Tag Archives: breakfast

Cinnamon Granola a.k.a. Best Granola of Your Life

We love cereal in this house.

Cinnamon Granola - Foodies Gone Real

But I am faced… EVERY SINGLE FREAKIN’ MONTH making the same choices everyone else makes: spend less on food and eat ingredients that aren’t as beneficial, or spend more on food and sacrifice something else.  Sometimes, I don’t have a choice. Medical bills from ongoing issues (story here), car repairs you don’t expect, the vacuum cleaner breaks. You know, life. And then it means we have to eat cheap because if I don’t have the money, I DON’T HAVE THE MONEY.

And you all know what I’m talkin’ about.

Now, I have my methods around this. First off, Aldi’s, y’all. ALDI’S. This store saves me. In the perfect world I would be a perfect locavore. But… when it feels like everything breaks in your home at the same time and the family still has to eat… Aldi’s. I’ve told you all before how this store makes up for my imperfect life.

So back to my cereal… the ingredient lists are mostly disheartening.  And if the ingredient list is not disheartening, then the price tag is… I can guarantee it. Do I sacrifice ingredients or my money?

My work around: granola.

Oats are CHEAP. I throw in nuts when I have them (a.k.a. can afford them) but you can easily sub in more oats instead. Run out of milk already? Sub in more water. I use coconut oil (back to finding something awesome at Aldi’s!) but you can put in whatever oil/butter you have on hand.  You can make this what you want and as expensive OR cheap as you desire.

Cinnamon Granola - Foodies Gone Real

INGREDIENTS:

  • 10 Cups of Rolled Oats
  • 1 Cup of Slivered Almonds
  • 1/2 Cup of Melted Coconut Oil
  • 4 Cups of Warm Water (just not ice cold…. does funky stuff to that oil)
  • 1 Tbl Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 Cup of Whole Milk
  • 1.5 Cups of Sweetener of Choice
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Tbl Cinnamon (or Pumpkin Pie Spice is great, too!)
  • Good Dash of Salt

TOOLS:

  • Large Bowl for Mix, one that you can seal up for several hours (cling wrap is fine)
  • Dehydrator OR You can use the oven (see instructions further down on this)

DIRECTIONS:

Okay, so are you ready for this: MIX ALL THE INGREDIENTS THOROUGHLY.  Let it sit on your counter at room temperature for about 7-8 hours. (You can let it sit for longer if you need to!)

YES.

You read that right.  That’s all you gotta do before the cooking.

I recommend covering it… but really just to ward of bugs and hands who want to taste it early.

Cinnamon Granola - Foodies Gone Real

Now onto the cooking part:  You’ll need to cook this one of two ways:  either a dehydrator on its highest setting or an oven.   I’ve made it both ways, my preference is a dehydrator.  I own this dehydrator and L-O-V-E it.  You can buy it new, you can also buy it used. I mean… I am talking about saving money here. I asked for one for Christmas a few years ago and my dear, sweet husband who knows his wife’s heart found a used one, in good condition, on ebay.  You do what you gotta do.

1) You can leave it in a dehydrator for days and it won’t go bad.  Don’t have time to deal with it right then? It’s fine.  Leave it (you’ll just keep using electricity).
2) It doesn’t burn.
3) No stirring required or watching.
4) It takes about 6 hours at the highest temperature on the dehydrator.

If you use an oven, preheat to 350* and spread it as thin as you can across at least two cookie sheets. You have to watch it, take it out and stir frequently. (And taste frequently!) This method will work, it’s just more time intensive.  You can’t put it in and walk away like you can with the dehydrator… you need to stir it about every 15 minutes until it’s just starting to crunch when you taste-test it.  In my experience this can take an about an hour, but will depend on how thin you spread your granola across baking sheets.

You can store your in an airtight container… for a couple of weeks.

Here’s how I usually do it: I start the granola in the morning sometime.  In the evening, I put it on the dehydrator.  The next morning… viola. Breakfast ready.

No yucky ingredients.  I mean, you know exactly what’s in it.  You’ve got around 12 cups of crunchy goodness for breakfast. Depending on appetites and family size, this can carry you for quite some time!

We eat it like cereal… but is great with the traditional yogurt, too. Enjoy your money-saving treat as we do.  My girls say it’s the best granola of their life.

Cinnamon Granola - Foodies Gone Real

 

 

 

 

DISCLOSURE: There may be affiliate links within this post. I never recommend anything arbitrarily and receive small financial benefit. If I choose to recommend something, it’s of my own free will and volition and MORE because I think you’ll benefit from hearing about it more than me gaining the $$. 

Changes and Biscuits

This recipe was created out of a desire to make a gluten-free goody for a special occasion where the person honored is on a strict no-gluten diet.

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And then real life happened, and I find myself cutting gluten to deal with an ongoing issue that COULD be chronic if I don’t nip it now.

So now… this recipe is for me, too.

Let’s be real, here:  gluten-free flours are expensive.  If you’re accustomed to a food budget that uses conventional flour, switching that out can really take a chunk out of what you eat/make.  Some people increase what they’re willing to spend on food when needing to go gluten-free, others cut most carbs out entirely.  And I know that there’s that whole logic, “you pay for it now with more expensive food OR you pay for it later with increased health issues and medical bills”… but y’all, that just doesn’t work for people who REALLY don’t have the extra money.  If you have $400 leftover in a month to spend on groceries for two people, then you ONLY HAVE $400.  I have to tell you, $400 for two people to eat real food is not impossible, but it can definitely be tricky.  Telling someone with only an extra $400 to “pay for it now or pay for it later” is just simply faulty logic.  We can’t certainly expect to advise people to go into debt in order to eat.

(Insert a thoughtful pause.  I understand that the last statement could be construed to be political.  I don’t think so.  It’s called stewardship.  Read my rant on that here.)

So, here I am, trying to go gluten-free.  Rest assured, it’s a legitimate health issue.  I’m not doing this on a self-diagnosed (aka hypochondriac’s introspection) logic.  I’m doing this from a place where a doctor told me my body is NOT doing what it’s supposed to.

It’s not a “new” topic to discuss how I manage a strict food budget that consumes 90% real food (no processed, additives, GMO-free, etc.).  I don’t expect I’ll make these often… because again, pound for pound, gluten-free flour is expensive.

Needless to say… it was a FABULOUS treat.  They freeze AND thaw well! This was about as close to a “real” biscuit as it gets!  And if you’re wondering if it’s possible to have a gluten-free biscuit that tastes like a “real” one… ask my taste-testers… a.k.a. my biggest picky eaters. (Yes. They cleaned the bowl afterwards.)

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INGREDIENTS:

2c gluten free flour, plus extra for dusting your hands
4tbl salted grass-fed butter (this version is HEALTHY. Please don’t get me all wound up about dairy fat.)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 plain whole milk yogurt
3/4 c whole milk

DIRECTIONS:

Mix your flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda in one bowl.  With a fork or pastry cutter, cut in the butter.

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Mix in your yogurt and milk.

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Grease your cookie sheet.  I used butter.  What isn’t improved with butter?

Dust your hands with flour, and make a 2″ ball of dough, then flatten it out a little bit.

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Space them well on your greased baking sheet.

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Bake at 425* for 10 minutes.  And VOILA! Biscuits.

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A Lesson on Einkorn and Super Fluffy Waffles

I am all about ease of use.  If there’s an easier way to do it, I’ll usually try that way.  And let’s be real here… it’s not always possible to soak a flour in time before guests arrive to make perfect biscuits or whatever carb-y side thing you might have planned.

And don’t even get me started on sprouted or fermenting (read: sourdough) … that nonsense can take DDDAAAAYYYSSSS.

Meet Einkorn.

Yes, it’s a grain. Yes, it’s wheat.  And no, I don’t soak it.

Say wwhhhaaaatt?!

A Lesson on Einkorn & Fluffy Waffles - Foodies Gone Real

I know, Mrs. Queen-I-soak-my-grains-and-preach-it has a grain she’s not soaking.  Or sprouting.  Or fermenting.  But I’m forsaking this for good reason!

Why?

It doesn’t bother my belly.

Which brings up a whole conundrum of questions and issues … Why doesn’t it?  What’s different from this wheat versus others?

Here’s a brief summary of the differences and benefits (sources are below):

  • Less gluten.  Wheat has been hybridized over the last few thousand of years.  Wheat is not what it used to be.  Part of the changes for mass-production in the 1900s, as it became the grain of choice, generated stronger yields but higher amounts of gluten.
  • It is a tried and true ancient grain.  You want to talk about “getting back to the way it used to be” this is it!
  • High content of protein.  Thousands of years ago breads were a large part of their diet, and it was good for them.  Obviously there was a greater need for carbohydrates as their level of activity was incredibly higher than ours.  But it should be noted that grains actually provided a great deal of necessary nutrition when prepared with these ancient grains.
  • Good source of minerals and vitamins.  (Vitamin E, anyone?  Beta-carotene? A grain that feeds us NUTRITION other than just fiber?!)  It even has a higher amount of fat!

I hope to draw the following picture:  this is a complex carbohydrate, with a more nutritious and balanced content.

So how do we use it?

First of all, it is catching on, especially in the whole-foods/I-prefer-to-eat-what-my-ancestors-ate camps. Consequently, there are plenty of other bloggers and articles with recipes out there… you just have to look!

Second, you need to know that while technically you can substitute it for wheat flour in conventional recipes, it does seem to need a little less liquid.  I have made it and not altered the directions at ALL and basically it just meant the cookies spread out a little more than what we would consider “normal” cookies.  Some places recommend reducing the liquids 15-20%, but it’s not absolutely necessary in my experience unless you are picky.  ;-)  (In my health-food-world, I’m just so happy to get a cookie at all, it doesn’t bother me that the shape isn’t perfect!)

And third, and most important to this post, you use it to make fluffy, tastes-like-conventional-white-flour waffles.  And yes, you read that right.

INGREDIENTS:

4 eggs

1 tsp of vanilla extract

2 cups of milk

1/2 cup of melted butter

1/4 cup of sweetener of choice (I usually go with coconut sugar or rapadura)

2 cups of einkorn flour

1 tbl of baking powder

1/2 tsp of baking soda

1/2 tsp of salt

OTHER ITEMS:

Waffle Iron

Butter

A good does of maple syrup :)

A Lesson on Einkorn & Fluffy Waffles - Foodies Gone Real

DIRECTIONS:

Mix all liquid ingredients + sweetener in one bowl.  In a larger bowl, mix dry ingredients.  Mix in liquid ingredients into the dry.

A Lesson on Einkorn & Fluffy Waffles - Foodies Gone Real

Do not overmix; it will be runny and that’s normal.

A Lesson on Einkorn & Fluffy Waffles - Foodies Gone Real

For my waffle iron, I use about 1/4 cup of batter for one waffle.  However, each waffle iron is different and you will need to use manufacturer instructions.

A Lesson on Einkorn & Fluffy Waffles - Foodies Gone Real

I make about 10-12 waffles with this recipe and my iron.  We usually top if off with a dollop of butter and a hearty drizzle of maple syrup.

A Lesson on Einkorn & Fluffy Waffles - Foodies Gone Real

Bon Appetit!

SOURCES:

“Einkorn Wheat”.  Wikipedia.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Einkorn_wheat#Nutrition_and_gluten_toxicity

“Einkorn Ancient Grain”.  Tropical Traditions.  http://www.tropicaltraditions.com/einkorn-ancient-grains.htm

“Einkorn”.  Jovial Foods.  https://jovialfoods.com/einkorn/

Chocolate Coconut Oatmeal

…. And, yes, you read that right.  I put cocoa and coconut in my soaked oatmeal.

Coconut Chocolate Oatmeal - Foodies Gone Real

After perfecting my soaked pumpkin pie oatmeal, I’ve experimented with a lot of other flavors.  At least in this house, the winning combinations seem to circle around cinnamon.  (No surprise there!)

But my girls got this “crazy” idea that I should make chocolate oatmeal.Coconut Chocolate Oatmeal - Foodies Gone Real

True story:  it tastes like that (really bad for you, but tastes really good) chocolate crispy cereal that is commonly marketed to kids. This recipe is a total win because, well, obviously, it’s homemade (first victory!) and second, and most important, all those garbage ingredients aren’t present.

First thing’s first:  I soak my (steel-cut) oats because it’s a grain and it makes it healthier and easier to digest.  I do not curl up and die if I don’t soak, and I certainly don’t condemn those that choose to not soak their oats.  Soaking is the “starting” process of fermenting the grains.  You can read more about it here and here (thanks DaNelle from Weed ‘Em and Reap for such a great resource!)

Here’s the generic directions for plain, unflavored oatmeal… this is what you want to do first, if you choose to soak.  If you choose not to soak your oats, follow the instructions as per your oats’ packaging:

Generic (Unflavored) Oatmeal instructions:

INGREDIENTS:
1 1/2 cups steel-cut oats
water
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Pour oats and vinegar into bowl (or crockpot).
  2. Fill the crockpot with enough water to cover the entire amount of oats, plus about 1.5 inches on top of that. (So you’re eye-balling this.)
  3. Soak for at least 12 hours, but not more than 24.
  4. You want to set this to cook on high for about 2-3 hours before you want to eat it, which is why I recommend a switch timer.
  5. Cook for about 2-3 hours, or until to desired “mushiness” (we don’t like ours too mushy, and our crockpot runs “hot” so we rarely let it go over 2 and a half hours).

Coconut Chocolate Oatmeal:

INGREDIENTS:
Prepared oatmeal for about 6 servings
1/2 cup cocoa
sprinkle of salt
1/2 cup shredded coconut
2/3 cup maple syrup

Mix all of the above together. Then serve. Then eat.  :)

Cook’s Notes:

  • We enjoyed topping ours with crushed walnuts and another healthy serving of shredded coconut.
  • Depending on your chocolate “preferences” you may choose to reduce the maple syrup or increase.  While my husband and I enjoy darker chocolate (so less sugar), my darling girlies are not so inclined (yet) so 2/3 cup of maple syrup it is.

Coconut Chocolate Oatmeal - Foodies Gone Real

Happy breakfasting!

 

DISCLOSURE: There may be affiliate links within this post. I never recommend anything arbitrarily and receive small financial benefit. If I choose to recommend something, it’s of my own free will and volition and MORE because I think you’ll benefit from hearing about it more than me gaining the $$. 

 

 

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

For about 6 months, I have been making oatmeal in my crockpot.  I can soak the oats during the day, and set my timer to turn the crockpot on at 5 in the morning.  (I’m talking about an electrical outlet timer. No joke, one of the best $10 I ever spent in my kitchen!)

It is such a happy moment to walk into your kitchen and know that breakfast is ready!

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal - Foodies Gone Real

I usually set up “generic” oatmeal that’s easy to flavor however you want.  Once the plain (unflavored) oatmeal is ready, I make the decision to either flavor it all, or flavor it as per the portion.  The benefit here is that each person can decide how they like it. I usually make enough for 6 servings, which means it lasts me until at least the next day. Sometimes I double it, and I’ve got generic oatmeal in my fridge for the whole week. :)

Needless to say, the directions here are for flavoring the whole batch.

Generic (Unflavored) Oatmeal instructions:

INGREDIENTS:
1 1/2 cups steel-cut oats
water
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Pour oats and vinegar into bowl (or crockpot).
  2. Fill the crockpot with enough water to cover the entire amount of oats, plus about 1.5 inches on top of that. (So you’re eye-balling this.)
  3. Soak for at least 12 hours, but not more than 24.
  4. You want to set this to cook on high for about 2-3 hours before you want to eat it, which is why I recommend a switch timer.
  5. Cook for about 2-3 hours, or until to desired “mushiness” (we don’t like ours too mushy, and our crockpot runs “hot” so we rarely let it go over 2 and a half hours).

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

Mix the following ingredients into your cooked “generic” oatmeal:

1/2 can organic pumpkin puree
2/3 cup maple syrup
1 & 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp clove
dash of salt

By all means, if you really love the pumpkin flavor, I would recommend adding the WHOLE can instead of just half and bumping up the cinnamon to your tastes.  I’m sorry I don’t have a more exact measurement for it, but canned pumpkin is really the only kind I have :)

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal - Foodies Gone Real

Happy breakfasting!

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