Slow Cooked Grains for Breakfast

Breakfast (you must begin this the evening before) :

Slow-cooker Cereal
1 c. oat groats
1 c. millet
1/4 c. unflavored tvp (tvp is available at your health food store and is sold as texturized protein granules. You can make this without the tvp, but you will probably be hungry again sooner. TVP is a protein, and most of my family do better with protein in our breakfast)
2+ tsp. cinnamon (more or less)
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
In the evening, stir together dry ingredients in 4 qt slow cooker.
add:
8 cups cold water
3+ tsp. vanilla ( more or less- we also like orange extract and cinnamon)

Gently stir and finish stirring by leveling out the dry ingredients on
the bottom.

Set slow-cooker to just under 3, or low on a crockpot.

In the morning, stir and serve.

Possible toppings:
raisins, diced apple or applesauce, other fruit, brown sugar or honey, milk, yogurt, chopped nuts, etc, singly or in combination.

Can substitute brown rice and/or barley and/or wheat for oat groats and/or millet. The texture is a bit chewier, but it’s still good. Can use any combination of the 5 grains as long as you use the same general dry-to-liquid proportions of 2 1/4 c. dry to 8 c. water.
~from the kitchen of Denise Bryce an online friend who served this delicious warm breakfast to my family once when we were traveling across country and the Bryce’s graciously invited us to use their lovely home as a bed and breakfast.

Variations:

Protein:
The original recipe calls for 1/4 cup of tvp for extra protein. This helps one not to feel famished just an hour or two after eating. We’re fresh out of tvp. I made one batch with about 1/3 cup of powder from a protein shake mix. It turned out well, but I think I could have used as much as a cup.

Some time back our co-op ran a special on macadamia nut butter if the buyer purchased 12 jars. The price was really excellent (cheaper than peanut butter) so I did, but it turns out that macadamia nut butter is runny and nobody here really likes the texture much. I thought of that while mixing up the ingredients in my crockpot last night, so I added half of a small jar to the crockpot. Nobody could taste the macadmia butter except the FYG (who doesn’t like nut-butters), and everybody liked the results (except the FYG, so she ate hers with honey). I’ve very pleased with this one, and foresee several weeks of macadamia nut-butter and warm cereal in the morning.

I’d like to add some ground flax seed to it sometime, too, and see how we like that.

Grains:
We don’t have oat groats, and I’m trying very hard to stick to ‘what I have in my hand‘ instead of running to the store, so we’ve used buckwheat, millet, and barley in varying proportions. The children prefer a smoother texture, so equal amounts of buckwheat and millet appeal most to them. I prefer something chewier, so I liked it best when I used half barley and half buckwheat. We happen to have a lot of buckwheat on hand, because it turns out that I’m the only one who really enjoys my recipe for buckwheat-sesame bread. It’s too crunchy for the rest.
I’ve heard from many people who use barley and find that works very well for them.

Sweeteners
We’ve liked it topped with maple syrup, a spoonful of citrus honey, OR a spoonful of jam. Equuschick liked hers with salt, butter, and maple syrup together.
We’ve liked it when I choppped up dried apricots and added them to the grains before cooking. Some family members are sure it would be delicious with raisins, but we’re out of raisins and I don’t like them, which means we have no urgent need to replace them.

Seasonings
We’ve used cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, cloves, allspice, and mace. I think the cloves add a very pleasant extra touch.

Fats
I believe that we need fats in our diet, healthy fats, and children need them in particular. Fats also help stave off that hungry feeling that comes from stoking up with carbs. I have added up to half a cup of coconut oil to the crockpot at the start of cooking, and the cereal was tasty, not at all greasy or oily.
The Equuschick, as we mentioned, likes to add butter to hers. The nutbutters also have fats, and the fat in macadamia nut butter is supposed to be particularly healthy.

I think it would also be good with cream poured over it while still hot. Yoghurt might also be tasty.

I even added some strawberry acidophilus to the mixture one evening, and nobody noticed. I’m not sure that was as useful as one would wish, though, since the cooking temperature probably is too high to allow the cultures to survive.

We haven’t had any leftover to speak of. Most people like seconds here, and, Equuschick and Pip have each chosen to have the last small serving for an afternoon snack when there has been some leftover. My young people tend to be bigger eaters than most- I guess they have the HM’s high metabolism. So while it serves nine of us generously, it might serve a dozen or more if your family includes the sort of children who are happy with half a sandwich for lunch. We didn’t know what it was to have children like that until our sixth came along.

Last year when we had houseguests (or rather, one of the times we had winter houseguests) I added coconut oil, chopped walnuts, and diced apples along with a generous splash of our homemade vanilla, cinnamon, freshly ground cloves, ginger and a touch of molasses. For grains we used about half oat groats and half buckwheat.

Pipsqueak made granola, and for the benefit of our houseguests I set the granola on the counter near the crockpot, along with the canister of brown sugar and the butter for those who like their hot cereal with butter. Then I put out a stack of bowls and spoons and told our guests that there was vanilla yogurt and whole milk in the fridge.

This way, breakfast was available to any early birds while allowing those of us kept up by snoring spouses with stuffy noses some of us to sleep in without guilt.

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