In two of our earliest posts, Breakfast as Ritual and 1st Breakfast, we discussed the ritual of breakfast and how porridge was an easy and reliable meal to share. More recently breakfast has become somewhat of a haphazard meal time in our household. While it is the one meal that we all sit together at the table to, the breakfast requests can be all over the place. Little Boy Green asks for whatever his mood dictates, fresh fruit and nuts, pasta with tomato sauce, salad (yes, salad, green leaves n’ all - after seeing me prepare his mother’s lunch box), corn on the cob, peanut butter and jam or hummus on toast are among the most common. Although he does have porridge frequently, maybe three days out of the seven he politely but firmly declines. The boy does like variety.
Mrs Green is also fairly unreliable, and also not an entirely steadfast porridge supporter. Sometimes, when she gives me a lie-in in the morning, and the boys are running wild, she sneakily serves Baby Green a cheat’s porridge -soggy bran cereal in milk disintegrated into a smooth paste (gross), which Little Boy Green flatly refuses. Generally, Mrs Green is old enough to eat what has been put on her plate, but when that plate is filled with porridge she resorts to a generous amount of maple syrup. Even then, she often unashamedly offloads the excess porridge to Baby Green.
The little guy is the most reliable member of the porridge troops, Baby Green and I genuinely enjoy a good bowl of berry-filled oat and quinoa porridge with a scoop of milled flaxseed. I am envious of those mythical families where children reliably finish a bowl of the quick and easy porridge breakfast without any hint of rebellion.
I keep insisting on the porridge we make because it is a filling and nutritious meal to start the day and it really keeps you power until lunchtime.
For this week’s post, I am revamping the porridge recipe. Instead of cooking the ingredients in milk or water and serving them warm, I have reassembled the ingredients in a different order and baked them in the oven for a crunchy scrumptious granola. This version will hopefully go down better in the warmer weather and provide for a new experience for my finickity crew.
The assembly and mixing of the granola ingredients this morning was a joint all-boys activity. Little Boy Green was in charge but Baby Green was approaching fast and was loud and cute enough to get his spoon stuck in. And when he got a tiny bit of the syrupy mixture stuck on his spoon, and that spoon found its way to his mouth, all bets were off. We had to leave Baby Green on the floor eating a spoonful from a bowl, while Little Boy Green with a little help from his assistants finished the granola and got it in the oven. Now he can hardly wait to eat it and when he does, he will feel so proud he made it. I will feel vindicated in serving up the porridge in a crunchy disguise. Mrs Green doesn’t have to cook in the morning. And Baby Green doesn’t have soggy cereal in a bowl (“he likes it!” she shouts from the living room).
If this were adults only affair, then we would include nuts such as pecans, pistachios and almonds, but these can be a bit tricky to chew for the littler ones so we reserve them for snack time and instead use a combination of seeds. As long as we maintain the proportions many of the ingredients are interchangeable. Instead of just jumbo oats, buckwheat and barley oats are also delicious. Cocoa nibs or chocolate chips would also be a delicious addition, but perhaps without the cinnamon. We baked our granola at a low temperature and for longer than most recipes suggest, so that there is little chance of any burning and no need to stir the mixture during baking time. Coconut oil is used because it is delicious combined with the cinnamon, but also because it has a low smoking point leaving its flavour more intact than other oils or higher temperatures.
- 2 cups jumbo oats
- 1/4 pumpkin seeds
- 1/4 sunflower seeds
- 1/2 chia seeds
- 1/2 hemp seeds
- 1 cup raisins (we used sultanas)
- 1 tbsp cinnamon, ceylon
- 1 tbsp whole cane rapadura sugar (or brown sugar)
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- Add all dry ingredients (except sugar) to a large mixing bowl and stir well to combine.
- In a measuring cup add the sugar then pour in the maple syrup to the 1/2 cup mark.
- If the coconut oil you are using is solid (it can be solid at room temperature), then scoop out enough into the measuring cup with the sugar and maple syrup still in it, until it reaches the 3/4 cup mark. Stir well until it is well combined. If the coconut oil does not melt, place the measuring cup, with all ingredients in it, into the oven as it preheats for a few minutes.
- Pour the wet ingredients onto the dry and mix well ensuring that all of the dry ingredients are moist.
- Spread onto two lined baking sheets and bake @120C for 60 min.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool before breaking up into clumps and storing in a glass jar with a lid. Can be kept for up to ten days, but probably wont last that long!