Having breakfast cereal on hand makes your morning routine go so much smoother. But commercial cereal from the store is so sugar-laden and filled with artificial colors, flavors and preservatives. Make a couple batches of your own cereal and your family will not only have a quick and easy breakfast, but you can be sure that it is wholesome and nutritious.
Use the whole wheat and oats that you have in your food storage for even more savings.
Homemade Grape Nuts
I actually like the flavor of this better than what’s in the store. It’s a little time-consuming to make, but so inexpensive and tasty that the results are worth it.
7 C Whole-wheat flour
3 C packed brown sugar
2 ¼ tsp Baking soda
1 tsp Salt
2 ½ C Buttermilk
6 Tbsp Butter; melted
1 Tbsp Vanilla
1 tsp Maple flavoring (optional)
2 tsp cinnamon (optional)
Preheat oven to 350°. Grease 6 13x9x2″ pans.
Combine flour, brown sugar, baking soda and salt. Add buttermilk, butter, vanilla and maple flavoring, if desired. Spread into baking pans.
Bake 35 to 40 minutes. Cool; break up and process in processor until pieces are small.
Reduce oven to 250°. Return cereal to pans and bake 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes, or until light brown and crisp. Store airtight. Make 20 Cups.
This is a flexible recipe. You can add or decrease the cinnamon, vanilla and Mapeline to taste.
In the store Grape Nuts costs $2.50-$3/lb but the homemade version costs less than 60¢/lb. That’s a tremendous savings for a very healthy breakfast cereal.
You can use just about any dried fruit or nut that you like. Add more fruit and nuts to your taste. There’s no right or wrong way to make granola, just use the method and ingredients that are easiest, cheapest and suit your family’s tastes.
10 C rolled oats
1 C wheat germ (I use ground flax seed)
½ lb coconut
2 C raw sunflower seeds
3 C chopped nuts (walnuts, pecans, almonds, etc)
3 C dried fruit (raisins, apples, apricots, dates, Craisins, etc)
1 ½ C brown or white sugar
1 ½ C vegetable oil
1 ½ C water
½ C each molasses and honey
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
1 Tablespoon vanilla
Mix all dry ingredients except for the fruit in a large bowl and set aside. Mix all syrup ingredients except for the vanilla in a large pan. Bring to a boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Add syrup to dry oatmeal mixture and stir until everything is evenly coated.
Spread evenly into 5—9 X13” pans or large baking sheets with sides. Bake at 325º for 20-30 minutes (longer for crunchier texture), stirring occasionally. Be careful not to let it burn! Allow to cool then stir in fruit. Store in airtight containers for up to six months.
This recipe is very flexible. You can substitute wheat or rye flakes for part of the oats, use any combination of nuts, seeds or fruits, as little or as much as you like. I got flax in bulk for every good price, so I use substituted ground flax seed for wheat germ—it has more of the nutrition that I need in my middle age. Be creative with the flavor combinations: try pineapple, mango and coconut for a tropical granola OR cranberry, apple bits and substitute Mapeline for the vanilla and maple syrup for the molasses for an apple pie granola.
With these ingredients, one recipe costs about $9-$11 and yields 6 lbs of cereal. That’s about $1.50-$1.85 per pound. The cheapest granola in the store costs around $4-$6 per pound.