We have reached the age of the cereal isles. Oh what big boxes with lots of colors and pretty characters brightening up the market and my child's eyes. On a recent outing to my local grocer I was scouring the shelves for some gluten free oats when I suddenly caved. I thought how easy would some mornings be with just a bowl, some milk and a box of cereal. No goat cheese toast drizzled with honey, no boiled eggs with perfectly cut up slices of bread, no mess of a freshly made smoothie or maybe it was just the taste of nostalgia. So I began carefully reading the labels on every single box, our market doesn't carry mainstream brands like kellogg's they are selective on their choices of natural or organic products. However, for some reason Honey Nut Cheerios always seems to be an exception to the rule, is that because its its GF friendly or because it may reduce the risk of heart disease, all I know is its packed with sugar. Three of the top six ingredients are variations of sweetners: sugar, brown sugar and honey! They also contain modified corn starch and trisodium phosphate. Remember that old saying if you don't know how to pronounce it or can't say what it is, then maybe its not good for you... Corn starch is genetically modified, so that is a big no no especially for our growing children. Trisodium phosphate is a chemical which has been deemed ecologically damaging yet is still being sold in the US as a food additive, laxative and get this, cleaning agent. Back to my post on natural toilet cleansers, this is a big ingredient in most toilet bowl tablets and yet it is in also in your breakfast cereal!! What is more insane is that this chemical is not even recommended for cleaning purposes as it can damage grout in your tile and stain the metal on your faucets. Gulp.
Anyways, excuse my long winded vent on mainstream cereals but it infuriates me that this is the number one selling cereal in the United States and they are claiming nutritional health benefits. Which leads me back to the alternative, brands such as Cascadian farms, Kashi, Annie's, Barbara's (puffins and snackimals), Bitsy Brainfood, Enviro Kidz and many more are much better choices. Most of these offer non-gmo and organic ingredients, use real sugars and stick to what is necessary. However, they need to add preservatives for freshness... And all the sugar levels range, organic doesn't mean sugar free, so double check you are choosing one with the least amount (5g to 17g), makes a huge difference!
I have decided to make our own alternative, we make granola so why not a fun kids inspired cereal. This recipe also doubles up as a fun tasty snack. I get these large bags of organic puffed kamutand puffed rice by Arrowhead Mills. Toss in some maple syrup and cinnamon, stir it up and roast it. Coco loves to help me with this recipe as its very easy and not messy at all. Maybe a little sticky since she tries to drink the maple syrup!
MAPLE ROASTED PUFFS
2 cups puffed kamut
2 cups puffed rice
1/2 cup of grade B maple syrup
1 tablespoon of ceylon cinnamon
(you can use as little or as much of the syrup & cinnamon as you like)
Mix all ingredients together in a large mixing bowl
Heat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper
Pour the mixture onto baking sheet and roast for 10-12 minutes
(level of crunchiness will differ the longer you keep in oven, remember they get a little more crispy once they come out and cool off. You can also triple this amount to make a whole jar full, I prefer to make small batches fresh as there are no added preservatives and we don't eat cereal every day)
I have also chosen maple syrup over honey for two reasons; the first being maple syrup season, the beautiful maple tree is ready for harvest as the sap can start to flow as spring begins to show. Secondly, the alternative would be honey but because these are being roasted honey should not be heat treated. I would love to hear what recipes you come up with! I wanted to keep this recipe sweet and simple, to compete with those supermarket brands. I could add tons of healthier nuts and seeds but then I would be basically making another granola...