Gingerbread Granola

I'm always thinking of fun holiday gifts for those people who I want to show appreciation for like my hair stylist, the mail carrier who always leaves dog treats for my pups, friends that leave me water bottles when I'm out for long runs so I don't dehydrate... you get the point.  I think small, homemade and healthy treats are appreciated this time of year.  Everyone is on cookie overload and seriously I prefer to just not go there.  Heart-healthy but seasonal flavors without all the sugary guilt are more my preference.

I'm a huge fan of granola. My preferred method of carb-loading before long runs or races.  I pair it with my favorite nut milk for breakfast, put it in a container for a grab-and-go snack or I'll top my smoothie with it. It also packs and travels well if you need to ship a care package.  Granola contains “good” fats and omega-3 fatty acids that are essential for heart health.  Plenty of vegan protein. No refined sugars.  Ginger is known for helping aid in digestion, helps curb nausea and helps relieve motion sickness.  And finally, cinnamon helps reduce muscle spasms, fights infections and let's face it... just tastes great and adds warmth to any recipes.

Dry - 
4 cups of gluten free granola (rolled oats)
2 cups of nuts (whatever mix you prefer - I used walnuts, almonds and pecans)
2 tablespoons of chia seeds
1.5 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon of ground ginger
2 pinches of sea salt
Optional topping: non crystalized ginger, diced

1/3 cup of maple syrup
1/4 cup of melted coconut oil
2.5 tablespoons of molasses
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees and line your baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper.

Place all of your dry ingredients into a large bowl and whisk to combine.  Set that aside.

In bowl (to microwave) or in a saucepan add your wet ingredients and blend until combined.  Pour that over the dry ingredients and mix to combine.

Pour the mixture onto your prepared baking sheet and spread it evenly. 

Bake for 15 minutes then remove and add your chopped uncrystallized ginger pieces then add back to the oven.  Bake for another 10-15 minutes or until the mixture is golden brown and smells heavenly.  Watch closely so it doesn't burn.

Remove and let the mixture cool completely before storing in an airtight container or package up to share.

I package up small glass jars or plastic baggies with about 1 heaping cup of the mixture.  Enjoy!

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