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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Breakfast is Back

Whole Grain (Fluffy) Pancakes and Breakfast Cereal

It is a daunting task to take the cold cereal out of the pantry and off the menu - mainly for me. The convenience is unparallelled. It's a quick, self-serve meal for kids and they're out the door. For unknown reasons, changing that one meal of the day was a priority for me. Maybe because I grew up on Fruity Pebbles...

or because I am a carb addict and still wanted to eat them. I just had to figure out a guiltless way to enjoy them and put grains back on the menu - whole style. My oldest daughter, Mini Me, is a sensitive soul. It is especially acute when she is hungry or tired. The whole grains keep her happy until school lunch. One morning she had strawberries for breakfast - that's it. As I predicted, it was a terrible day at school.

Let soak overnight:
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour or grain blend flour (see below)

1 1/2 cups clabbered raw milk (fluffiest), cultured raw buttermilk (very tasty), raw milk with 1 T liquid whey or fresh raw buttermilk

Mix in:
3 T raw sugar, honey or other natural sweetner
1/2 t salt
1/4 t baking soda
3 T unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs
1/2 t vanilla

Mix in last and cook within an hour:
1 1/2 t baking powder

This is a basic recipe that lends itself to any additions you want such as bacon, coconut, cheese, nuts, fruits etc. Cook the pancakes in a skillet over medium to medium-low heat. Use enough butter so they won't stick. Whole grain batters tend to take longer to cook through. If the heat is too high, they will burn on the outside before they are ready to turn - low and slow.

Ground Grain Blend
To break up the whole wheat everything, I use mixed grains once in a while. The caveat is that the pancakes generally don't freeze and thaw very well because they have less gluten. I try to incorporate gluten containing grains for at least 50% of the final blend. I keep it in a container all blended so I can just grind and go. I also use this blend to soak (substituting whole buckwheat for buckwheat groats) for a morning cereal. My typical blend is equal parts hard white wheat or spelt, oat groats, brown rice, rye, whole buckwheat (or buckwheat groats - if you don't want other family members suspecting they are healthy from the little black flecks in the batter), millet (sometimes) and hulled barley (not pearled barley). This is just a suggestion. Really - I am surprised at how flexible grain substitutions are for breakfast batters.

Breakfast Cereal

Use equal parts: rye, hard white or red wheat or spelt, hulled barley, buckwheat groats, brown rice and oat groats. At times I have added quinoa and/or amaranth. This is just a suggestion, use whatever you want. You don't need to make sure the blend had enough gluten because you don't need it for structure in a baked product. You just eat the grains sprouted and cooked.

Soak a cup of grains overnight or for 12 hours (this sprouts them). Rinse the water and add fresh water with a little salt to cover, maybe 1/2 inch above the grains. Cook it like rice - bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover. Simmer for about an hour checking the grains periodically so they don't scorch on the bottom. When they are finished, you can doctor them up however you like. Number 2 daughter calls it purple cereal because she likes it sauteed in a bit of butter with frozen berries mixed in. I stir in a little maple syrup to taste and drizzle with fresh raw cream.....yum. Most mornings I just saute the grains briefly in butter, add maple syrup and blueberries and bananas until the fruit is just warmed through, then drizzle with raw cream. They're nice with cinnamon too.

You can cook up a larger batch or put any remaining cooked grains in the fridge. It lasts - safely - a week. I like to use them as a meat extender in ground beef dishes or thrown in soups to make them more hearty (instead of making a separate dinner roll). I have even eaten them under stroganoff when the rest of the family wanted white rice.

Cooking note: To cook the grains, I actually use my wonder box cooker most of the time because it is hands off and they never scorch. Check the post to find out what is is and how to make one.

Happy Breakfasting
The Chemist

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