Thursday, April 28, 2016

Homemade Cereals

My son's favorite first foods were avocado and banana. They both have incredibly creamy texture and mild/sweet flavor.

Shortly after he started on solids, I began my foray into attempting to make homemade cereal.

Books and blog posts will tell you... just pulverize brown rice/oatmeal/barley in a food processor or blender and then it cooks up in only 5 minutes on the stove top! I did not have much luck with this method, I always had to add much more water than recommended before the grains were not crunchy and the texture was never smooth like processed baby cereal.

It occurred to me that whole grains cook up much softer than my pulverized grains and couldn't I just blend the grain after cooking? Also, being a health conscious mama and exclusively breast-feeding, I was concerned about his iron intake. There is a lot of debate online and in literature on whether or not breast milk provides sufficient iron for baby after six months of age. Here is the Kelly Mom Opinion.

My solution to the iron debate: Cereal with Kale!

Here's my method:

I cook cereal in a heavy bottom, enamel coated, cast iron pot (love my le creuset, I purchased my pot from an outlet store). The pot does not matter, except that if you use an immersion blender you want to ensure you are not scratching any non-stick surface with the blender.

1/4 to 1 cup whole Brown Rice/Pearl Barley/Rolled Oats/Steel-cut Oats

Add enough filtered water for the amount of grain and cook as you normally would/according to package directions.

I found organic, chopped, frozen Kale at my local Super Target, but you could use fresh chopped kale leaves (remove the stems and ribs).

Five minutes before the grains are finished cooking, add 1/4-1/2 cup chopped kale and finish cooking with the pot covered.

After removing from the heat, allow the cereal to cool a little. Then blend with an immersion blender or in a blender until smooth/chunky (as your baby can handle), adding filtered water/formula/breast milk if needed.

I freeze this cereal in cubes and typically serve with some green puree, cause I like my colors to blend... It's great with pea, green bean, and/or asparagus puree and I usually add in an apple or pear cube too for sweetness. The veggies/fruits also act to thin the cereal a little more.

Beware...too much chunky cereal with kale will result in a lot of bowel movements! I only serve 1-2 cubes (1-2 oz) per day.

Barley with Kale

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