Friday, December 30, 2011

Homemade Breakfast Cereal

Since a possible temporary milk shortage may be on the horizon (on our farm, not nationally or globally, so don't freak out & go to CNN to check), I figured I'd better have my fill of cold cereal before we're out of fresh milk.

I guess it's no different than my homemade Granola, but it becomes cereal when I pour milk over it. 

I buy very little prepared cold cereals from the store, although Rice Krispies (or their generic counterpart) are an almost permanent part of our pantry.  There are like a million recipes that use that stuff and I love to make rice krispy treats in the summer.  And it's my fall-back breakfast for Rhiannon when she doesn't want to eat anything else.

Not only do I like to avoid those "extras" in the boxed cereal like food coloring (come on....neon blue and pink?????) and excessive sugars, but have you bought cereal lately?  Some are over five bucks a box!  For stinking cereal!!!  And the boxes are nowhere as big as they used to be.

So because I'm cheap I want healthier food, I like to make my own breakfast cereals for the house.  Well, it's not like I'm making the actual cereal know, puffing or popping or crunching up the actual grains.  I've always wanted to see how they do that; wonder if any of the companies give factory tours?  Now wouldn't that be a great future homeschooling fieldtrip for Me Rhiannon! 

When I get the hankering for homemade breakfast cereal, I buy bags of puffed wheat, puffed brown rice and crisp rice.  And all that's in those bags?  Wheat.  Rice.  Nothing else.

Puffed Wheat.  Ingredients: Whole Red Wheat.  Period.
Puffed Brown Rice.  Ingredients: Whole Brown Rice.  Period.

My recipe changes every single time.  I'm sorry to say that I've become one of "those" people who don't always follow recipes (or remember to write down what I did).  But basically, here's how I make my cereal:

Get a BIG honkin bowl.
Assemble the grains: puffed wheat, puffed rice, puffed corn, crisp rice, oatmeal.
Assemble the "special" ingredients: Cinnamon, chopped nuts, seeds, assorted dried fruits, flaked coconut, etc.

Gather the liquid ingredients / sweet stuff: Honey, maple syrup, simple homemade sugar syrup, veggie oil.

Dump all the grains in the bowl, then the dried fruits / nuts.  Mix.  Sprinkle cinnamon (or cocoa powder.....never did that before, but I might one day) & mix again.

Now this is where you're all going to yell at me.  Heat up "about that much" honey and "just a little bit" of oil in the microwave until it's warm & you can easily stir it.  Now, how much of course depends on how sweet you like your cereal and how much cereal is in that big ol' bowl.  But basically, you just want a very light coating over all the cereal.  As for how much honey (or other sweetener) to oil.....well, I'd say to about two cups of honey I'll add two Tablespoons of oil.

And you don't have to use honey.  Or just honey.  I've used a mixture of honey and maple syrup.  Or a homemade sugar syrup with a few drops of vanilla. 

Once your bowl o' cereal is mixed up nicely, spread it out into several baking pans or cookie sheets or casserole dishes and pop it into a 300 degree oven.  Or lower....or slightly higher.  Check it every fifteen minutes at first, then every five or so after "a while".  Yeah, I know, what kind of recipe is this?  Inexact measurements, guesstimated sugar to oil ratios, vague baking sue me.

But basically, you want to lightly brown the cereal.  So you'll have to just keep checking it as often as it needs to be checked so you can stir it to ensure even browning.

Take the pans out of the oven & let cool.  When cooled, break it into small pieces and store in an airtight container.  You can keep it on the countertop for a short while, but it will keep much longer in the fridge or freezer.


  1. This looks great! I, too, limit purchased cereal and prefer to make my own. I make granola and "grape nuts" but haven't tried this--I'll look for the puffed stuff at the store!

    Thanks for sharing your method. Happy New Year!

  2. I love the puffed rice!!

    And the cereal aisle makes me many different awful chemical flavored items for so much.

    I agree with Rice Crispy's because we like the treats every once in a while...

    Yet, I am at a loss at how cereal can be so expensive and people continue to buy it.

    Happy New Year!

  3. I've had lotsa recipes for homemade granola but never thought of making dry cereal like this. With just the two of us at home now, and one who will not (ever!) eat dry cereal, a batch of this would last me a long time. But I bet I could stick it in the freezer for better keeping. Very interesting!

  4. What a great, great idea!! That bowl of cereal looks so yummy! Jeez, I guess I have become "one of those people" too because your directions make perfect sense to me! LOL!!