioned oats (not quick cooking!)

  • 1/2 cup buckwheat groats

  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

  • 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

  • 2 tbsp chia seeds

  • Coconut-Maple Glaze

    • 2 tbsp unrefined coconut oil (the kind that tastes like coconut)

    • 4 tbsp maple syrup

    • 1 tsp vanilla paste

    • 1/2 tsp ground ginger

    • 1/4 tsp salt

    • 2 tsp ground cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees F and line a jelly roll pan with a silpat liner; set aside.

  2. Add all dry ingredients (oats through coconut flakes) into a large bowl; mix thoroughly

  3. Set a small skillet over medium-high heat and add all ingredients of Coconut-Maple Glaze. Whisk constantly and heat until the mixture turns bubbly. Remove from heat immediately and pour over your dry ingredients in the large bowl.

  4. Mix glaze over granola dry ingredients thoroughly and pour out onto prepared jelly roll pan. Spread as evenly as possible.

  5. Slide pan into oven and bake for ~18 minutes. Remove pan from oven (careful! it's hot) and stir granola. Slide pan back into the oven for another ~18 minutes or until coconut is golden and the granola has become crisped.

  6. Remove pan from oven, stir again and then set aside to cool.

  7. Store granola in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Serve over a smoothie bowl or plant-based yogurt (I've been loving the CocoJune Vanilla-Chamomile branded version with this!)


With love & hope for a better future for all of us - Jamie

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