If you were to nominate one meal a day for a facelift, would it be breakfast? I thought so. Breakfast can be a challenge for many people, including myself. I get into super groovin’ streaks with morning meals for weeks on end at times, feeling like I’m sooo on top of everything in my life. Then something happens, breakfast becomes less of a priority and I end up making the same smoothie or sourdough smeared with almond butter over and over again. Okay, now that I am writing this down, it really doesn’t sound all that dreadful, but for me, starting the day in not only a conscious, but enthusiastic way sets me up for the rest of my waking hours. It fuels me in ways that go beyond calories: it’s self-love, ceremony, and celebration.
Ironically, I make a very complete and healthy breakfast for my 14-month old every single day without even thinking about it. Before I go to bed at night, I soak whole grains, nuts and seeds, rinse them in the morning and cook them with fresh fruit, spices and superfoods. So, um, what about mum? Funny how it wasn’t until recently that I thought about myself and how I would like the break the fast. I guess that’s just “being a parent” sometimes, but I am now committed to making a change. It is a New Year after all.
Serious Cereal and a Plea for Carbohydrates
When someone says that they eat “cereal” for breakfast, what do you picture? A bowl of steaming hot whole grains, or sugary flakes in milk? I tend to imagine the latter, and I suppose it’s because that was my breakfast growing up. We had a few kinds of packaged cereal, and not total junk food, but I do recall the odd time we could convince my mom to buy some rainbow-hued concoction in a moment of weakness. I get it: boxed cereal is mindlessly easy, requires no cooking, soaking, stirring or waiting.
But this. This is serious cereal. Real cereal. The kind that stands behind its name, and not the kind that has led us so far astray from what cereal actually is that we’ve mostly forgotten it’s meaning. It’s unprocessed, unrefined, completely whole and natural, and the real way we are meant to eat grains.
And while we’re on the subject, I would like to make a case for carbs. When yet another friend of mine felt the need to accuse all carbohydrates of being evil, I wonder how we’ve become prejudice against macronutrients?! It’s like the diet dark ages.
Carbohydrates are not the devil. Many modern eating plans out there vilify them for various reasons, but we need to remember that the majority of grains and grain-related products that people in developed counties consume are highly processed, refined, and stripped of nearly all their nutrients. This was originally done to prolong shelf life, but continues as we’ve developed a taste for them! It turns out we prefer sweeter food that is faster to cook and easier to chew (go figure). From a biological standpoint, this makes perfect sense, so it’s rather difficult trying to convince people to spend more money on food that spoils faster, takes longer to cook and eat! Argh. I can only promise you it is worth it. And once you start replacing refined grains with whole grains you will feel why. Eating them in balance with both fats and proteins is a much healthier and quite simply, a more sustainable way of living.
My point here is this: let’s stop looking at food in its respective parts (carbs, fats, proteins), and get back to the whole picture, the whole food. Choosing a balanced way of eating, as close to nature as possible is the most realistic plan for eating long term. Going to extremes (low-carb! no-carb! fat-free! high-protein!) is not a sustainable way of eating or living. What I propose instead is a sensible, flexible dietary strategy that we can incorporate successfully, and joyfully, over a lifetime.
McKel Hill wrote a couple stellar articles about carbohydrates over on her site, Nutrition Stripped. Check them out – very clear and thorough reads for those of you who want to know more!
I made this cereal blend with a few things in mind. For one, I wanted the mix to be gluten-free so that we can all enjoy it. I wanted something that could keep outside of the fridge, as rolled grains spoil relatively quickly if left at room temperature (how long have those quick oats been sittin’ in your cupboard, ya’ll?) so I chose only whole grains that are relatively shelf stable. And of course, I also wanted the cereal to actually taste good, which it does. The texture is also very pleasing, not mushy or glue-y like some of the other porridges I’ve tried. The sunflower seeds add a wonderful tooth and the grain size differences make for a satisfying mouthfeel (yes, I just used that word).
Although I highly recommend soaking the cereal overnight, you can of course cook it from raw the morning you are eating it. In both cases however, rinse the cereal under cool running water before cooking. I use a very fine mesh sieve for this, as the chia and amaranth seeds will fall through large holes.
Once cooked, add whatever you like to the porridge. I love a little nut milk poured over the top for creaminess, plus a drizzle of maple syrup or honey, which makes everything delish. I made up a couple seasonal bowls in hopes of inspiring you: one with pear, roasted hazelnuts, and pomegranate seeds; the other with persimmon, toasted coconut flakes and bee pollen. Warming spices like cinnamon and cardamom are tasty stirred in, as are dried fruit, like apricots, raisins, goji berries, mulberries, or figs. Basically, this breakfast is infinitely customizable for every palate and season. Find your groove and just enjoy filling yourself with nourishing goodness from morning’s first light.
The below batch recipe is a good starting amount, and will make 18-19 portions if you go with ¼ cup / 50g servings. I find this amount is perfect for me once I add in fruit, some nuts or seeds and superfoods, but if your calories needs are higher, go for 1/3 or 1/2 cup servings. If you want to double, triple or quadruple the batch amount, feel free to do so. I just recommend making this amount first and testing it to make sure you really like it, then you can make it your go-to cereal.
Seriously Super Cereal
Makes 18-19, 1/4 cup / 50g portions
1 cup / 170g buckwheat
1 cup / 200g millet
1 cup quinoa / 170g
1 cup amaranth / 190g
½ cup / 70g sunflower seeds
¼ cup / 40g chia seeds
1. Place all ingredients in a large glass or ceramic container (this fits a 2-quart / 2-L jar). Stir to combine. Seal tightly and store in a cool, dark place for up to three months.
For soaked cereal:
¼ cup Seriously Super Cereal blend
1 tsp. acidic medium (apple cider vinegar or lemon juice are good choices)
½ cup / 125ml water
1. Rinse cereal blend well in a very fine mesh sieve.
2. Place in a small saucepan with your acidic medium and cover with water, preferably from a recently boiled kettle.
3. In the morning, drain and rinse grains well. Place back in the saucepan, add ½ cup / 125ml water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer and cook 10 minutes, until the grains are tender.
4. Enjoy warm with milk and sweetener of your choice, fresh fruit, spices, and superfoods.
For un-soaked cereal:
¼ cup / 50g Seriously Super Cereal blend
1 cup / 250ml water
cook 20 minutes
1. Rinse porridge mix well in a very fine mesh sieve.
2. Place in a small saucepan with 1 cup / 250ml water, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered, for about 20 minutes, until the grains are tender.
3. Enjoy warm with milk and sweetener of your choice, fresh fruit, spices, and superfoods.
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For those of you that follow me on Instagram will know that I received the first hard copy of my cookbook this week! Eek! I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank you all SO MUCH for the incredible love and enthusiasm. I couldn’t write this post and not tell you how much I appreciate your words. Sheesh! I am bursting with gratitude.
I have to mention again that the book is only available for preorder at this time, here. The book drops in North America March 31, UK and Australia April 9, Denmark May 21, Netherlands in June and Germany this summer. Thanks everyone!!
with a full heart,
Show me your Seriously Super Cereal on Instagram: #seriouslysupercereal