For my first post, I’m starting with granola. Not only is it the product that sparked this whole idea for me, it’s also kind of fitting – nothing represents DIY, back-to-nature, health-nut hippiness like good old crunchy granola.
Plus, you know, it’s a delicious delicious food. I mean, sweet and crunchy, filled with a wide variety of fruits and nuts and spices, and touched by honey… yum. And it’s versatile: it goes well with milk, on top of yogurt, in pancakes (oh, yes!), or plain as an afternoon snack. Who can resist?
And there are so many ways to get granola. You can buy it in the grocery store, create your own mix at places like MixMyGranola or, of course, DIY.
So, today’s challenge: Granola!
One box of Flavorite granola (generic is cheaper!) contains: whole grain rolled oats, whole grain rolled wheat, brown sugar, raisins, coconut oil, almonds, whey, glycerin, nonfat dry milk, whey protein concentrate, honey, natural flavors, sunflower oil.
Homemade granola, following my cobbled-together-from-many-sources recipe, contains:
2 c. rolled oats
¼ c. brown sugar
½ tsp. cinnamon
¼ c. honey
3 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla
Splash of water
¾ c. raisins
½ c. slivered almonds
But, really, you can add anything you want. Apricots and cherries? Go for it. Walnuts and apples and pumpkin pie spice? Si. Peanuts and chocolate chips? Yep. Just keep the base: oats, brown sugar, honey, oil and a splash of water.
To make the granola, you mix your dry ingredients in a bowl, then mix the wet ingredients in a different bowl, then combine the two. Then you flatten it all out on a baking sheet and slip it into the oven for 20-25 minutes (stirring once). When the granola’s all toasted and golden brown, you pull it out, let the it cool, then mix in the almonds and raisins (or whatever). It keeps in the fridge for months.
Time and Cost Comparison:
The Flavorite granola box contains 12 oz. of granola. It cost $3.54 (or $0.29/oz.), and took very little time to select in the store.
Homemade produced 14 oz. of granola. It cost $3.74 (or $0.26/oz), and took 15 minutes of prep time plus 35 minutes of baking/cooling time in which I wandered from the kitchen.
If you want to order a 16 oz. tube of granola from MixMyGranola, it’ll run you $13.16 with shipping (or, $0.82/oz). Which is why I’m not even really counting them as an option. Although they’re a great place to go get ideas, or if you need some super special granola, like goji berrie and bee pollen powder granola. (Seriously.)
Nutritional Information Comparison:
The Box has 220 calories, 8 grams fat, 33 grams carbs, 15 mg sodium and 4 grams protein.
Homemade has 250 calories, 10 grams fat, 40 grams carbs, 4 mg sodium and 5 grams protein.
The major differences in ingredients are: rolled whole grain wheat, whey, glycerin, nonfat dry milk and whey protein concentrate. (Vanilla can be considered a natural flavor.)
Rob and I both preferred the taste of the homemade stuff. By a very large margin. In fact, post-photo, the homemade stuff sort of disappeared off the napkin, while the boxed stuff went back into the box.
Homemade PITA factor:
1.5. If you can measure and stir with a spoon and turn on the oven, you can make this.
DIY or Buy?
The round goes to DIY, but frankly, it was a tough call. They were pretty similar on price and the box contained no terrible or scary ingredients (although it does have chemical preservative glycerine). The big decider was flavor: Homemade just tasted better.
Note: My thanks to Little Blue Hen on Flickr for the use of her photo (under Creative Commons license).