Sometime last year, I designated Thursday mornings as “cereal morning.” Thursday is our Made On Acorn Hill work day — I just need something easy for breakfast on those mornings. Finding matching kid shoes is hard enough; this is not a day for a complicated breakfast. The kids love boxed cereals (what kid doesn’t), and since I didn’t want them to eat that too often, I decided to designate cereal to this one day each week. It’s a quick and easy kids-can-even-serve-it-themselves breakfast, plus another bonus: one less meal to think about when planning the week’s meals.
However, I began to notice a trend. After eating one bowl of cereal, they asked for another. And even when they ate two bowls of cereal, we would arrive at my mom’s house on Thursday morning (where they stay while I work), and they were pretty much asking for food as they walked through the door, already claiming to be “starving.” The cereal just didn’t stay with them.
A couple of months ago, I decided to swap out cereal Thursday for granola Thursday. It’s still a kids-can-even-serve-it-themselves breakfast and one less thing to think about when planning the week’s meals, BUT it’s something I feel good about them eating.
We’ve been making and eating this granola for years, but until recently, it didn’t have its own special day of the week.
To improve digestion and nutritional value, we soak our oats, so this is a soaked granola recipe. (You can find lots of info online on the whys and hows of soaking.)
8 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup wheat flour
3/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 cup water
Stir these ingredients together in a large bowl, cover with a towel, and let sit at room temperature overnight.
The next day, stir the following ingredients together (it may help to warm this to mix more easily):
1/2 cup honey
3/4 cup maple syrup
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp vanilla
1 Tbsp maple extract (I use Watkins brand.)
1 tsp sea salt
Mix well and incorporate into oats.
Spread mixture onto 2 large cookie sheets lined with parchment paper. It’ll be pretty wet-looking at this point.
Bake at 250 for 4 hours, stirring and flipping every 30 minutes. You can cook it longer if you like it extra crunchy, and keep in mind that it will crisp up as it cools.
Once baked and cooled, stir in some (or all) of these add-ins:
1 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
1 cup raisins
1 cup dried fruit (blueberries, peaches, cranberries, cherries, etc)
1 cup nuts (we like chopped walnuts and/or sliced almonds)
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup sesame seeds
This recipe makes about 1 gallon (depending on your add-ins), and we store it in 2 half-gallon mason jars. You can split the recipe if that’s too much for your family. We go through a batch this size in about a month.
The kids love this granola for breakfast topped with yogurt and fresh fruit (whatever we have on hand). I buy whole milk plain yogurt from Aldi and sweeten it with honey and vanilla extract – sweet, vanilla yogurt without any weird ingredients. Pour granola into bowl, top with a couple of spoons of yogurt, and top with sliced fresh strawberries or peaches, blueberries or apples…. MMM!
I’d be lying if I said this cereal to granola switch has completely eliminated the begging for food at my mom’s on Thursdays. They still ask for food at her house (who are we kidding… grandmas just have good food), but this “granola Thursday” breakfast sticks to them MUCH better than the sugary, boxed cereals. And it serves up JUST AS EASY. That’s a win.