Take it on the road

On-the-go ce­real balls a yummy morn­ing treat

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FOOD/COMMUNITY - BY THE CULI­NARY IN­STI­TUTE OF AMER­ICA

THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS Col­lege and univer­sity are right around the cor­ner, and it’s an in­dis­putable fact that this age group loves ce­real — or at least they will prob­a­bly be hooked by the third week of their fresh­man year. Stu­dents have lots to jug­gle, mean­ing food is of­ten last on their list of pri­or­i­ties. So that makes that easy bowl of ce­real a life­saver when the work piles up. Even at The Culi­nary In­sti­tute of Amer­ica, where stu­dents’ break­fasts can mean made-to­order eggs Bene­dict and huevos rancheros, con­ve­nience some­times wins. Like, what hap­pens when those hard-work­ing stu­dents’ alarm clocks get turned off through ab­so­lutely no fault of their own and they’re run­ning late to their 8 a.m. choco­late and con­fec­tionery tech­niques exam? The saviour of every col­lege stu­dent (and any­one of any age who some­times over­sleeps) is this recipe for On-the-Go Ce­real Balls and here’s why: One, they are yummy. Two, they are easy to make (no cook­ing!). And three, you can make them as healthy - or not - as you like. All of the in­gre­di­ents, from the ce­real to the nut but­ter to the dried fruit, can be picked up at any mar­ket. They can also be eas­ily boxed up in a care pack­age with the recipe in­cluded, plus a lit­tle note from home. Ex­cept for the pow­dered milk (which is cheap and easy to find), the in­gre­di­ents are prob­a­bly al­ready in your col­lege kid’s dorm room, so they have no ex­cuse. Pre­pared quickly by hand in a bowl (or dis­carded pizza box, if we’re be­ing re­al­is­tic), th­ese ce­real balls can be ready in a mat­ter of min­utes and will hold all week, ready to grab on the way out the door. Us­ing whole grain ce­real and lightly sweet­ened nut but­ters, they hit that sweet spot our kids so of­ten crave at break­fast, but still offer the pro­teins and car­bo­hy­drates they need to power them through a busy morn­ing.

And the flavour com­bi­na­tions are lim­ited only to your fam­ily’s pref­er­ences, like hon­eynut ce­real with almond but­ter and dried cran­ber­ries or cin­na­mon-flavoured ce­real with cashew but­ter and dried cher­ries or home­made granola and choco­late-hazel­nut. There’s no end to the com­bi­na­tions.

If you’re fac­ing food al­ler­gies, don’t de­spair. This recipe can be made us­ing gluten-free ce­re­als, and the nut but­ters can in­clude sun­flower seed but­ter or even tahini, made from sesame seeds. And if dairy is an issue, you can omit the milk pow­der for slightly dif­fer­ent re­sults. This in­gre­di­ent helps to bind the whole mix­ture to­gether, so you might find that you need to add a bit more honey or nut but­ter, in that case. Al­ways re­mem­ber to check the in­gre­di­ent list in your pre­pared foods for hid­den al­ler­gens, too.

And since lit­tle kids are just pre-19-year-olds, this recipe is tai­lor-made for them as well, as they head back to school. You can size the balls up or down, de­pend­ing on your lit­tle one’s ap­petite, mak­ing them the per­fect hand-held treat. Wrap them in parch­ment pa­per be­fore you hop in the car to help keep that back­seat free of sticky fingers, if such a thing is even pos­si­ble.

ON-THE-GO CE­REAL BALLS

Serv­ings: 6

Start to fin­ish: 5 min­utes 3 cups of your favourite ce­real

3/4 cup peanut but­ter or other nut but­ter

3/4 cup non­fat pow­dered milk (see Chef’s Note)

1/2 cup honey

1/4 cup chopped dried fruit (op­tional)

1/4 tsp vanilla ex­tract Lightly crush the ce­real in a medium bowl, and then add the peanut but­ter, pow­dered milk, honey, dried fruit (if us­ing), and vanilla. Mix un­til the ce­real is evenly coated.

Use your hands to shape the mix­ture into 6 balls. Eat right away, or re­frig­er­ate, cov­ered, un­til ready to eat.

Chef’s note: Pow­dered milk is made by de­hy­drat­ing (re­mov­ing the wa­ter from) liq­uid milk. This form of milk has many uses, but in a recipe like this, it helps hold all of the pieces to­gether. You can find pow­dered milk at your gro­cery store. Nutri­tion in­for­ma­tion per serv­ing: 379 calo­ries; 161 calo­ries from fat; 18 g fat (2 g sat­u­rated; 0 g trans fats); 2 mg choles­terol; 228 mg sodium; 50 g car­bo­hy­drate; 4 g fiber; 34 g sugar; 11 g protein.

AP PHOTO

Get the day off right with on-the-go ce­real balls.

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