the cereal aisle

The cereal aisle is a dangerous place. I spend roughly 8 minutes of my life each and every grocery trip arguing with my children about why they can’t have 99% of the boxes in the cereal aisle. Here is a fun fact, 4 grams equals 1 teaspoon of sugar. So, for all my math nerds, lets do some simple addition. A typical serving of cereal is 3/4 of a cup and contains 9-12 grams of sugar. If you buy your kid Honey Nut Cheerios and they have 2 servings (because really, who the fuck eats 3/4 of a cup of cereal?); that equals 18 grams of sugar, or 4.5 teaspoons of sugar. Go dump 4.5 teaspoons into a small glass, you want your kids munching on that to start their day? I hope not. Now this is an argument I sometimes lose. This week, my kids won and I bought them Cinnamon Toast Crunch (9 grams of sugar per serving). Lucky for me, they barely finish one serving and round off the meal with fruit or a smoothie. (which I pack with spinach or kale to offset the sugar) Personally, I can’t eat that shit but they’re kids and no matter how hard I try, sometimes they just want plain garbage.

However, for me, the convenience of cereal has its benefits. It is something quick that I can eat in the morning and helps me to avoid getting something on the way to work. I’ve been shoving plain Cheerios with a banana in my face nearly every day but I’m hungry less than an hour later. It just doesn’t sustain me. Bottom line – from a box is bad. Homemade is good. But since my new project is all about being real – who the hell has time to make homemade cereal????

Unfortunately, in doing research for my new project I found that a lot of plant based recipes are a disaster. Millions of unknown ingredients, most VERY expensive. Picture me in Whole Foods searching for psyllium husks. Twenty minutes and $10 later I found them but I was super annoyed. My new motto is – it doesn’t have to be this difficult. This recipe takes 5 minutes to put together. The hardest part is waiting for it to cool so you can dig in!

The recipe for this cereal is typical of what you will find in my new project. Easy to shop for, make and conquer. And how about the health benefits of the ingredients:

Flax seeds: help reduce risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes, contain omega-3 (healthy fat!) essential fatty acids, lignans (antioxidants!!) and fiber (both soluble and insoluble)
Almond flour: low in carbohydrates, high in fiber and high source of protein.
Coconut Oil: high in natural saturated fats which increase healthy cholesterol in the body which assists in heart health.
Unsweetened applesauce: an especially good source of soluble fiber, the type that dissolves into a gel-like substance and helps maintain healthy blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
Cinnamon: antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, helps protect brain function
Coconut Sugar: coconut sugar contains inulin. Inulin has the ability to stimulate the growth of intestinal bifidobacteria, commonly found in probiotice, which can provide an overall boost to the immune system. Don’t be fooled though, I do want to point out that sugar is sugar so best to be cautious when using.

So, here you have it, housemade cereal! P.S. This recipe goes a LONG way. Don’t let it fool you. I put like 15 squares in a bowl with lots of fresh berries and I was full until lunch. In fact, I had to push myself to eat lunch. The fact that it is grain and gluten free also means easy digestion and a slow release of energy. Also incredibly helpful for our whacky hormones. One recipe should last you a full working week.

HOUSEMADE CINNAMON VANILLA CEREAL – MAKES 7 SERVINGS (1 serving, roughly 12-15 squares, with a cup of raspberries, blueberries and strawberries is 267 calories) (this does not count almond milk)

Note: I don’t think this is meant to be enjoyed alone, I would always have it with a little fruit

1-1/2 cups organic blanched almond flour (you can find this in the organic section of Hannaford)
1/2 cup ground flax seeds (I just bought regular seeds and through them in the blender)
1-1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 cup coconut sugar (I actually cut this in half to 2 tablespoons and added 2 additional tablespoons of almond meal to reduce the overall sugar but you can do whatever suits you)
1/4 cup organic, unsweetened apple sauce (use an extra dollop if you need to for moisture)
1 tablespoon melted coconut oil
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

1. Preheat oven to 325°F

2. Combine all the ingredients into a bowl, adding a touch more applesauce if you need to in order to achieve a “dough” that sticks together. I used my hands, using a spoon just didn’t make sense. Gather dough into a rough ball.

3. Place dough on piece of parchment paper and flatten into a disk to make rolling out easier. Place another piece of parchment on top. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough as evenly as possible, about 2mm thickness (don’t go too thin here or it will easily burn). Remove top sheet of parchment paper, and using a paring knife, score the dough into small squares. (see picture below)

4. Place in the oven to bake for about 15-20 minutes until turning golden around the edges, then turn the oven off and let the cereal sit in there until cool (this will help dry it out and make them extra crisp). Watch the cereal carefully. My first tried burned pretty badly. I started looking in at about 10 minutes. At 15, I placed a piece of foil on top to prevent browning further. It won’t feel crisp at first, but will dry out and crisp as the pan cools, I promise. If you are nervous about the color, put a piece of foil on while it sits with the oven off.

5. Once the cereal is completely cool, break up the pieces into squares (this will happen very easily) and place in an airtight glass container. Store for up to one month at room temperature.

4 thoughts on “the cereal aisle

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