The light, sweet-salty crunch of this cereal will leave you clamoring for just one more spoonful! Unfortunately, although boxed cereal may seem to be a quick and healthy food or snack, it is often highly processed and far from fresh. Here’s a recipe for a “real food” cereal that is quick and satisfying… and leaves plenty of room for variety!
I do like the idea of being a morning person who wakens with the rays of dawn for a leisurely cup of tea and quiet time before anyone else in the house is awake. I also like it when I have breakfast prepared the night before and ready to transfer to a “to-go” container for my Farmer’s breakfast. I also like sleep! (And that is a precious commodity these days with four little ones.) Usually I am awakened by our little Farmer Girl who whispers in my ear, “Mama, what can I have for food?”
In days of old, I would have just pulled out the cereal stash from the pantry, but cereal is full of hidden sugars, sodium, and artificial-whatevers. (Not to mention that store bought cereal now leaves me with a horrible aftertaste!) Oats, however, are real-food cereal grains that are quick to prepare. This recipe, inspired by one from The Cafe Sucre Farine, fits the bill perfectly (and is easier than traditional granola.) It’s nice to know that I can throw this wholesome, real-food cereal together in no time in the morning (and still sneak in a few more minutes of sleep before the day explodes into activity!)
Nutrition Bite: Just one fourth a cup of oats provides 96% of your daily value of manganese (mang-guh-neez), a mineral thought to play a role in blood glucose control, skin integrity, and free radical protection. That’s a pretty impressive resume for such an obscure mineral!
Have it Your Way
This cereal mixture is easily customized to fit the preferences of anyone in the family. We currently serve it three ways:
- Raw mixture with almonds (for the Little Farmers who don’t like it cooked)
- Toasted mixture with pecans or walnuts (for my Farmer who has some strange food texture issues)
- Toasted mixture with a variety of nuts (for this Farmer’s Wife who likes variety)
On Being a “Cereal Mixer”
I come by the need for variety in cereal honestly… it’s in my genes. My grandmother (“Ma”) was the queen of cereal mixtures. In fact, she had her own cereal container labeled “Ma’s Mix” that would house the remnants of almost-depleted cereal boxes. “Ma’s Mix” was always our cereal of choice when we were at her house.
Growing up, it seemed we had at least 15 open boxes of cereal in our pantry at one time. Our friends were amazed at the enormity of choices. We always mixed at least 2-3 different types of cereals, though, and marveled at the audacity of any guest who poured an entire bowlful from one box, especially if it was one of our “sweet cereals”. We had certain types of “basic cereals” such as cornflakes, plain Rice Krispies, bran flakes, or shredded wheat that necessarily were poured before the sweet types of cereal (you just weren’t allowed to have an entire bowl of Cocoa Krispies — at least mix them with some plain Rice Krispies!) What about you? Are you a cereal purist? Or, do you mix yours as well?
Make your Cereal the “Real Deal”
I roll our oats from oat groats (yielding a wonderfully fresh flavor), but you can use old-fashioned oats, like these from Bob’s Red Mill. Due to their higher fat content, oats don’t keep fresh very long, so buy them in smaller packages or keep them in the freezer. If you don’t care for nuts, just substitute another cup of oats for the nuts.
I use this type of Grade B maple syrup for a stronger maple flavor (and there is some thought that it may have a higher nutrient content), but regular maple syrup would work just as well.
The recipe doubles (and quadruples!) easily — just bake one recipe’s worth at a time on the baking sheet. This cereal keeps well for at least 2 weeks in a sealed container (wide-mouthed quart mason jars work well!) Using a silicone-coated USA baking pan makes baking a breeze and will eliminate the need for parchment paper. (I can make batch after batch of cereal on my USA sheet pan and never have to wash it in-between batches!)
Serve it up!
Serve with milk or stirred into yogurt. Lavish fresh or dried fruit on top! Sprinkle with grated coconut or chia seeds for an extra treat!
- 2 cups rolled oats (I used freshly rolled oats, but old fashioned would also work)
- 1 cup nuts (chopped pecans, walnuts, and/or sliced almonds)
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ cup Grade B maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350˚F.
- Prepare a USA sheet pan, or line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a mixing bowl, stir together maple syrup, salt, and vanilla. Add oats and nuts to coat thoroughly. Spread mixture across the pan.
- Bake at 350˚F for 10 minutes, then stir and spread across the pan before returning to the oven to bake another 5-8 minutes or until light golden (watch carefully in the last few minutes as this mixture browns quickly.)
- Let cool completely before transferring to an airtight container.
- Serve with milk or yogurt. Top with fresh fruit or grated coconut for a simple breakfast or snack.
Local Market by A Spoon Full of Yum
A Spoon Full of Yum sells freshly rolled oats, as well as and other high quality baking ingredients, directly to customers in the Nashville, Tennessee area. For more information, please email me (Bethany@aspoonfullofyum.com) or use the contact form provided on the “Local Market” section of the side bar.
Links to help you get started on this recipe: