For your Labor Day celebration, try this healthier version of a treat that everyone will enjoy,

Guilt-Free Granola.

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Ingredients:  2 cups of steel cut/old-fashioned oats, any nuts of your choosing…I used 1/2 cup hazelnuts crushed into small chunks and 1/2 cup pistachios, 1/4-1/2 cup pumpkin seeds, 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips lightly sprinkled with Himalayan Sea Salt, 1 tbs coconut oil, 2-3 tbs honey, 1/4 tsp vanilla, 3 egg whites, water, if needed and 1/2 cup of any dried fruit, if desired.  I used dried cranberries.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 50 minutes

Servings: 8-10

Step 1:  Heat oven to 300 degrees.  Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl except for chocolate chips.

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Step 2:  Beat the whites of 3 large eggs and fully incorporate into dry ingredients.

Step 3:  In a separate bowl, add chocolate chips and season with sea salt to your desired taste.

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Step 4:  In an UNHEATED large saucepan, combine coconut oil, honey and vanilla. Heat pan over low heat and whisk ingredients for 1 minute until warm and well blended.  Add dry ingredients/egg mixture (not the chocolate chips yet) and fold into warm oil/honey mixture until well coated.  I found using a wire whisk to be helpful here. Add small amounts of water if dry and difficult to fold.

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Step 5:  Spray a large baking sheet with cooking spray.  Spread oat/nut/fruit mixture evenly on sheet and pat down gently.  Evenly sprinkle seasoned chocolate chips on top of mixture and bake on bottom rack of oven for 25 minutes or until golden brown along the edges.  Remove pan from oven and carefully use a spatula to divide the granola into large sections first, then slowly flip over each section in order to brown the other side of your granola for the remaining 25 minutes.

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Step 6:  Remove granola from oven and let cool completely.  Break up the granola into cluster sizes of your choice.  Store in an air tight container.  Serve with fruit or milk.

Tip:  Depending on the consistency of your mixture, the granola may break up into larger or smaller clusters.  By using care in flipping your ingredients, you will have more control over the size of your clusters.

Note:  There are so many options with this recipe, i.e. peanut butter chips, dried cherries, coconut flakes, marshmallows, popcorn, etc. If  you desire a sweeter version, add a few teaspoons of brown sugar to the dry mix before adding to the oil and honey in Step 4 or add 2 additional tsp. of honey to the recipe. Also, ovens vary so make adjustments to cooking temperature and times as needed.

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