Sometimes I feel a bit lost at work when I’m asked by customers which of our boxed cereals they should eat. I really want to exclaim “None!” and explain how unhealthy and processed they can be. Do you know how flaked, shredded, puffed or extruded cereals are made? Yes even the cereals labelled as ‘Natural’ are manufactured in this way and they are still highly processed and devoid of nutrition. It’s argued they are even more dangerous (see here [Sidebar]).
Instead of those brightly coloured boxes I like to encourage people to get back to basics and make their own healthful mix of nuts, seeds, fruit and, at times, puffed grains. Now, I said puffed grain, not extruded puffed cereal. Made by pressure cooking grains with steam, puffed wholegrains are a great way to add texture to a home-made muesli mix or cereal topper. You can even do it at home if you want to – e.g with amaranth or cooked rice, quinoa, millet or barley. Don’t confine the use of puffed wholegrains to breakfast-time though, they are also fantastic for making your own home-made Rice Krispie Treats (Kellogs LCM).
Now I did say “Rice Krispies” but these bars are actually made with puffed millet, a deliciously nutty alternative to puffed rice and higher in protein and fibre. Popping or puffing uses rapid heat to explode the grain so there is supposedly little loss of nutrients (besides some of it’s B vitamin content). Puffed millet has a delicious taste reminiscent of cashews and when combined here with sun-butter and linseed meal gives you a lovely dose of protein and fibre per serving.
There’s nothing nasty in this recipe, the marshmallow and margarine in your traditional home-made Rice Krispies bar recipes are replaced with delicious sun-butter and organic rice malt syrup. Inspired by a recipe at Healthful Pursuit, I’ve just added organic Turkish apricots and goji berries give you some added colour and flavour. There’s some buckwheat kernels in there too to give a satisfying “crunch” to every bite. It’s easy to make, you don’t need to bake and you’ll end up with 16 yummy squares at the end of this recipe. Get your mixing arm warmed up!
- 3 cups puffed millet (or other puffed wholegrain)
- 1 cup buckwheat kernels
- 2 tbsp flax (linseed) meal
- ¾ cup finely chopped organic dried Turkish apricots
- ¼ cup goji berries
- ½ cup organic rice malt syrup
- ½ cup sunflower butter (or other seed/nut butter)
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- Grease a square cake tin. In a large bowl combine puffed millet, buckwheat, flax meal, dried apricot and goji berries. Put aside.
- In a small saucepan combine rice malt syrup, sunflower butter and vanilla extract. Stir mixture over medium heat for 5 minutes or until melted, smooth and glossy. Pour melted mixture over popped millet mix and combine quickly with a large spoon until well coated.
- Spoon mixture into prepared square cake tin and press out to edges firmly with a spatula. Firm mixture down into pan and cool in the fridge for an hour before cutting into squares.