Bird Seed Granola

My dad is probably the last person in the world to be interested in eating healthy. He has always been madly in love with his Alberta beef, deep fried potatoes, meatloaf, perogies, kielbasa, licorice, [and his two daughters - but we're good for his heart!]

[me, my Dad, and little sister in '90 having a nap... or so he thought]

When I started eating healthier, I tried to encourage him to eat quinoa, millet, rice pasta, and sprouted beans, but he wasn’t interested in my “bird food” as he called it.

When he was diagnosed with Leukemia in 2009, it wasn’t long until I was asked to come in and show him and my mom how to prepare quick, whole food, cancer supportive meals aka bird food. 1 point daughter, 0 points dad.

One of my dad’s favorites quickly became a raw foods smoothie with strawberries, mango, camu camu, spirulina, sprouted grains and hemp.

I even got him to try some bird seed granola! His version was a mixture of sprouted grains [dehydrated] with stevia, protein powder, and chlorella.

Although the recipe has changed over the years and has been inspired by others along the way, every time I eat my bird seed I’m reminded of my dad.

Thankfully my dads cancer is in full remission. Despite the fact that he still enjoys far too much beer, sugar, and coffee, he does try to limit his late night snacking and opts for more veggies on his plate at dinner time.

I don’t think I’ll ever get him to eat this granola again, but hey, he did give it a fair try!

Bird Seed Granola

Gluten free, Dairy free, Refined sugar free, Yeast free, Corn free

If you like your granola crunchy, this one is for you! Because the mix is filled with such a high amount of whole grains, you don’t need much to fill you up. Carry along as a convenient trail mix, sprinkle over top a fruit salad bowl, or soak overnight in some milk for a delicious breakfast cereal.

Inspired by: Hey, that tastes good

Ingredients

Dry

  • 1 1/2 buckwheat groats, raw
  • 1/2 cups quinoa flakes
  • 1/2 cup millet, uncooked *see note
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/2 cup raw walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 3 tablespoon ground flax seed
  • 2 tablespoon unsweetened coconut flakes

Wet

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoon applesauce, unsweetened
  • 2 tablespoon almond butter
  • 2 tablespoon coconut sugar
  • 2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon Himalayan rock salt

Add-ins

  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup cherries or blueberries
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 300F. You do not need to line your cookie sheet with anything, just a plain old sheet will do the trick.
  2. Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl. Set aside.
  3. Place wet ingredients in a small bowl and stir until combined. Pour wet over dry and stir well.
  4. Spread mixture over a cookie sheet, and bake for 40 minutes, stirring twice.
  5. Remove from the oven when the granola is golden brown. Stir in the add-ins, and let cool.

Makes about 7 cups.

Note: I used raw millet in this recipe but wouldn’t do it again. The grain was way too crunchy for me. Next time, I’ll replace the 1/2 cup millet with 1 cup puffed millet. I’ve done it in the past with other granola recipes and they’ve turned out great!

On a completely different note, I took today off!

Hmm… I seem to be doing that a lot lately. I just have so much to catch up on + so many vacation days to use up. I almost like taking a day off here and there than stressing over a week long vacation.

On the plan for today:

  • Gym – strength training + Lori’s Dirty 30 [be warned, it may kill you]+ 45 minute run on the treadmill
  • Grocery shopping
  • Put away laundry
  • Work on our budget
  • Costco – almonds, raisins, oats, and strawberries [guess what I'm making this weekend. It rhymes with larfait :P]
  • Meet with some clients
  • Crate & Barrel – for my first purchase ever! I’ve printed a 2 page list of all the things I want.
  • Some more meetings
  • Chiropractor
  • Dinner at the coup with my best, most supportive friend, Emily

Looking for a fun [and healthy] Easter craft? Check out these naturally dyed Easter eggs!

Are there certain foods/meals that remind you of your dad?

Have you ever had someone in your life affected by cancer? How did you try and keep the experience positive?

We did a lot of cooking and baking. My Dad naturally very positive, so it made it a lot easier on all of us.

Is there someone in your life that eats unhealthy that you just can’t seem to get through to?

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Comments | Leave Your Comment

  1. We are even more alike than I thought. My dad was dianosed with Leukemia in 2005 and it has come back once already. We figured out last year that it’s chronic. My dad has never been a healthy eater, and I wish he would try some of my food!

    • Oh wow Chelsey, I’m sorry to hear that. It’s so frustrating isn’t it? I know I can help him, but he’s so reluctant.

  2. The granola looks awesome! Ironically, last summer I was always making these bars that my mom started calling “birdseed bars.” They, too, had millet – I think that’s the giveaway for birdseed, even though it was puffed! :P I hope your Dad is doing well now!

  3. I love how you were able to positively influence your father’s food choices once he was diagnosed. Having someone who was health conscious in the family must a truly helped him out!

    You’ve got a lot of things on your to do list today! Hope you get em all done!

    • It definitely comes in handy, that’s for sure. So far so good – I think I may just get everything done + extra!

  4. I’m so glad your dad’s cancer is in remission! And how wonderful that you influenced his eating so positively. Great story. The granola looks delicious!

  5. I need to make granola more often!! I never add sugar to my, so it always ends up being more of a crumbly spiced fruit and nut mix :) Ah well-I LOVE IT! But I should try putting applesauce in it next time-great idea!

    And I had a “larfait” yesterday for breakfast, too :P

    • Sometimes I just use applesauce instead of sugar and it works GREAT! Give it a try and let me know how you like it! haha those darn “larfaits” are so good, right?

  6. I think I NEED this granola – the name says it all!

    I don’t have anyone in my immediate family with cancer but I’d love to learn more about cancer healing foods so I can help some of my clients.

  7. So glad to hear your dad is in remission! My dad has a rare form of Leukemia. He passed away 3 years ago this summer. He did begin to eat super healthy even a few years before he was diagnosed – he suddenly went from eating dessert directly out of the pan to LOVING smoothies and oatmeal. It was funny to watch, but we were so proud of him.

    Random fact (which I guess is a food that makes me think of my dad): watercress is very good for cancer patients/survivors to eat. My dad’s doctor was actually working to develop a watercress-filled pill!

    • I’m sorry to hear that your dad passed away. I can only imagine how challenging that must have been for you and your family. It’s not a fun experience, that’s for sure. It’s so great that he adapted a healthy lifestyle before his diagnosis. Maybe his body was telling him he needed to clean things up. Just imagine what it would have been like if he hadn’t!
      That’s really interesting about watercress. You have me intrigued… going to have to do a bit of digging on that one. Thanks Laura :)

  8. Enjoy your day off!! We don’t get enough of them in my opinion.

    I’m glad that your dad is in remission! My uncle who was very healthy – went to the gym several times a week and ate very well, had colon cancer several years ago. I was never very close but my mom had a hard time understanding it. I told her that cancer can happen to anybody even when they are healthy and fit – look at Lance Armstrong or Greta Waitz. My immediate family is healthy … for the most part :)

    The food that reminds me most of my dad is soft serve ice cream, especially from the ice cream trucks. He’d always take me for ice cream on the weekends when I was younger – either in the park or in the mall.

    This granola looks awesome! I’m still on the hunt for buckwheat groats :) I’ve been getting funny looks when I ask for it at the groceries. It’s just raw buckwheat right? I probably have to hit a health food store (I’m just lazy).

    • I know, right? I need more time off! You’re right about healthy people developing cancer. Many of the clients I see are 100% healthy when they are diagnosed. I’m beginning to understand that it goes so much deeper than the physical body and into the energy we have in certain areas of our body. All interesting stuff.
      The story you shared with your dad made me smile, what a great memory!
      Yes, buckwheat groats is just raw buckwheat. You’ll probably have to look for it at the health food store.

    • Thanks Chad! Granola is a bit of a “what can I use up in my pantry” kinda recipe. It definitely comes in handy!

  9. Great to hear your dad’s success story! He’s so lucky to have someone that knows about proper nutrition at the ready. Both of my parents are diabetic. They’re overweight. They drink WAY too much and eat pretty much whatever they want. I’ve tried for years to talk to them about exercise, drinking in moderation and the benefits of proper nutrition with zero success. Last year my step dad nearly lost his foot and I thought that would be a bit of a wake up call…unfortunately not. I have been forwarding some your yummy recipes to them tho. Health food in disguise! :)

    • That’s too bad about your parents. I can understand how frustrating that must be! Yes, my food is health food in disguise… maybe you can trick them into adding just a bit of it into their lives!!

    • haha I try to be, I’ll remind him how awesome I am on fathers day too!

  10. There are so many foods that remind me of my Dad – he’s always been the cook in our family so I’ve learned so much from him. He eats really healthy these days – but it certainly wasn’t always that way.

    I can’t imagine how hard your Dad’s diagnosis must have been – but that’s so great that he’s in full remission. :)

    I also prefer to have one day off rather than a full week. Don’t get me wrong a full week is nice as well – but individual days take the pressure off. :)

    • It’s great that your dad has adopted a healthier diet! My dads cooking was pretty darn good too!

  11. I’m so happy to hear about your Dad! What a great success story. Although, I think you should attribute a bit of his good health fight against cancer to your granola. It’s too healthy NOT to get a little credit ;)

  12. So glad to hear that your dad is alright now!! :D Hot and sour soup reminds me of my dad. I used to think it was gross but now I honestly think he makes the best hot and sour soup. Mmmm. I’ve had a few people affected by cancer(who hasn’t these days?) Que Sera Sera comes to mind. Nothing you can do about your past decisions now, just move forward. Unfortunately it’s not that easy to think that way when you’re in the situation. There are tons of people I can’t get through to about eating healthier. I think everyone thinks I’m nuts. At least my husband listens to me and tries so hard. Mind you, not everyone is that unhealthy. My parents and in-laws eat their fair share of veggies so it’s not all bad. But somehow cake with more food dye than icing sugar is good enough – and ok to feed to babies and toddlers let alone themselves :(

    • I’ve never had hot and sour soup! Sounds delicious. You’re right on everyone being touched by cancer in some way, it’s so heartbreaking. Ah! Don’t get me started on cake. It makes me quiver?!

  13. Glad your dad is doing much better!

    love the recipe and eating healthy…well, by virtue of default and me doing the cooking, my hubs has lost 50 lbs and lowered his blood pressure naturally by virtue of just being together the past decade. It’s eat what I make or starve. lol

    • That’s a great rule – eat what I make or starve. I hope my boyfriend will slowly stop making himself hot dogs + start eating the foods I make! It’s been 3 years… but I’ve gotten him to add onions + peppers to his hot dogs. Progress, right? It’s fantastic that your hubby has lost 50lbs?! That’s just awesome!

  14. Beautiful and touching post :) Glad your Dad is doing better!
    I’ve lost a grandfather to cancer nine years ago it was the hardest two years watching him go trough it all and in the end losing him :( I miss him every day.
    My dad (and mom and sister) are the healthy eaters :) They always eat organic, always healthy, always the best it can be for their health.
    I’m the one who goes from phases in life and changes. I changed lots of ways when I moved in with my husband who is (I told you before) very different in food choices from me. I give in many food temptations and can honestly say I’m paying for it now LOL But every time I eat healthy I think of my dad and my family, same goes when I eat unhealthy LOL I can hear them “Don’t do that” screaming in my ears :)

    I can’t wait to try your granola :) it looks so yummy and healthy. I love your recipes always so good :)

  15. My dad is the same way, he refuses to eat healthy! Even if we are eating something like quinoa pilaf with dinner he won’t eat it and get a slice of white bread instead. Maybe I’ll make this and get him to try it? ;-)

  16. Great name for the granola, wonderful story, awesome workout (?). ;)

    Yep, my dad is super unhealthy… but he tries, after some coaching from me. Those nasty store-bought bear claws totally remind me of my dad- he has a severe sugar addition. But maybe he’d eat (and love) this granola!

    That’s awesome to hear your dad is in remission.. thanks to your help and nourishing food, no doubt.
    :)

    • My boyfriend is the same way with food, so I hide his granola in homemade ice cream. There are ways to trick him… but I have to be REALLY creative! Awesome workout, ya. I wish you lived close so you could be my trainer. I need a trainer SO bad.

  17. Something must be in the air – as I’m seeing a ton of post with homemade granola! And, I was planning on making a batch tonight for my parent’s Easter Basket! I just laughed at myself – yes, I’m a dork who makes Easter baskets for the fam :)

    • I’ve made 3 batches of granola this week! I’m glad you think there’s something in the air. I don’t know what’s gotten in to me. Easter baskets for the fam = awesome daughter/sister.

    • You can find them at the health food store. You can try kasha as well [roasted buckwheat]. If all else fails, you can replace it with rolled oats too!

  18. I love love love granola. And this looks like the best granola in the world!!! I wonder how certain people can consider this bird food. To me, it’s so good I almost consider it a treat.

    Thanks for yet another superb recipe, Leanne. I will definetely be making and eating this granola soon!

  19. I am currently reading (almost done!) Anti-Cancer by David Servan-Schreiber, MD. It is a great read and I highly recommend it for everyone! I do not have cancer but have been focusing on improving my health and well-being. I do have family members that have and are battling cancer. Check it out if you haven’t already…

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