Whole Grain Cereals-Make Them Yourself
Choosing a wholesome breakfast cereal can be a daunting task. Ask any mother who has taken one of their children to the grocery store and had to brave the cereal isle. Even a 5 years old has an opinion about which cereal they want only slightly influenced by the myriad of commercials on Children's TV about how great one is over the other. We would hope as adults we recognize that having control of what you are eating, especially for breakfast can help us live a healthier and longer life.
Breakfast is the best time to get whole grains into our diet. We love old-fashioned rolled oats, but not every day; so I have come up with a concept that organizes and simplifies preparing breakfast, and gives us a large variety from which to choose. I have tried in this post to give you some quick and easy ideas about making your own cereals quickly and easily so that you are not spending hours in the kitchen preparing breakfast.
Cereal can be a part of a healthy balanced diet. Cereals made from whole grains contain nutrients that are vital for the health and maintenance of our bodies, such as dietary fiber, several B vitamins (thiamin, riboflavin, niacin and folate) and minerals (iron, magnesium and selenium). These nutrients have many important physiological functions such as: releasing energy from food; maintaining our nervous systems; forming red blood cells; carrying oxygen in the blood; building bones, and protecting our immune systems, to name a few.
With the high cost of package cereals full of sodium, fat and sugar, these recipes will start your family's day off with wholesome goodness for pennies. The maxium nutrition is what you will be getting when rolling and flaking your own grains. Nothing tastes better, warms you more, and as my grandmother use to say “nothing sticks to your ribs better than hot cream of wheat or oatmeal.” We use the Family Grain mIll flakers that either attach to the Bosch Kitchen Machines or a hand driven drive or their own motors, to roll grains such as oats or even harder grains like wheat and rye or kamut into flakes.
You can also roll out the fresh oats, add milk, and wait for 2-3 minutes and you have a fresh cold oatmeal cereal. Adding fresh fruit, raisins and/or honey for a sweeter taste. Cinnamon is know to held regulate your sugar levels.
2 cups freshly flaked whole wheat or rolled oat groats
3 cups water
1. Place water in saucepan. Add flaked wheat or rolled oats. Bring to a rolling boil. Reduce heat. Simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes.
Variation: Kamut, Spelt, Rye and/or Millet
Use flaked kamut, spelt or rye instead of wheat or oats.
Muesli has been a European favorite for many years. This is a great way to serve it hot
1 cup rolled oats 2 tablespoons plain yogurt
1/4 cup toasted almond slivers 1 cup warm water
1/4 cup dried unsweetened coconut flakes 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 1/4 cup raisins
1 cup warm water 1 tablespoon rolled flax seeds
1. In a medium bowl, mix the rolled oats with almonds, cinnamon and coconut flakes.
2. In a separate bowl, mix well the warm water and yogurt. Pour the water mixture over the rolled oats and mix well. Let this sit for 6-8 hours. This can be done the night before.
3. The next day, bring 1 cup of water to a boil with the salt. Add the oat mixture, reduce heat, cover and simmer several minutes.
4. Remove cereal from heat and stir in raisins and ground flax. Serve with butter or cream. Add sweetener if desired.
FRESH HOMEMADE COLD CEREAL
When it is hot outside, and your family is looking for cold cereals, create your own with freshly flaked whole grains. Those who are allergic to wheat can substitute the wheat with spelt or kamut I sometimes steam the harder grains like kamut and spelt for a few minutes before rolling which gives them a flater shape.
2 cups rolled oat groats 1 cup flaked barley
2 cups flaked wheat berries 1 cup honey
1. Preheat oven to 250F.
2. In a large bowl, mix grains thoroughly. Stir in honey. Mix well. Spread grain mixture evenly on a baking sheet.
3. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring twice. Remove from oven and cool. Store in a container. .3
Here is a little primer on using some of the various grains as cereals.
Steel Cut Oats
Steel-cut oats are whole grain groats (the inner portion of the oat kernel) which have been cut into only two or three pieces. Inexpensive and versatile, they are high in B vitamins, calcium, protein and fiber and can be prepared in about 20 minutes on the stovetop – along with cinnamon, vanilla, nuts, pure maple syrup, dried or fresh fruit for extra flavour or additional protein and fiber. A big batch of steel cut oats can be prepared ahead of time and stored in individual containers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. On those busy mornings, simply reheat individual portions on the stove by adding a little milk (dairy, soy, rice or almond) or water.
Millet, with its mildly sweet, nut-like flavor, is one of the oldest foods known to humans and possibly the first cereal grain to be used for domestic purposes. It is highly nutritious, non-glutinous and easily digestible. In fact, it is considered to be one of the least allergenic and most digestible of all grains. It contains nearly 15% protein, high amounts of fiber, B-complex vitamins, methionine, lecithin, and some vitamin E. It is also particularly high in the minerals iron, magnesium, phosphorous, and potassium. Like steel cut oats, millet can be prepared ahead of time and stored in individual containers in the refrigerator.
Heralded as the “Mother Grain”, quinoa has been cultivated for more than 5,000 years and contains more protein than any other grain. Quinoa contains an almost perfect balance of all eight essential amino acids, and is an excellent source of dietary fiber, magnesium, potassium, iron, phosphorous, calcium, vitamin E and several B vitamins. Quinoa is also gluten-free and easy to digest. This nutty-flavored grain cooks completely in about 15 minutes and can be eaten hot or cold, and goes great with dried fruit.
This nutritious staple of the Middle East is pulverized from whole-wheat kernels that have been boiled, drained, dried, cracked and shifted – basically a precooked cracked wheat. Bulgur is a natural whole grain food: no chemicals or additives are used in processing the product. Bulgur, also called burghul, has a tender, chewy texture and comes in coarse, medium and fine grinds. Needing very little or no cooking it can be simply soaked and mixed with fruit, nuts, seeds or all natural yogurt for a quick and easy breakfast.
Amaranth, often referred to as a grain, is technically not a grain at all, but in fact a seed originally cultivated by the ancient Aztec people of South America. Gluten-free amaranth is high in protein, vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), iron, phosphorus, zinc, copper, and magnesium. Like millet, it is also easily digestible. With its malty, slightly sweet and nutty undertones, it cooks up into a delicious breakfast cereal.