Low Fat Orange Coconut Granola

Let me tell you some good and some bad things about motherhood today. As I am still breastfeeding my youngest one, I have hardly been drinking alcohol for months, apart from the occasional ONE glass. Now yesterday was New Year's Eve. On the occasion, I had TWO glasses + some white wine in the mushroom sauce of our dinner. I don't know if it was the overall amount or the combination of red and white. I felt sooooo drunk, I was ready for bed at 11pm. This is how I ended the year of 2009. That was the bad thing, as I could easily drink one bottle of wine without feeling drunk or having a hangover, years ago.

Now the good thing. Once you have a family and especially small children at home, it is hard to find time for yourself. I started running, mostly alone. I needed a sport that I can do at any time of the day, without big preparation, just when I feel I can squeeze it in my schedule, even spontaneously. I enjoy being all by myself hanging in there with my thoughts or just switch off completely. I started doing races too, which I really enjoy. Last year, I decided to run my first full marathon in 2010. I wanted my debut in some nice place, so I chose and registered for the Paris Marathon in April. I am currently following a 16-week marathon training program that has me running 4-5 times per week. Today I was supposed to run a 23km run (14 miles).
I didn't feel like it at all when I woke up this morning with a rotten feeling in my head and tummy. Hangover! I fixed myself a vitamin and fiber loaded breakfast. See the picture, this is what I had. Layers of fresh fruit alternating with low-fat yogurt covered with homemade granola. It helped me recover and by 3pm I was ready to run the distance. More than two hours later I felt absolutely great!!! I feel the freshest and happiest after having a quick shower after a nice long run mixed with that true feeling of achievement. What a good start of 2010. I am quite proud of myself. Can I say that?

Now the granola. It is actually my Christmas granola, as I put lots of orange zest and cinnamon in. The coconut looks like little snow flakes. Anyway, I decided to give it a more down-to-earth name, as it can be consumed at any time of the year. The fact that it is made without added butter or oil need to be pointed out too, for all those who's new year resolution is to go less sugar or low fat.

Happy New Year!

2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup wheat bran
1/2 cup flax seeds
1 cup chopped nuts (walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts pistachios)
1 cup desiccated coconuts
1/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 tablespoon grated orange peel
4 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup chopped dried fruit (apricots, raisins, cranberries, currants)

Yields ca. 15 servings
Preheat oven to 150C degrees.
Combine orange juice, honey, cinnamon, vanilla extract and orange peel in a pot. Cook over medium heat until the honey has melted. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine rolled oats, wheat bran, flaxseed, and chopped nuts. Keep coconut aside as yet. Pour the honey-orange juice mixture over the oat mixture and mix gently until the oats are thoroughly coated. Spread the oats in a thin layer on a baking sheet and place it in the oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Turn the granola over after about 10-15 minutes. At this stage, add the coconut and bake for another 10 minutes. Take out of the oven. Stir in the dried fruit. Let cool completely before storing in airtight container.

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