Have you ever had such a surplus of one food that you had to get really creative? In our house that food is pearl barley. We absolutely fell in love with the taste, texture, and nutrition that we decided to stock up on it. It is also a great “just in case” food if you can’t get to the store, run out of oats, or need a well-rounded food in the case of an emergency. Guess what…. You can absolutely get tired of eating a single food the same way over and over. And that is where I get creative and having a knack for “Foodology” and the science of cooking comes in handy.
The kids hate barley, I mean they won’t even touch it, so it was time for mom to change it up and disguise it a little bit. I decided to give it a shot and see if I could make flour out of barley. Yes! So, I thought I would try to make bread with it. Ummm fail. (There is a process for barley bread that I just didn’t have time for.) Fine, never give up, I decided to give cookies a try. WIN! The kids loved them. But before all of that craziness I thought, “Why not just make a cream of barley hot cereal?” There is cream of wheat, Malt-O-Meal, grits, and cornmeal mush, so there had to be room on the breakfast menu for cream of barley. In saying that I can tell you that it tastes just the same as the boxed hot cereals and is way cheaper, and doesn’t have anything funky added in. Plus, it has twice the fiber, four times more protein, and barley is considered one of the world’s healthiest foods!
The base of the cereal is only three ingredients, four if you count water as an ingredient). It only takes 5 minutes to cook, and makes a great base for whatever your favorite hot cereal, or breakfast bowl, toppings are. You could get super crazy and creative (I see walnuts and chocolate drizzle in my future), but for this particular bowl I stayed fairly calm and well behaved. 😉 I topped my bowl with strawberries, blueberries, unsweetened shredded coconut, coconut cream drizzle, and a little bit more cinnamon. The flavors worked together and combined perfectly for a sweet, but not too sweet breakfast treat. And this bowl is filling! I always found that the store bought boxed hot cereals never really kept me full very long, but this keeps you full and really sticks to your ribs.
If you have a coffee grinder, or spice grinder, you are set. I just used my coffee grinder, that I use for everything except to grind coffee beans, and ground up half a cup at a time. I ground up the entire pound of pearl barley and put the ground cereal/flour back into the barley bag. You can grind it as fine as you’d like, or you can leave a bit of texture. I found that grinding half of a pound gets the grinder pretty hot and then you have to take a break. I do need to warn you to measure your barley AFTER you grind it. There isn’t much of a difference in the measurement, but there is enough of a difference that it changes the thickness of the end product.
In the directions you’ll note that I mentioned that if you like your cereal smooth to stir it for the entire 5 minutes that it boils. If you like it “lumpy” only stir is a couple of times. I personally like texture in my hot cereal. Growing up we all asked mom to make it with lumps. 🙂 Most people think of that as a mistake, but I love it that way. BUT if you are one of those people that like your hot cereal smooth then just keep stirring. If you like your breakfast bowl a little on the runny side you’ll want to eat it fairly quickly, don’t burn your mouth, but if you prefer a pudding type texture this will firm up just like the boxed hot cereals if you let it sit and cool. No matter how you choose to eat it make a batch, sit back, relax, and enjoy!
How will you top your breakfast bowl?
How do you like your hot cereal? Lumpy or smooth? 🙂
Cream of Barley Breakfast Bowl
By Angie Gouchenour
½ cup ground pearl barley (Measure after grinding)
1 ½ cup water
2 Tablespoons Sugar 2.0
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
In a small sauce pan combine the ground barley, water, Sugar 2.0, and cinnamon
Bring to a boil and boil 5 minutes
For a smooth hot cereal stir constantly, for a “lumpy” cereal stir 2 or 3 times
Remove from heat and serve topped with your favorite toppings
210 calories per serving