Breakfast is something that is a continuous struggle for me. Oatmeal has been our standby for years now, but (as I'm sure I've mentioned before) our palates are beyond bored with it. Near the end of last year, I tried experimenting with some other grains (cream of wheat, cream of buckwheat, quinoa flakes, teff hot cereal) that were all flat-out rejected by my family. And when I say rejected, I mean that some were actually gagged back out onto the table. Major new-food failure.
Given the unfriendly welcome these new grains received in my kitchen, I knew I would have to get creative. Enter our favorite grain, rice. We have rice-based dinners at least once a week--burritos, fried rice, stir fry. Now, instead of making a full pot of rice, I have started mixing my grains, half and half. One week was half brown rice, half quinoa. The next week was half brown rice, half buckwheat (warning if you try this one, it comes out mushy...it's trickier to disguise buckwheat's texture). Half brown rice and half millet works, too!
Sidenote--This is not a parenting tactic I'm proud of; I don't like to trick my children into eating healthy food by making them think it's something they enjoy. I want them to eat a food, identify that they enjoy it, and then tell them exactly what it was and how nutritious it is for their little growing bodies! This way, they can say, "Oh, yes, I like _______!" (zucchini, carrots, quinoa!!) But with these grains, we're not quite there yet. They will know the truth behind our breakfast "rice pudding" very soon, once we've enjoyed it a few more times. :)
And now back to breakfast--I pulled this together one evening as a snack when I was craving something warm, sweet, and comforting. It makes a delicious breakfast, and the whole grains really satisfy and stave off hunger all morning. My husband and I love it, as does our youngest. Our oldest daughter tolerates it, which is good enough for me... :)
"Rice" Pudding Breakfast Cereal
Place desired amount of cooked rice/quinoa blend in a pot over medium heat. Add enough almond milk (I'm in love with Silk Pure Almond, unsweetened) to cover the grains. Sprinkle in a handful or two of raisins, a generous shake of cinnamon, and a dash of nutmeg. Heat through, then simmer for a few more minutes to allow the grains to soak up some of the extra milk.
Serve with another splash of milk and a drizzle of maple syrup.