A New Year, A New Breakfast

Happy New Year dear readers! I hope you all had a fabulous holiday and that you’ve started 2011 on the right foot. If not, I’m always here to help 😉
My big goal for this year is to improve my breakfast routine. Somehow over the last few months I’ve gotten really lazy in the morning, eating copious amounts of the freshly baked bread at work (I still love you), or grabbing a piece of fruit on the go. Either way, I know it’s one place in my diet that could use some improvement.

One of the most popular foods on the breakfast table in this country is boxed cereal. It’s fast, convenient, moderately filling and inexpensive – I can see the appeal. But cereal that comes in a package with a cartoon tiger on the front is a far cry from the actual grains that were used to make it. Even the definition of the word cereal, which actually refers to the group of grains as a whole, has gone from a natural whole food, to a barely recognizable distant relative with an underwhelming nutrient content that has surely suffered from over processing. Don’t even get me started on all that sugar.
It’s time for a change, don’t you agree?

Cereal Extreme Makeover
I’ve come up with the perfect breakfast solution for those of you who “just don’t have time in the morning”, because you can make a huge batch in one go, dole out the amount you want every day and simply add the toppings you have on hand. It’s the Real Deal Cereal and it’s so simple! The ingredients are inexpensive, easy to find, and of course, delicious.

I chose a quinoa and millet combination because both are gluten-free grains, and we could all stand to take a break from our wheat-centric diets. Hooray for variety! Remember that quinoa is a good source of iron, calcium, magnesium, and a complete protein. Millet is considered to be one of the least allergenic and most digestible grains available, plus it’s loaded with B-vitamins, phosphorous and potassium. Appropriately, both are warming grains so will help to heat the body during the cold winter months ahead. Indeed.

You can use any kind of grains to make your breakfast cereal base, but choose grains with relatively similar cooking times. Brown rice, for example, takes about 50 minutes to cook, so it would be best paired with rye or spelt. Amaranth and buckwheat are another excellent gluten-free combo that take about 15 minutes to cook. Experiment with various mixtures that suit your tastes, and change it up from week to week. You can always cook and eat your favorite grain all on its own, but I prefer the range of flavours and textures when they are combined in the same pot.

Once cooked, store your cooled grain mix in an airtight container in the fridge for five days. I make my mix on lazy Sunday nights, so I have breakfast for the entire work week. It takes about 3-4 minutes to assemble in the morning, and I’m good to go. You can even keep your re-heated grain mix in a thermos to enjoy at work and add your toppings there.

No more bread, bagel, danish, doughnut binges! No more packaged, processed, frosted, freaky cereal! No more excuses! Let’s do it.

The Real Deal Cereal
Grain Mix Base

1 cup quinoa
1 cup millet
4 ½ cups water
pinch of sea salt

Directions:
1. Rinse grains very well. Place in saucepan. Add water and salt.
2. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer until water is absorbed, about 20 minutes.
3. Let cool slightly. Store in a container in the fridge.

For each portion:
1 cup cooked grain mix (½ cup for kids)
¼ cup water or milk (rice, almond, hemp, soy, dairy…)
¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
generous pinch ground ginger
fresh or frozen fruit
1 Tbsp. maple syrup
Optional additions:
1 tsp. chia seeds – Omega-3 fatty acids, protein, fibre, calcium
1 Tbsp. hemp seeds – Omega-3 + Omega-6 fatty acids, protein
handful chopped nuts, such as pecans and walnuts
dollop of yogurt (sugar free)

Directions:
1. Measure out one cup of the cooked grain mix and place in a small saucepan with the water or milk. Heat over medium heat until warmed through. Add fruit if frozen, warm until fully thawed. Remove form heat.
2. Stir in the cinnamon, ginger, and chia and hemp seeds if you have them.
3. Place grain mix in a bowl, drizzle with maple syrup, add nuts and chopped fresh fruit, plus a dollop of yogurt, if desired.

I truly hope that this recipe and new system works for you and your family. A healthy start to the day is the best gift you can give yourself, and that does NOT include Count Chocula, Cap’n Crunch, or that weird little leprechaun, if you know what I mean.

Copyright 2012 My New Roots at mynewroots.blogspot.com

42 comments

  1. John Cooper

    I am continually searching for new sound breakfasts and this looks incredible. Do you discover the chia seeds assimilate the fluid before you eat it? I think about whether it is ideal to toss it in with the quinoa or millet. I normally include my chia seeds with my oats while they are cooking over the stovetop

  2. Daniela

    Hi Sarah thank you for all your recepies lovely photographs, information and uplifting inspiration!!!!!:)))))) I have been reading your blog since around 2011 and it is always amazing. This morning I was looking for breakfast ideas… So I’ll try this, with polenta I think:) oh and I discover a few of your posts on you tube and it was great to see you ‘ in person’!!!!! ( I’m in Australia) !!!!Thanks so much xxxxxxxxxx

  3. Fran

    I use a rice cooker with the lid off to cook grains as cereal, and I usually reheat in a cereal bowl set in the top of a steamer pan.

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  5. Signe Jacobsen

    No Website yet! I just found your blogg. I’m 84, still teaching and kjeeping as healthy as I can. I have been eating yiur kind of breakfast for some months, and what you say about food is so true. I will keep watching your bloggs and will take your cookbook one of these days. Just as soon as I complete my final manual.
    Keep up the wonderful work you are doing. I hope more folk find you.

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  7. Vonnie Greene

    I just discovered your blog. However, I am a diabetic of 32 years and find recipes that indicate the nutrition stats are much better, as I need all the information I can get for everything I eat. Because the Insulin Pump is based on Carbs in each serving (size) of a recipe I am eating, works much better than **Guessing** the carbs. You have very healthy recipes and many sound fantastic, but are useless because no nutritional value is given. “Healthy” to me is definitely different than “Healthy” to you when every detail is needed.
    I would love to try some of your recipes, but don’t want to “Guess” the info I need. Thanks for your ideas

  8. Lane

    Thanks Sarah, I love your recipes.
    I made a batch the other day and threw in some cauliflower towards the end of the cooking time. Served with avocado, goats yogurt and a drizzle of tahini it is so delicious and filling for breakfast!

  9. Audrey

    The Real Deal Cereal recipe looks great and I appreciate you also mentioning what other combinations of grains pair well together too. One question though, I thought quinoa had to be soaked for a long time before cooking to remove anti-nutrients, but I’m seeing many recipes like this that don’t even mention this process. What are your thoughts about this?

  10. Dave

    Wow, this is so great. I just made a batch. I sweetened mine with diced Medjool dates instead of maple syrup. Also threw some raw pepitas on there.

    Your blog is a life-changer! So thanks. 🙂

  11. Carolina

    Hello! 🙂 I just love your Blog! The recipes seem great and everything is so well done and written with lots of interesting things! I just started my own Blog and your Blog is quite an inspiration for new bloggers I tell you! Thank you! 🙂 If you ever feel like checking mine I would feel truly honored, here I leave the link: http://carolinneworld.wordpress.com/ Thank you 🙂

  12. Jo

    Hi Sarah! Great blog! I wonder if you used a particular type of millet. I tried your recipe but the millet cooked faster than the quinoa, turning mush while the quinoa stayed hard. Let me know 🙂

  13. Jess

    HI Sarah,
    is it possible to toast the grains so as they can be stored in an airtight container out of the fridge for longer?
    🙂

  14. Belle

    I’m a little late to comment but this is so so lovely!

    I just prepared a big batch for the rest of the week.

    I fell head over heals in love with your blog when I discovered it some weeks ago!

  15. Elena

    I love your blog! Could I subscribe to get your posts sent to my email? I looked all over your blog but couldn’t find a place to subscribe.
    Thank you! This blog is amazing. 😀

  16. Tanja @ Postmodern Hostess

    Such a great suggestion, and I love focusing on making just one meal (the most important meal of the day) healthier. I have been loving steel cut oats with almond milk, coconut and cinnamon, but this sounds even better. Of course, getting my act together and actually making it is another story!

  17. Eva

    Your blog is fantastic; just what I was looking for! Plus you offer plenty of vegan recipes so that’s an extra bonus in my book. Thank you for having a blog like this! I’m adding you to my RSS feed and will be following! : )

  18. Sarah B

    Hey Skip – thanks for the comment, I hope this breakfast works for you and your family!
    Like I said in the ingredient list, you can use milk or water to heat up the grains. Personally, i don’t drink cow’s milk, but if it’s something you like, go for it! As always, I recommend buying organic animal products if they are available and you can afford them.

    All the best to you. Let me know how this works out!

    In health,
    Sarah B

  19. Skip H.

    We’ll try it Sarah. Breakfast really is the easiest meal to get “right” and your idea of making one batch weekly is a great time saver. For families on a tight budget, your breakfast is probably half the cost of the packaged cereals. Do you use milk? Skip

  20. Rikki R

    This looks really yummy! I was wondering what your opinion (health-wise)of polenta is, since I haven’t seen it mentioned on any of your posts. Polenta is one of my favorites for breakfast in winter, so warm and cozy. In fact, I love it any meal of the day. Creamy polenta with roasted butternut squash and walnut-sage-parsley pesto; I’m getting hungry just thinking about it! (sorry, I tend to get off topic) Anyway, I’d love to hear your thoughts on whether or not polenta is a healthy choice!

    Thanks so much,
    Rikki

  21. Rhia

    Hi! I’m so glad I found your blog through Tastespotting. I just went through a lot of your old posts, saving ones that I want to read in more detail. I actually really want to become a Holistic Nutritionist one day, and I love all this information I’m finding in your blog. Thank you! 🙂

  22. Sarah B

    Yes, the chia will absorb some of the liquid when it’s cooking, so I leave them until the end and just stir them in. I don’t love the feeling of them in my mouth when they start forming that gel. It’s a personal preference 🙂

  23. Angharad

    I just found your blog and wanted to say hello – I’m really enjoying looking around!
    That gravy below, the wheat berry salad, banana bread…so many lovely recipes!
    Happy new year to you.

  24. Kristin (Cook, Bake, Nibble)

    This looks fantastic! I have been experimenting with more grains for breakfast, brown rice I love, millet I LOVE for dinner but it was so-so in porridge form. Nevertheless, I love my grain-y breakfasts. Oats are always a good standby, too 🙂

    xo

  25. janet

    I am always looking for new healthy breakfasts and this looks great. Do you find the chia seeds absorb the liquid before you eat it? I wonder if it would be better to throw it in with the quinoa or millet. I usually add my chia seeds with my oats while they are cooking over the stovetop.

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