Woolwich & Wellesley Township's Local Community Newspaper | Elmira, Ontario, Canada

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Going au naturel in the kitchen

There is a huge trend to get away from processed foods and back to homemade foods. By eating fewer processed foods we are consuming a significantly lower amount of sodium, for one, as well as processed sugars and fats, such as high fructose-glucose sugars and corn syrups as well as trans-fats and hydrogenated fats.
We can replace these with a more natural approach by using honey and maple syrup in place of refined sugars and grape-seed oil or a quality canola oil in place of hydrogenated fats.

In discussions with many of our clients, controlling sodium intake is one thing that they are concerned about. We do not claim to be nutritionists; however, we do know that by eating foods that have not been processed or that contain preservatives, you can significantly lower your sodium intake.

This simple home-made granola recipe is something that takes into account many of the above-mentioned substitutions. We are using maple syrup as our sweetener, grape-seed oil as our fat and adding just a pinch of kosher salt as our sodium. Granola is a great quick breakfast or afternoon snack over yogurt or even on its own. And by purchasing all of the items at a bulk store, you are controlling your pocketbook as well.

Play around with all of the different ingredients, substituting different nuts, dried fruits and grains. Hemp seed is fantastic, as well as rolled spelt grain. We used natural nuts (not roasted or salted) to also keep the sodium and fat levels lower.


  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup flax seeds
  • 1/4 cup sesame Seeds
  • 1/2 cup cashew pieces
  • 1/2 cup almond pieces
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp grape-seed oil
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup dried fruit pieces (chopped up if in large pieces) such as raisins, apricots, apple or banana

Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees F;

In a bowl mix together rolled oats, flax seeds, sesame seeds, cashews and almonds;

In a small saucepan bring to the boil the maple syrup and the grape-seed oil; turn off and add vanilla and then pour over oat mixture;

Stir thoroughly and then spread out onto a large baking sheet; sprinkle with salt;

Bake for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally.  Remove from oven and mix in dried fruit. Cool.

We like this granola as a healthy afternoon pick-me-up: sprinkle generously atop plain organic yogurt and then drizzle with a little local honey.

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