The big muffin

Every morn­ing I make this “cer­eal” which ends up look­ing like a gi­ant muffin. I’ve got the pro­ced­ure down pat so that it doesn’t take long to make it but I’m al­ways amazed at how in­volved it is.

I make it in a big 4 cup Pyr­ex meas­ur­ing cup. It has straight sides. Most of the fol­low­ing in­gredi­ents are meas­ured by weight; I have a di­git­al scale which I love. I set it on grams be­cause that’s more ac­cur­ate than ounces.

First I put in the fruit fla­vor­ings; 70 grams of frozen fruit juice. I’m bor­der­line dia­bet­ic so I only use the ones that don’t have any ad­ded sweeten­er, for ex­ample, pine­apple juice or apple juice. Next is 1 tea­spoon of some li­quid fruit fla­vor­ing or ex­tract; I cycle through lem­on ex­tract, or­ange ex­tract, and ras­berry fla­vor­ing. All are nat­ur­al; my form­at­ive years were dur­ing the late 60s and early 70s when we learned to shun any­thing ar­ti­fi­cial. Next is 30-40 grams of re­con­sti­t­uted lime juice.

Stir that a bit.

Next are the spices. All are 1/4 tea­spoon. Ground all­spice. Ginger. Nut­meg. Car­damom. Ground cloves. I was sur­prised to dis­cov­er that cin­na­mon al­ters the over­all fla­vor in a vague and un­pleas­ant way so I’ve stopped us­ing it.

Next are the “white” grains. It used to be all oat­meal but my loc­al health food store had some ground bar­ley; it looks like cream of rice. 20+ grams of each. After the bar­ley is gone it will be 40 grams of oat­meal be­cause it looks like they’re not go­ing to keep car­ry­ing the ground bar­ley.

Next are the “jars;” I have these Ma­son jars of in­gredi­ents that I keep in the freez­er. Un­sweetened coconut; 2 ta­ble­spoons. Rice bran; 2 ta­ble­spoons. Dulse sea­weed; 1/4 tea­spoon. You have to be care­ful with sea­weed; too much and it gives an un­pleas­ant metal­lic fla­vor. Ground flax seed; 1 ta­ble­spoon. Cur­rants; 2 ta­ble­spoons. They’re like tiny rais­ins.

At this point out comes the elec­tric hand mix­er and it gets a good mix­ing.

Next is the wheat bran. Lots of it; that’s why the in­gredi­ents above are so nu­mer­ous; wheat bran tastes like ground card­board. I put in 4 ta­ble­spoons at a time, mix­ing with the mix­er after each batch, un­til I’ve put in 80 grams of wheat bran. Prob­ably about 10 heap­ing ta­ble­spoons. Since it’s semi dry it re­quires care­ful mix­ing.

Next is the milk, but not real dairy milk, I use un­sweetened soy milk; 240 grams. Soy milk isn’t very tasty so this is the only place I use it. Mix again thor­oughly with the mix­er. I then take a spat­ula and scrape the sides down and smooth the top and make it a nice dome shape.

Then it goes in­to the mi­crowave, covered. I put a pa­per tow­el over it and then a little plate. Without the pa­per tow­el the con­dens­a­tion on the plate drips back down.

The mi­crowave set­tings are quite weird; 3:33 minutes at high (level 10), then 5:55 minutes at level 5, then 5:55 minutes at level 4, then 5:55 minutes at level 3, then 7:77 minutes at level 2. I can only do 5 steps with my mi­crowave or I’d do an­oth­er one at level 1.

When I eat it I pour Blue Dia­mond al­mond milk on it. Again, un­sweetened but I cheat and put Spl­enda in it; 1 pack­et per cup of milk, or, in my case, 8 per big car­ton. The reg­u­lar sweetened al­mond milk is ex­cep­tion­ally tasty; the un­sweetened isn’t as good, but adding ar­ti­fi­cial sweeten­er to it makes it just as good.

An­oth­er thing to keep in mind is that there are two types of fiber; fiber that gives bulk and holds wa­ter, in this case wheat bran, and sol­uble fiber, in this case oat­meal (and I’m as­sum­ing the bar­ley as well). The bulk fiber is good for your gastrointest­in­al tract, while the sol­uble fiber en­cour­ages the ex­cre­tion of bad cho­les­ter­ol. And the oat­meal really im­proves the fla­vor and smooths the rough edges of the wheat bran; without it it’s rather harsh.

I also did some search­ing and from what I found oat bran really isn’t the bran of the oat seed. It’s also not any high­er any fiber than oat­meal.

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