Last week, the doctor told Bob he had high cholesterol. When I found out, I immediately went into a semi-frantic Google research mode. I wanted to know which foods were the absolute superstars of lowering LDL cholesterol, aka the bad stuff. The results were pretty unanimous: whole-grains, fiber-filled produce and nuts.
High cholesterol runs in my family too and I had it when I was sixteen. Granted, that was the year I was eating Haagen Dazs ice cream and chocolate milk everyday in a poor attempt to fatten myself up (I was self-consciously skinny. Story for another day). Obviously, this was not the way to go about gaining weight. I haven’t been to the doctor recently, but it wouldn’t surprise me if I had it again, considering the amount of butter and cream I usually love to cook with. This is why both of us are starting a low-cholesterol eating plan. It comes just in time, as our month of Paleo is coming to an end.
So, back to the nuts. I don’t enjoy them on their own, but I do like them mixed or cooked into things. Give me garlicky green beans with slivers of crunchy almonds. Give me my trusty kale and walnut pesto. Give me granola!
What I did here was take roughly chopped nuts, mixed them with honey, vanilla, cinnamon and flaxseed and then baked them. I wouldn’t really consider it a recipe, per se. That’s how easy this is. But I’ll share what I did anyway because…well, I want to. This granola is not too sweet, very nutty and satisfyingly crunchy, which makes it a perfect topper to oatmeal, yogurt and fruit. As if you didn’t already know.
Homemade Granola (adapted from paleOMG)
makes about 3 cups
1 cup of almonds
1 cup of mixed nuts (mine consisted of cashews, walnuts, almonds and Brazil nuts)
1/2 cup of walnuts
3 tablespoons of ground flaxseed
4-6 tablespoons of honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Sprinkle of cinnamon, or to taste
Pinch of salt
A handful or two of dried cranberries (optional)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Pulse the nuts in a food processor until you’re left with roughly shopped pieces. Be careful not to overdo this step or it will turn into crumbs or nut butter.
Transfer into a mixing bowl.
Mix in the ground flaxseed, cinnamon and salt.
In a separate bowl, combine the honey and vanilla. You can microwave for a few seconds if the honey is too sticky to work with.
Pour the honey mixture over the nuts and flaxseed. Mix with a rubber spatula until honey is fully incorporated throughout.
Spread the mixture out evenly onto a baking sheet covered in parchment.
Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until golden, stirring occasionally.
Mix in the dried cranberries and let cool.
Store in an airtight container until ready to eat.
I think Paleo month inadvertently (or advertently?) prepared me for rocking at this lowering bad cholesterol thing, which could be surprising to some considering it’s a meat-heavy diet. But of course, I’ll go into more detail on that when I wrap up my 30 days post this week. Stay tuned!