Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Homemade Cold Breakfast Cereal

About a month ago or so, I read that boxed cereal isn't very good for your body. Once I read the article (and read the same info in some other places too.) I couldn't un-read it and pretend it wasn't true. I didn't want it to be true because I LOVE cereal. I grew up on bowls and bowls of cereal. My thinking is that it isn't so bad for you that you'll keel over and die immediately, because lets face it, most of us grew up eating lots of cereal and we are still here. But it's one of those things that when you find out something isn't good for your body and actually causes harm over the long haul it is best to eliminate it or at least reduce it in your diet.

John has the argument that convenience foods are just that, convenient. He says living with modern food and getting to enjoy other modern facets of life is worth some of the chemicals and such in processed foods. That is a very valid point. I believe that if you eat healthy, nutrient dense, non-chemical foods that you will have a better quality life. I've heard some people use an 80-20 rule. Eighty percent of the time eat nutrient dense foods and then 20 percent rely on convenience, restaurants or sweets. I think that is a good balance for my life. I also  really enjoy cooking from scratch and learning about healthy, nutritious foods. Some people say that science has given us ways to make food cheap and easy, but science has also given us a better understanding of why some of the foods and methods our great-great-great grandparents used worked the way they did. Our grandparents learned by trial and error passing down recipes and methods over the years. We now know why mixing whey in with your cucumbers makes a tasty pickle that is full of healthy probiotics. Our great-greats just knew that it'd make their cucumbers last through the winter!

I'm a bit off topic here. Back to the cereal. Basically to create cereal, manufactures super-heat the grains (wheat, corn, rice, etc.) and extrude them through machines. This super high heat makes the oils in the protein of the grains rancid. Anything rancid is VERY bad for you. Rancid foods create free-radicals in your body. Free radicals cause disease. So any chance you get to eliminate free-radicals in your body the better! That's why when I read that store bought cereal creates these free-radicals in your body, I decided I didn't want to eat it anymore. This was hard, and I actually bought a few boxes before I decided to find other things to eat instead. Then my mom came across a video on The Healthy Home Economists blog on how to make cereal from scratch. She grinds her own flour, which I will probably start doing at some point, but for now I just used store bought whole wheat flour. I also used my brand new excalibur dehydrator for the drying process. The end result tastes a lot like a Raisin Bran, if you add raisins to the dry cereal. (I'm not actually eating this cereal because I'm on a low-carb diet right now, but I made it for my girls to enjoy!)

Izzie and Maddie eating their homemade cereal with raisins and raw milk.

Cold Breakfast Cereal
(please visit The Healthy Home Economists Blog for a wonderful video tutorial.)

6 cups freshly ground flour
3 cups plain yogurt, kefir, buttermilk, or clabbered milk (use 3 cups water plus 2 TBL lemon juice or apple cider vinegar for dairy allergies)

Mix fresh flour and soaking medium of choice in a large, glass bowl.    Cover with a clean cloth and rubber band and leave on the counter for 24 hours.

After soaking is complete mix the following into the batter:

3/4 cup coconut or palm oil
1 cup Grade B maple syrup or honey (1/2 cup sweetener plus 5 drops stevia may be substituted)
1 Tsp sea salt
2 Tsp baking soda
1 Tsp vanilla extract
1 Tsp maple flavoring - I used almond extract because I didn't have maple flavoring.
1 TBL ground cinnamon

Mix these ingredients well into the soaked batter.   Pour into 2 – 9X13 pans and bake at 350F for about 30 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.   Do not overbake.
Let cool and crumble the coffee cake into small pieces and dehydrate on cookie sheets at 200F for about 12-18 hours. Turn cereal pieces every few hours to dry evenly. (I used a food dehydrator, set on 150 degrees overnight.)

Store in airtight containers in the refrigerator.

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