Real Men Eat Granola

Isn’t it funny how kids develop their version of what is manly. Media, school and friends all help form it.

My clan seems to think that there should be an international “Mans” day, where they would serve root beer and baby back ribs. I asked them why that food choice, well because that is MANS food. I asked what girl food would be. “Well, it would be like salads or veggie patties with some gross veggie sauce. ”

The LORD planted a garden in Eden, in the east; and there he put the man He formed.

Genesis 2:1

I laughed and tried to explain there is no such thing as “girls vs boy food” but they were convinced. After all Disney does a great job, just check out the dietary differences in gender in the cartoon short Feast, and honestly we followed that male meat stereotype mold for a long while.

I asked them who they though the most masculine men were… Warriors, army men, battle guys. The guys who bravely run head long into the fray, they were the image of a man. Who are “manly men” these days? Pretty much the same as then…Military, Navy, leaders in businesses, CEOs, the top dogs…Yes, warriors have always captured the young male imagination. Even Jesus was thought to come as a warrior. Interestingly enough though, the Smithsonian announced back in 2014, it was these very men, these warriors and Gladiators that were all shown to be vegans. Bone studies found in Ephesus and other parts of the Roman empire confirmed a diet of beans and grains. Yes, it is rumored that the famed gladiator himself, Russel Crowe, is vegetarian. Historically speaking, why are we so surprised? The Holy land is an arid land, people and Gladiators themselves, were not always given luxuries of meat, eggs or cheese. It’s is like we see the word vegan and think of some long haired, post modernist, hiking up a hill with a bunch of guys and laugh “Really?!? Warrior, you? Who exactly could you save?”. Then Jesus looks us in the eye and begins to speak … OUCH! When did masculinity become about doing instead of being?

Considering the stereotype I had of vegans prior to my plant based walk – which I will be now repenting for, I have have included a recipe that was also very much a part of that stereotype. YUP!! Granola. Nothing screams vegan more then Granola (except maybe a salad). Visions of intrepid hikers, mountain climbers and backpackers (and basically anyone WAY more athletic then me…) with bags of granola stashed away, like little treasures. Personally, I could eat a good granola just on its own and do not let me go down the section where they keep those chocolate covered granola clusters. There are a ton of possibilities: grind up in place of oats in recipes (Granola raisin cookies anyone?), parfaits or use it to top crumbles or crisps. Considering the pre-packaged stuff is already loaded with refined sugars, animal fats and preservatives – plant based is the healthier option. This recipe, originally from Forks over Knives, is sweetened naturally with plant based ingredients that can easily be found anywhere, so whipping it up is a cinch.

I find the trick to granola is a very low and slow oven. Rush it and it will burn. Save the bulky dried fruits and nuts to the last 5 min. Nuts have a lot of oils in them and brown quickly. Dried fruit turns rock hard if placed in the oven with the oats. Great if you want a root canal …but not good eats. Don’t be tempted to skimp on salt, unless you medically need to. It really balances the flavors and if your not into almond extract – try vanilla. Think of it this way: your not trying to cook the granola, so much as dry it out. Do this and you will have fantastic plant based granola that tastes like a bakery Banana nut muffin!

Banana Nut Granola & Vanilla Tofu parfait

BANANA NUT GRANOLA

  • 4 cups Oats
  • 1 cup pitted dates
  • 1 banana
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds

Preheat oven 250 F

Line 2 baking trays with parchment and Add oats to mixing bowl set aside. Place dates in saucepan with 1/2 cup water bring to boil. Cook over medium heat, stirring, if dates stick add a bit more water, until thick puree is formed. Cool fully. Add banana to dates using blender or hand held stick blender puree until smooth and creamy. Mix oats and dates together coat well . Divide between two prepared baking trays.

Bake 250F for 40-50 min Stirring granola every 10 min or so. Granola is done when dry to touch and looks well toasted and crispy. Add in your nuts and any other dried fruit you desire. Allow to fully cool before storing. Do eat this within a couple weeks- unlike sugar based granola it wont last indefinitely as this does have natural ingredients.

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