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Hot cereals for breakfast {a family favorite}

Hot cereals for breakfast don't have to be boring. There are all kinds of grains and add-ins that can make every bowl unique.

Growing up my mom did many things that I now realize were not the norm for a mom of the ’70s and ’80s. One of those things was making sure we ate a hot breakfast before going to school. That’s not to say we never ate cold cereal but it was the exception rather than the rule. She realized that cold cereal just doesn’t stay with you very long and so made breakfast almost every morning. It was never anything fancy but it was always filling.

So, almost every morning I make breakfast for my children. Since I’ve always done it, it’s really no big deal. But I realize that to many people it isn’t a habit and it takes more effort. So, I’ve teamed up with nine other bloggers and eight sponsors to bring you a month of hot breakfast ideas. Each week will have a different theme; family favorites, quick and easy, leisurely and breakfast for dinner.

This week is family favorites. Growing up I loved when my mom made hot cereals for breakfast (see, nothing fancy). We didn’t have oatmeal very often, but rice cereal or creamed wheat cereal were favorites. She would always put a sliver of butter and some sugar on top in each bowl.

Hot cereals for breakfast don't have to be boring. There are all kinds of grains and add-ins that can make every bowl unique.

It’s no surprise then that we eat hot cereal at least once a week. I’ve heard you can make hot cereal in the microwave but I prefer to cook it in a pot (just like my mom did). Most hot cereal bags have directions on them, for the most part, just follow those directions. Always add a little salt.I also like to have some add ins for my kids, so they can make their cereal as unique as they are.

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Add-ins for hot cereal

Sweeteners- Of course you could use sugar to sweeten hot cereal but we really like maple syrup and honey.

Milk -Dairy or non-dairy, it’s all good. A little splash of milk will make the cereal super creamy. 

Dried Fruit – Raisins, dried cranberries, berry mixes, goji berries, chopped mango, apricots or dates add texture and sweetness to your hot cereal. 

Fresh Fruit – Lightly cooked apples and pears are great additions to hot cereal. 

Nuts, Seeds ad Nut Butters – We like to add chopped nuts (almonds, pecans and peanuts) and seeds (sunflower, chia, sesame) to our hot cereal for texture and nut butters (almond or peanut) for flavor. 

Spices – Cinnamon adds a nice little kick to hot cereal. I know I mentioned salt earlier but it bears mentioning again, hot cereal needs a little salt. Esther likes to add a little cocoa also. {edited to add: My suggestion to add salt to hot cereal was really just because I think hot cereal tastes better with a little sprinkle of salt. I didn’t put an amount because there can be quite a difference between the flavor of the salt I use and what someone else uses. When deciding on what salt to use, please don’t just pick up the cheapest one at the grocery store and call it good. Do a little research and find the one that is best for you. For the most part you’ll want to use a salt that has trace minerals in it.}

Some things in life don’t really have a recipe, they just have a process. Hot cereals for breakfast is one of those things. Keep it simple or make it fancy with lots of add-ins – whatever works for you. 

Bob’s Red Mill offered to sent me three of their hot cereals to try,  10 Grain, High Fiber Hot Cereal and Brown Rice Farina. I know grains are a hot topic in some circles right now and I really don’t want to get into a debate about them. But I think we can all agree that if we’re going to eat them, we should look for organic, non-gmo grains. Bob’s Red Mill is committed to sourcing only non-gmo grains and offering organic grains as much as possible. We liked all three varieties, although my favorite was the brown rice farina. We did think that the salt recommendation was a little high and cut that in half after the first time. 

Being in the south, maple syrup isn’t something that has always been readily available. And until Maple Valley Co-Op sent us some Grade B Organic Maple Syrup I had no idea what we have been missing. Apparently, for maple syrup Grade B is richer and darker than Grade A. When Phoebe tasted it, she commented that it was sweeter and more flavorful than what we normally have. This is especially good for hot cereal because it means you use less. 

Made in Nature is another company that is committed to selling non-gmo produce. They sent us a bag of Mixed Super Berries and Goji Berries.  We were really surprised that that berries were really soft and moist, not dry and shriveled like dried fruit sometime is. They don’t add sugar or us sulfer-dioxide. 

Nut butters are a really fun add in for hot cereals. Woodstock Foods sent us some Organic Unsalted Almond Butter. Benjamin has been adding a teaspoon or so each time to his cereal and loving it. Woodstock is also committed to sourcing only non-gmo products and has been for over 25 years. 

So, tell me, what are your favorite ways to each hot cereal?

Thanks for sharing with your friends!

Peggy

Tuesday 2nd of June 2015

Can you tell me how to make Brown Rice Farina from scratch, Cream of Wheat from Scratch. I have been trying to find recipes to make them. Thank you Peggy

Angi Schneider

Tuesday 2nd of June 2015

I wish I could but I don't know how to make it from scratch. I do have a grain mill but it grind the wheat too fine for this. My kids do like a creamy rice cereal that I make, you might like it too. I make plain rice (usually the night before and put it in the refrigerator). When it's done, I put butter, milk, salt and sugar in the rice to make a cereal. I don't really measure anything, I just do it by taste and looks. Hope this helps.

Rachel E.

Tuesday 3rd of February 2015

Personally, I'll take Whole Grain Farina over oatmeal any day. Love the stuff with brown sugar and a pat of butter. My son loves it too. The others - ehh.

I was going to tell you, I'm taking a beekeeping class! How cool is that? Had the first class this evening.

Angi Schneider

Wednesday 4th of February 2015

oh fun! I bet you're going to learn a lot. I wish there were classes here but my son has a mentor, so that is very helpful.

tessa

Tuesday 3rd of February 2015

Those berries are so good, aren't they? The syrup, too! The thing I like about Gojis is that they're healthy but when they're raw, they're nasty; dry them and they're divine.

This breakfast is really a quick one, with everyone being able to pick what they want to put in - like an ice cream bar only healthy.

Thanks for sharing!

Angi Schneider

Wednesday 4th of February 2015

That's interesting about the Goji berries. Who would have ever thought, "These are nasty, I should dry them out and eat them that way." Maybe I should start calling it Breakfast Ice Cream ;-)

Charissa

Tuesday 3rd of February 2015

I often forget to have hot cereal for breakfast, even though I like it. We get in a rut eating eggs and toast most mornings, but I think I will make oatmeal for tomorrow's breakfast. Thank you for the reminder.

Angi Schneider

Wednesday 4th of February 2015

I often get in ruts also, sometimes it's just easier to not think and do what you've always done. We like it as an afternoon snack too.

Rhonda Crank

Tuesday 3rd of February 2015

Angi, Great post. Our favorite hot cereal would be a tie between Grits with a fried egg on top and Bob's Red Mill Extra Thick Cut oatmeal with blackberries (for me) and brown sugar and butter for J - Thanks for sharing your memories and the recipes.

Angi Schneider

Wednesday 4th of February 2015

So, I'm guessing I'm not really southern as I've never had grits. I always think of hot cereal as sweet and grits are usually savory. The oatmeal and blackberries sound wonderful. We're just a few months away from picking wild blackberries.