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Make Apple Pecan Granola A Seasonal Specialty

As waves of autumn color highlight neighborhoods, parks and hillsides, I find my tastes shifting with the season. Although my taste buds aren’t necessarily craving a popular pumpkin spice latte at local coffee shops, I’m eager to prepare traditional harvest foods, like roasted acorn squash soup or a loaf of pumpkin bread.

Wherever the spirit and tastes of fall take your family as you reboot for the season — whether to an apple orchard, pumpkin patch or nature center — check out this granola recipe when you get back home. Packed with dried apples, pecans, pumpkin seeds, cinnamon and lots of healthy oats, it captures the tastes and crisp feel of the season.

Prepare it with your kids and store in a big, clear jar with a scoop inside for easy access on school days. Combined with milk and yogurt, it makes a convenient and healthy breakfast staple to keep the living easy during the morning rush out the door.

Make shopping for the healthy ingredients part of the cooking adventure with your kids. Discover how you can economize by purchasing most of the ingredients in bulk.

APPLE PECAN GRANOLA

Yield: About 7 cups

Ingredients:

4 cups rolled oats (not quick cooking)

1 cup coarsely chopped pecans

1 cup hulled raw pumpkin seeds

1 cup hulled sunflower seeds

1/3 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup olive or melted coconut oil

1/4 cup pure maple syrup

2 egg whites, slightly beaten

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup dried apples, chopped into bite-size pieces

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, or spray with nonstick spray.

Combine the oats, pecans, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in a large mixing bowl.

Stir together the oil, syrup, egg whites and vanilla in a small bowl. Add to dry ingredients and toss well until fully coated.

Spread the mixture evenly on the baking sheet. Bake, stirring every 10 minutes, until lightly golden and toasted, about 25-30 minutes. Stir in apples in last 10 minutes.

Cool completely before serving. Store in an airtight container up to a week.

Note: Substitute brown sugar with honey or agave syrup, and combine with liquid ingredients before tossing with dry ingredients.

Make your own dried apple rings at home using my recipe at www.donnaerickson.com.

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Donna Erickson’s award-winning series “Donna’s Day” is airing on public television nationwide. To find more of her creative family recipes and activities, visit www.donnasday.com and link to the NEW Donna’s Day Facebook fan page. Her latest book is “Donna Erickson’s Fabulous Funstuff for Families.”

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