Recently my very pregnant daughter Bella mentioned that her ob-gyn recommended she include more fiber and more vegetable protein in her diet. Always tinkering with the whole gamut of grains, I welcomed the opportunity to experiment, this time setting as my goal, making a hot cereal breakfast that would be at once quick, delicious and nutritious. I started right in my own kitchen, where I found everything I need, and then some. If my daughter’s enthusiasm and that of everyone who tasted and reported feeling full of positive energy, then I conclude I am onto something great! Needless to add, this included the children as well. I just love the idea of adding a great number of nutrients, fiber and protein, in minutes and for pennies, without the “help” of those dreaded protein bars loaded with soy protein isolates. You will find as I did that this treat would be suitable as part of lunch or dinner on days where you don’t feel like cooking.
Always the perfect place to start, I opened the doors to my pantry and checked out its contents. Dozens and dozens of glass jars, full of every grain imaginable, and neatly labeled (more about this at the bottom of this post). I was on my way!
The hot cereal combination I am suggesting here is just my own personal taste, you can certainly adjust it to your own preferences. You don’t need to mix so many grains, even one or two is enough. I only mixed them to be sure I get the most benefit from them, not only nutritionally, but for flavor. This amount will last you months, so you will spend those few minutes mixing only once in about six months.
- 2 cups each: Cracked barley (Gluten-Free: Coarse corn meal), medium granulation Kasha, steel-cut oats, teff, millet, quinoa.
- 3/4 cup cinnamon powder
- 1/4 cup sea salt
- Mix thoroughly and store in very clean and bone-dry glass jars. Be sure to label the jars.
In a medium-small saucepan, bring 1/4 cup of the grain mixture to boil with 2 cups water, 1 cup milk or dairy-free milk such as almond or rice (if you like your cereal thicker, use less liquid), and a nice handful of raisins: You could use a little maple syrup instead if you prefer, but I do love the way the raisins get plump and sweet during cooking. Bring the mixture to a boil, then immediately lower the flame to low (so the mixture doesn't stick to the bottom of the saucepan), and cover. It will be ready in 10 minutes, and will make you two generous servings. Feel free to make more and reheat the next day or two, thinning it with a little more water or milk.
Even though I am not a future mom (I am a perennial mom!), and even though I am not running in any marathon, I immensely enjoy the delicious taste, and the welcome energizing feeling it gives me: Let me know how yours comes out, and how you feel on a day you eat it: I am getting ready to mix another batch soon!
A word on storing grains: I found out at my own expense, from a long-ago Hitchkock-style invasion of moths which came from an old carton drum box of rolled oats and left me and everyone in my house terrified for days, that moths wholeheartedly share our love for grains, sugar, nuts, raisins and so on, as they easily eat away at the porous paper, plastic or cardboard containers. Hence my obsessive-compulsive habit of storing everything in glass jars! I hope I pass it on to you: good-bye moths, good-bye rancidity!