There was a time, not too long ago, that a big chunk of our grocery money went to purchasing cold cereal. To tell the truth, I was a cereal addict! I enjoyed a bowl for breakfast and then once the kids were in bed I would enjoy another bowl. (OR TWO!) In the back of my mind somewhere I knew that it wasn't the most nutritious thing we could be eating, but I had lots of reasons why I felt justified in eating it. See if any of these reasons sound familiar. Just for fun let's do a "Top 10 Reasons to Eat Cold Cereal For Breakfast" list!
10. "It's magically delicious!" (Lucky Charms!)
9. The bus is going to be here in 10 minutes!
8. "It's part of this nutritious breakfast."
7. I got it on sale!
6. The kids really like it!
5. I don't have time to cook breakfast!
4. It's the "Breakfast of Champions!" (Wheaties - my favorite!)
3. I only get the kinds made with whole grains!
2. It's fortified with vitamins and minerals!
1. It's SOOOOOOOOOOO easy!
I have said all these and more at different times in my life! Here are a few quotes from a great book, Nourishing Traditions, by Sally Fallon.
"Boxed Breakfast cereals are made by the extrusion process, in which little flakes and shapes are formed at high temperatures and pressures. Extrusion processing destroys many valuable nutrients in grains, causes fragile oils to become rancid and renders certain proteins toxic. For a new generation of hardy children, we must return to the breakfast cereals of our ancestors."
Also from Sally Fallon's book - "In 1960, researchers at Ann Arbor University performed an interesting experiment on lab rats. Eighteen rats were divided into three groups. One group received cornflakes and water; a second group was given the cardboard box the cornflakes came in and water; and the control group received rat chow and water. The rats in the control group remained in good health throughout the experiment. The rats receiving the box became lethargic and eventually died of malnutrition. But the rats receiving cornflakes and water died before the rats who were given the box - the last cornflake rat died on the day the first box rat died."
The truth, and this was VERY hard for me to swallow, is that bagged/boxed breakfast cereals do more harm than good. If you need any further proof, look at the ingredient list. Sugar is almost always the number 2 or 3 ingredient.
SO! Knowing that they have no place in our diet, we are left with a few questions that were mind boggling to me. WHAT THE HECK DO WE HAVE FOR BREAKFAST? YOU MEAN I HAVE TO COOK ANOTHER MEAL? EVERY DAY? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Let's all take a deep breath at this point...
Here's another truth. Yes, we need to cook breakfast each morning for our families. (I remember being a little angry at this.) The good news is that it's not that hard, once you get in the swing of it. You know you can trust me when I say this because I was once hooked on cereal and now we never have it and I know it's possible! With a little planning and a little preparation the night before, breakfast can be quick and easy. Not as quick as opening a box, but still pretty easy!
Here is a list of our favorite breakfasts.
Oatmeal (See my previous post on how to make REALLY good oatmeal.)
muffins (see my post about soaked dough for muffins)
yogurt with fruit
biscuits (see the soaked dough post for biscuits)
I mix and match these things to keep breakfast from being boring. We have oatmeal about 3 times a week. Every once and a while I make granola, but not very much. (Have you ever noticed that you get a case of the "toots" after you eat granola? That's your body telling you it cannot digest those unsoaked oats!) My kids are a lot better behaved in the mornings since we stopped eating cold cereal. The reason is that a bowl of cold cereal is digested and out of their systems very quickly! My breakfasts now are power packed with complex carbs and good fats that take time to be digested. My little ones usually need a snack a few hours later (smaller tummies) but my older kids and myself are usually not even hungry until lunch time!
I am so far off topic now! I started this post to give you a recipe for homemade breakfast cereal and instead I've stepped up on my soap box again. I will say just a bit more and then I will give you the recipe!
Just because we stopped eating cold cereal doesn't mean I don't still get cravings to sit down and enjoy it's crunchy taste. I think in my mind it's comfort food. I've read in the last few months about different homemade cereal recipes, but I didn't think they could possibly taste good so I never tried. Silly me! I finally made some this week and it turned out so good! It tastes to me like Raisin Bran! When you try this remember that learning to cook with REAL FOOD takes some trial and error. The first time I made it I had to do a few things differently than the recipe called for. The second time I made it I burned it a little. Just keep trying and learn how to make it work for you!
Drum Roll Please...
HOMEMADE COLD CEREAL
Makes about 10 cups
6 cups ground wheat
3 cups milk (raw is best)
1 cup water
1/4 whey, buttermilk or yogurt
2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 cup butter, melted (not in the microwave!)
1/2 cup honey
1 tsp salt
1 TBLS pure vanilla
1 TBLS cinnamon
Mix flour, milk, water and whey/yogurt in a large bowl. Cover and let sit overnight. (If you are not using raw milk you don't need to leave it overnight or use any whey/yogurt. Processed milk will rot whereas raw milk will culture. The culturing milk and whey will make the nutrients in the flour more friendly and absorbable. See my posts about raw milk and soaking grains if you need to learn more about this.) In the morning or in the afternoon, when ever you have time, add the rest of the ingredients. Mix until you have a pourable batter. I usually have to add a cup and a half of water to this or it's too thick.
Preheat the oven to 350 and butter two 9x13 inch cake pans. Pour the batter equally into the two pans. Bake for about 35-40 minutes. Don't let it burn! When it's done a toothpick will come out clean from the center and it will feel springy to the touch. Let it cool. Get out two cookie trays and your blender. With a big spoon scoop out your cake-like cereal and process it in your blender in small batches until it's crumbly. Pour the crumbs onto the cookie trays. (This is the most time consuming part.) Turn your oven down to 200 or 250 degrees and put the trays in. You are going to keep them in the oven until the crumbs dry out completely. I do mine at 250 and it takes about 2 hours. Check it and stir it and taste it often so you will know when it's done. write down how long it took so you'll know next time!
When it's out, let it cool and then transfer it into some kind of sealable container. When you are ready to eat it add raisins to it and pour some (raw!) milk over it. It is so good and so worth the effort!