A foodie's quest to turn up the heat through strength and conditioning with whole food and a hungry mind.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Homemade Coconut Quinoa Cereal: Goodbye, Cheerios!

Before I start, I want to say Happy 20th Birthday to my little brother, Preston!  Hope you enjoy the PB Pumpkin Protein Cookies once you get them!

While many people find comfort in foods like mashed potatoes and gravy, I look to cereal for my ultimate comfort food.  I used to have several boxes to choose from and would frequently mix and match on a daily/nightly basis.

My aversion to most package foods has limited what I choose for boxed cereal, but it's mostly the Food For Life Original Ezekiel Cereal now.  I love the stuff; no added sugar, stays crunchy, and very healthy with a small ingredient list.

But my mind wonders, and I'm always looking for something new to make and enjoy.  I thought of qunioa and how I really only use it for savory lunch recipes, but maybe it would do well as a tasty cold cereal to...hmmmmm.

I entered the kitchen on Saturday morning with my new-found agenda and eagerly set a saucepan on medium-high heat.  15 minutes later I had the end result....kinda.

I fed a few bites to my lovely tester/wife, Kelley, and received the nod of approval/I want more. Geez, it turned out way better and easier than I imagined, but now I wanted to make it crunchy.  Since Kelley liked it as is, I put some in fridge so she could have it later, then spread the rest flat on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and put in the oven.

Again, this was easier than expected (besides having to wait), and I now had a tasty, crunchy, and healthy quinoa cereal ready for some cold milk and topped with dry roasted nuts.  Boxed cereal? No thanks, I make my own now.

After trying both the toasted and non-toasted versions, I actually enjoy the non-toasted more. Now I can just whip up a big batch of quinoa and store in the fridge to have a super nutritious cold breakfast or treat throughout the week.

Do you have an extra 20 minutes? Use it to make this now and appreciate the extra time you'll have later.

Homemade Cold Quinoa Cereal

Liquid of choice - I used light canned coconut milk and unsweetened almond milk with great success Use any liquid that appeals to you; some options are apple, carrot, or pineapple juice, dairy or other non-dairy milk, brewed tea (chai would be wonderful), and whatever else you can think of.
Stevia packets - you can use honey or agave to taste as well
Pure vanilla extract
Salt to taste
Optional: Cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, peanut butter, or raisins

To cook, add one part quinoa with two parts liquid in a pot on the stove; add all but the vanilla extract to the  pot and bring to a boil.  I used 1/2 cup dry quinoa and one cup light coconut milk, sweetened with 2 packets NuNaturals Stevia powder and cinnamon and brought to a boil. Before adding liquid, try toasting the quinoa in the dry pot before adding liquid for about a minute to give it a great, nutty flavor. 

Once boiling, cover and reduce heat to simmer and let cook 15 minutes.  The quinoa will be translucent once finished; remove from heat to let cool ten minutes, and then stir in 1 tsp vanilla. and any of the optional ingredients. Store quinoa in an airtight container and keep in fridge until you're ready to enjoy.  I think it's best cold by itself, but could be great mixed with milk or yogurt, fresh fruit (berries, banana, pineapple, even kiwi), and toasted nuts.

If you want it crunchy, spread cooked quinoa out on a cookie sheet and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 35 - 40 minutes making sure to stir often. Watch for the seeds turning too dark/burned during the last 5 minutes.

Kelley said she could have this for breakfast instead of the Ezekiel cereal we order from Amazon, so I am going to test it out next week to see how it goes.  Keep your fingers crossed; maybe we won't have to buy boxed cereal anymore!

Q: What's your favorite comfort food?  Have you ever tried making a healthy version if it isn't already?

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