One of my favorite foods growing up, and into my early 20's, was breakfast cereal. I loved the crunch of the grains and the cool sweetness of the milk and the delicious result of their union. Unfortunately, it's also nothing more than sweetened and dyed cardboard and about as easy to digest. Expensive cardboard. So I don't eat it that much anymore.
Sometimes, though, I miss cereal as a before-bed snack. There is something comforting about it... perhaps because of all the childhood memories? Cereal is a family favorite, and a couple years ago, my Mom bought seven different boxes because she knew we were all coming home for Christmas. We made huge kamikaze bowls of multi-colored and sugar-coated O's, flakes and stars, and felt downright sick afterwards. Ah, the memories.
This is cereal you can feel good about eating, because all the hard to digest components are pre-soaked in an acidic medium, doing some of the breaking down for you.
The best part? It can vary according to your tastes. I made the first batch with pecans, raisins, cranberries and chia seeds, but you could also do dried apricots and slivered almonds, walnuts and banana chips, pumpkin seeds and cranberries, or wherever your tastebuds takes you.
Adapted from Cheeseslave's Recipe.
A note from Ann Marie: "this recipe calls for nuts and seeds that are soaked and dried ahead of time. I usually soak and dry my nuts and seeds and large batches and store them in mason jars or other airtight containers — so I have them on hand for recipes like this one..."
A note from me: Making "crispy" nuts is so easy and really improves their digestion. Raw nuts are high in phytic acid, which can cause problems in some people. Combine 4 cups of your chosen raw nut and 2 tsp. salt together in a bowl or mason jar. Fill with water, and leave in a warm place for 7 hours (for cashews, do no longer than 7 hours) or overnight. Drain and rinse. Spread on a baking pan lined with parchment paper and bake, in a warm oven (150F) for 12-24 hours, or until dry. Turn occasionally. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.
3 cups oatmeal
3 cups warm water
6 Tbsp. Whey, yogurt, kefir or buttermilk, or you can use lemon juice or vinegar if you have dairy allergies. (I personally use kefir)
1 cup unsweetened coconut
1 cup dried fruit of your choice
1-2 cups nuts and seeds, your choice (Save time and soak these right along with your oats, unless you have some already on hand!)
1/2 cup wheat or spelt flour
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup organic sugar, rapadura or sucanat
1/4 cup honey or pure maple syrup
1 tsp unrefined sea salt
- The night before, combine the oats, water, and whey, kefir, or etc. in a large bowl. Mix the nuts, salt, and water in another bowl or mason jar. Cover both with a dishtowel.
- The next morning, preheat oven to its lowest setting (usually 150-170F). Drain and rinse nuts.
- Combine soaked oats, dried fruit, nuts, seeds and flour and stir until thoroughly mixed.
- If the coconut oil is solid, melt in a saucepan. In another bowl, combine coconut oil, sweeteners and salt. Add to oat mixture and stir.
- Spread mixture on baking pans lined with parchment paper and bake in oven until the oats and nuts are dry and crisp. Break into pieces and store in an airtight container. I store it in the fridge.
*(To make a quick version of this, set your oven to 350F and bake until crispy, turning every 15 minutes. I prefer to "set it and forget it"...I would invariably forget to check it soon enough and end up with a charred mess. You can't burn much at 150 degrees!)
Linking up to the Real Food carnival @ the Healthy Home Economist and Tasty Tuesday @ FTLOB!