Monday, November 06, 2006

Breakfast when you need it now.

We are experiencing a few technical difficulties. Okay, maybe not so very technical, but difficult nonetheless. The Girls has had the flu the past two days, though she ate dinner tonight so we'll see if she keeps it down or we have another night like the last. That's just my excuse for not posting for a while. The Tortilla recipe that I promised you was scribbled on a very greasy and well used scrap of paper that has, predictably gone missing. This morning I tried to phone my dear friend Beth in Canada, who's recipe it is, to ask her for it again, only to have her midwife answer the phone. She's in the middle of having a baby so it may be a while before I can get that recipe to you.

But I have a couple of other recipes/ideas to keep you from being too disappointed.

Breakfast is one of those meals that never seems to be fast enough to prepare. There are hungry children that want to eat now, there are schedules to keep and people to get out the door and it's easy to fall back on cereal, or toaster pastries, or other convenience foods that are less healthy for us. Here are a few things that work for me for breakfast.

Whole Grain Crockpot Porridge

1 cup whole oats-hulled
1 cup whole barley-hulled
1/2 cup millet
5-6-7 cups of water
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt(Optional)
1 cup dried fruit (Raisins, apples, cranberries, prunes, apricots, etc.)

Combine all ingredients in crockpot. Cook on low. feeds 4-5 hungry people. To keep the outside from getting crunchy you can put a bowl with the combined ingredients in it inside the crockpot. Fill the crockpot itself with water that goes about halfway up the outside of the bowl.

Turn on the crockpot just before you go to bed, and turn it off as soon as you wake up. Serve with milk or cream or yogurt, maple syrup, fresh berries, my husband likes to add brown sugar; whatever you like. The longer you sleep, the more water you need to add so it doesn't burn or dry out. Also, if you have leftovers, take them out of the crockpot right away and put them in something else so that they don't dry out right away from the residual heat.

It's great having breakfast ready when you get out of bed, and it smells good too.

Another great option is meusli. In europe they mix this ahead the night before with the yogurt and fresh fruit and it's very soft in the morning. My family prefers their meusli a little bit more chewy, so I mix the yogurt in in the morning and we eat it like that. I'm not talking about the meusli cereal with the flakes in it that comes in a box. I'm talking about the stuff that looks more like granola that hasn't been cooked. You can buy this in several stores, or you can make it yourself.

Basic meusli recipe

5 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup millet
1 cup chopped or slivered almonds
1 cup dried fruit, (anything you want, we like dried apples and raisins, or a berry mix.)
2 tbsps cinnamon
2 tbsps ground cardamom (We like it anyway)
mix together and keep in a bag in the fridge, to serve add equal parts fresh plain yogurt and meusli, stir together and eat. The longer you let it sit, the softer it gets. You can add fresh fruit also, berries kiwi, mangos, whatever your imagination can come up with.

There are as many different ways to make meusli as there are people, you can add other grains, avoid sour ones, you can add more nuts less nuts, different kinds of nuts,seeds, coconut, fruit, spices, etc. Experiment until you find one that your family loves.

Yogurt can get expensive to buy so I have a secret for you; it's super simple to make and way cheaper. I used to be afraid of it, and waited a long time to try, and then wondered why I had because it's so simple.

Yogurt Recipe

All you need is a large pot, a warm place, I use my oven, and a candy thermometer, oh and containers to hold the yogurt I like glass canning jars the best the 1 litre size.


yogurt with live active cultures/yogurt starter like yogourmet

A starter comes with directions, if you decide to use some of your last container of plain yogurt instead, this is what you do. Make sure the label reads active bacterial cultures, if not you need to get a different brand of yogurt, or a starter.

In a pot on the stove heat the milk until it reaches 180 degrees F. This is to pasteurize it. DO NOT LET THE MILK BOIL OR GET ANY HOTTER THAN 180. If this happens you change the structure of the proteins and it gets weird and stringy. Remove from heat immediately and allow to cool until milk is 120 degrees F. If you are in a hurry you can put it in the fridge, but it will get all steamy and over worked. While milk is cooling, turn oven on to the lowest setting, usually 150 degrees. Once milk is 120 degrees stir in approx. 1/4 cup of yogurt. Immediately, before it can cool, pour into storage containers and place in warm oven. Turn the oven off, it should stay warm enough, and allow at least 4 hours to pass. I usually just go to bed and check it in the morning. The bacteria in yogurt like the temperature 120. As long as the milk stays warm, they will make yogurt for you. I make a big batch one or two nights a month. It keeps a long time.
It has been years since we bought yogurt.

1 comment:

kate said...

We have a yogurt maker from the early eighties. It's basically a base that you plug in that warms up, and then seven little jars to put the milk/yogurt mixture in, and a cover. It takes 8-10 hours. Good stuff. I haven't seen any crock pots here, though we can get muesli.

I'll keep checking in for the tortilla recipe!

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