Friday, November 28, 2008

Home-Spun Breakfast Cereal

Made at home? Can It Be Done? Oh dear! Yes!! Cold Cereal is a big one for most budgets. What do you pay for a box of this stuff? If your family is anything like mine, breakfast cereal is a main food group. There are a ton of choices out there. Walking down the cereal aisle can be scary! Some cereals are loaded with sugar and not a speck of whole grain. Hopefully this I can help your budget and your nutrition levels. I'll even tell you how to bake this in a solar oven. How fun is that?
Whatever your reason for making your own cereal--be it family nutrition, budget, or both... here are two great recipes! One is for granola and one is for grape-nuts.
First in line is granola. My husband ate so much granola the last time I made it, that he asked me to never make it again. He had no self control and couldn't be held responsible for his consumption levels. I happen to love granola. I still make it. He still nags me. What is a girl to do? I used to giggle about moms who made homemade granola. It just seemed so "hippie-like". Strap on your wood clogs and whip out your long braided hair. Peace. Love. Nature. Low and behold, I have become what I of" those granola moms". Do you see my eyes rolling right now? It's not sooo bad. In fact, I am starting to think that it is one of life's lost arts. Try it sometime!

My granola recipe1 cup cold pressed oil (canola,coconut or grape seed are great!)--regular oil or melted butter work--peanut butter isn't too shabby either.
1 cup honey
2T double strength vanilla (I do go heavy on vanilla)
2 cups whole wheat cake or pastry flour (white all purpose works)
2 tsp salt
2T Cinnamon
10 cups rolled oats
1 cup chopped nuts, optional (we don't want too much fat, right?--Ahh. I do love a good almond or hazelnut.)
2 cups dried fruit (raisins, blueberries, cherries, strawberries, cranberries... whatever you love!)
Directions: In a batter bowl, combine the oil, honey, and vanilla. In a separate 8 quart mixing bowl, combine all remaining ingredients, except the dried fruit. Divide granola between two stoneware bar pans, or two large cookie sheets, Bake at 325 degrees 15 minutes. Stir and cook 10 more minutes until golden brown and crispy. Add dried fruit. Store in an airtight container once cooled. Enjoy! This recipe yields 15 cups ( 4lb 8oz)--30 servings!
Cook's notes: If you use peanut butter, you may need to mix this with your hands or a good big electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Oil seems to mix better. The original recipe called for 1 1/2 cups butter and 2 cups brown sugar. Splenda can be used, but cereal will be not hold together like granola.
Like" Honey Bunches of Oats"?--Mix this granola with 2 large boxes of whole grain corn flakes or frosted flakes! Corn flakes are one of the cheapest breakfast cereals out there! Add to that this inexpensive and healthy granola, and it makes cereal go a long way!--Usually 4 gallon size bags!
Grape nuts are next in line. I've made these for a long time and love the fact that they are almost free! Especially since I make my own bread. Yes. Bread. That is the only ingredient! These require the use of a meat grinder (mine has actually never been used on meat... how weird!) Most often we use it for sprouted wheat bread or grape nuts. I don't sell meat grinders. They can be purchased at most Wal-mart stores near the home canning supplies or in specialty Spanish food markets. I've even seen them as an attachment to some electric mixers. I have the hand grinder because I want to feel like a circus monkey is banging a drum in my kitchen. Um... Or something to do with not using electricity all the time... Hopefully you will enjoy these as much as we do! You can either use whole wheat bread that you may have goofed and it is now really heavy (instead of a paperweight), or it can also be made with regular whole wheat bread. Whatever you have. My whole wheat bread recipe can be obtained in the blog entry "Are you Afraid of germs."

Mom's "Grape Nut" Squiggles 1-2 loaves whole wheat bread
Directions: Grind through a meat grinder. It comes out in long squiggles. Place on a stoneware bar pan or deep heavy sheet pan . It usually takes one pan for each loaf of bread used. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes until brown and dry. I break them up a bit with a metal spatula! Serve for breakfast, lunch or dinner with milk or soy milk and sugar or honey. MMM. Yes. It is that simple!
Solar Cereal notes: To bake in a solar oven, make sure you have a dark medium bar pan, divide cereal in half and bake one at a time in the sun oven with the glass top unclasped. This will allow cereals to dry and get crispy golden. Once oven temperature gets to 325, put in cereal and bake the same amount of time!
Global Sun Ovens -
Did you know that homemade bread is the best air freshener out there?
Who doesn't just fill with joy and happiness at the smell of homemade bread?!
Here's my 2-Cents. Bread is worth learning how to make!
Not only is it cheaper and more nutritious, it's more fun!

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