Today I spill the dirt on my dark cereal past and then lighten things up with a recipe for buckwheat granola that you, and your fiancé, will love!
Once Upon A Time, boy met girl …
At first our co-addiction was manageable – yes, we were actually addicted to the stuff, I have mentioned it here and here– but once we moved to the US, and shared a house for the first time, the cereal bomb exploded.
So, what happened?
- I transitioned from small, Australian-sized bowls to big, American-sized bowls. My portions increased to match my crockery.
- I increased my sugar intake exponentially by swapping plain Weetbix with homemade muesli for Cheerios, Grape Nuts and Raisin Bran – even the milk was sweeter.
- I matched my husband’s appetite, going back for seconds, thirds and sometimes fourths.
We had combined forces and the result was a nightly cereal binge-fest. But that’s not the worst of it…
Let’s be clear, when I say I was addicted to the stuff I am not exaggerating. My ‘habit’ had gotten to the point where I woke every morning at 1:05am – creepily it was the exact time time each day – walked to the kitchen and ate another bowl of cereal! My body was literally waking me up for more sugar and dairy.
This was no good, it had to stop. Sorry Nate.
Quitting was not easy and it took months for the pull of a cereal dessert to finally disappear. Sometimes, when a craving was too strong, we would “treat” ourselves; after these treats regret would arrive as quickly as the bloating, lethargy, stomach cramps, and trouble getting to sleep that had once been a common part of my nightly ritual. It looked like brightly colored boxes of cereal were a thing of the past.
I am proud that we quit the crap – wholegrain goodness, oh please! – but the question remained: “how do we fill the gap”? After all, our relationship was founded on cereal and I was determined to keep that tradition alive.
The Homespun Remedy
These days I combine grains, nuts, seeds and other delicious goodies to make cereal the right way; cereal that is a great source of energy for the day ahead or, in moderation, a comforting bowl of dessert. My cereals are low in sugar, high in real fiber and real whole grains, they have healthy fats and a variety of textures and flavors. I also love that I can have them in the cupboard without being under lock and key, not because they aren’t as delicious as the commercial variety, but because they don’t have the addictive sugars, chemicals and nasties that got us in trouble in the first place.
Today’s featured cereal is a crunchy buckwheat granola. I have provided instructions for dehydrating and oven baking. I enjoy it both ways and so does my husband.
Use this cereal recipe as the template to create your own perfect blend; mix and match ingredients that you, and your hubby-to-be, love so that the transition from store-bought junk to homemade health is easy and delicious.
Some ingredients I love to include after dehydrating are:
- dried coconut flakes
- raw cacao nibs
- goji berries
The Buckwheat Boost
Despite it’s name, buckwheat (Fagopyrum Escelentum) is not a member of the wheat or grain family. It is the seed of a plant that is related to rhubarb and sorrel. Buckwheat – or kasha, as it is known when toasted, is rich in nutritional benefits:
- It is a powerhouse of antioxidants to protect our cells from damage.
- It is a complete source of vegetarian protein, providing all 9 essential amino acids.
- It is loaded with fiber, which promotes digestive health and helps stabilize blood sugar levels.
- It has important trace minerals such as: magnesium, manganese, niacin, riboflavin, thiamin, zinc, and copper.
- It is gluten free, however cross-contamination with wheat can occur during processing so look for a product that is certified gluten-free.
- It is a sustainable crop that is n aturally resistant to pests, meaning that it is easy to grow without using pesticides.
Why & How We Soak
Soaking helps to breakdown the difficult to digest components of grains and pseudo grains, called phytates. This makes them easier to digest and helps to release the cocktail of healthy nutrients – yum, breakfast cocktails!
Soaking is simple, just remember to start the night before:
- Cover the buckwheat in warm, filtered water and add a small amount of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice, about one teaspoon per cup of water. The acidity activates a natural enzyme called phytase, which works to break down and reduce phytic acid.
- Tightly cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave on the countertop for 8-10 hours or overnight.
- Rinse very well, up to three times if needed (it might look a little slimy at first and that’s ok).
- Proceed with recipe or preparation.
The Recipe – His and Hers Buckwheat Granola
- 1 cup raw buckwheat groats (not the be mistaken with kasha, raw groats are beige and green)
- 1/2 cup of your favorite nuts, chopped (almonds, walnut halves, hazelnuts)
- 1/4 cup chia seeds
- 1 large, ripe, banana
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon of your favorite spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, vanilla, turmeric)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
- Soak the buckwheat groats as per the instructions above.
- Melt the coconut oil and honey in a glass bowl in the microwave, about 30 seconds.
- Add banana, coconut/honey mixture, spices and salt to a blender and blend well to combine*.
- Place prepared (i.e soaked, rinsed) buckwheat groats in a large bowl. Add nuts and seeds as desired. Stir through wet mixture.
*Want to elevate your granola to even higher health? Blend a 1-2 inch piece of peeled, fresh turmeric with the banana mix. It’s so good it should be adulterous.
To Dehydrate: Spread on a dehydrator tray lined with a lightly greased solid sheet, to form a layer about 1/3″ (1cm) thick. Dehydrate on 145F (63C) for 3 hours, then lower to 110F (43C) for another 10 hours, until dry and crisp. About halfway through the dehydrating process, carefully flip the granola over to ensure even dehydrating. Note: the higher original temperature will not prevent your granola from remaining raw, as the wet ingredients help to keep the internal temperature low. This helps to prevent fermentation.
To Oven Bake: Preheat the oven to 350F (180C). Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and spread granola evenly across the pan. Bake for 15 minutes. use a spatula to turn the mixture over. Bake another 10-12 minutes or until the edges are golden. Note: if it smells ready, it is ready! The granola will turn crispy once cooled.
Store raw buckwheat in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer.
Store granola in an airtight container in the fridge.
I would love to hear your favorite variation of this His and Hers cereal in the comments below.