12th December: A great start to Christmas

All the Christmas partying, rich food, sugary and alcoholic drinks and television watching can take it's toll on our health, energy and now we feel about ourselves. However, a plain breakfast just doesn't seem to cut it for me on Christmas morning.

Last year I made my own festive granola and it really hit the spot. It was great with cold milk, warm milk, yoghurt and fruit and even just to nibble on as a wee snack. The original recipe include 100g brown sugar but I exclude that as I think there's plenty of sugar in all other food at Christmas that it's surplus to requirements. It's packed with fantastic nutrients and very little processed ingredients so makes for a special yet healthier start to the festivities.

If you've not made granola before, there's not a lot to it and you can mix and match the nuts, seeds, dried fruit and spices as you like. It keeps well in an airtight jar or container for about a week but it didn't last that long in our house.


500g oats

90g seeds (I use mixed seeds)

1tsp cinnamon

3 tsp mixed spice

150g maple syrup

300g chopped nuts (I use a mix but you can't beat pecans, brazils & cashews)

750g dried mixed fruit (Use whichever dried fruit you like. I use a traditional mix similar to what you'd have in Christmas cake plus some cranberries)

100g desiccated coconut


Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl except for the fruit and coconut then spread the mixture across a few nonstick baking trays. I line mine with great proof paper.

Bake for 10 minutes in a preheated oven (180 degrees conventional or 160 degrees fan) then give the trays a shake and turn them round before baking for a further 10 minutes.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.

Combine the fruit and coconut in a separate bowl then mix with the cooled baked granola before sealing in the jar or container.

As with most homemade foods, this also makes a lovely gift if stored in a nice jar and tied with ribbon.

Door 12 of the Woman Next Door's advent calendar. 

Door 12 of the Woman Next Door's advent calendar. 

Homemade festive granola jarred, ribboned and ready for Christmas morning. 

Homemade festive granola jarred, ribboned and ready for Christmas morning.