with the addition of a few chopped dates or dried apricots or a bit of maple syrup and a small handful of nuts or seeds, hot cereals become a nourishing foundation for a fully day of busy activities

ILLUSTRATION

Nutritionists used to suggest that breakfast be the most important meal of the day, but lifestyles have changed in the last few decades. A lighter, more nutritious meal is now recommended for most individuals, unless their workload is too demanding.

Most people function better and are healthier if they eat some type of substantial breakfast. Although the time which we eat really doesn't matter, breakfast can be the most interesting. There are now more options that ever before. New alternatives include everything from Tofu French Toast and Scrambled Tofu to Cinnamon Baked Winter Squash, Kamut Pancakes and steaming hot cooked millet, spelt, quinao or teff. With the addition of a few chopped dates or dried apricots or a bit of maple syrup and a small handful of nuts or seeds, hot cereals become a nourishing foundation for a full day of busy activities. Check ARROWHEAD MILLS, NEW HARVEST GRAINS, and BOB's RED MILL for a fine selection of whole grain cereals.

Not to be forgotten are the excellent array of boxed and packaged cereals which offer more variety and exciting flavors then ever appeared on our market shelves before.

It is no longer necessary to rely upon a limited selection of supermarket cereals that could be loaded with sugar, made from white refined flour, artificial flavors, colors and preservatives.

When your child screams for sweetened, toasty "O" there are several healthful versions NEW MORNINGS Fruit-E-O's, U.S. Mills Banana O's, NATURE'S PATH'S Fiber O's, and ARROWHEAD
 
MILLS' Nature O's (The latter comes in a bag and unsweetened). Most of the "O's are sweetened naturally with fruit concentrates and are wheat-free as well.

Other special cereals for children include GLENNY'S Corn Mini Puffs NEW MORNING's Honey Frosted Flakes, U.S. MILLS Apple Stroodies, and several fine varieties for kids and babies from HEALTHY TIMES.

If you enjoy light and crispy puffed rice, millet, wheat and corn cereals by BREADSHOP and ARROWHEAD MILLS.

When it comes to flakes, there are no end to the assortment of corn, wheat, oat, rye, kamut, amaranth and multi-grain flakes on the market. Almost all companies make at least a few varieties of flakes including NATURE'S PATH, ARROWHEAD MILLS, LIFESTREAM, ORGANIC HARVEST, HEALTH VALLEY, U.S. MILLS/EREWHON, BARBARA'S, HEALTHY TIMES and NEW MORNING. A few of my favorites are ARROWHEAD MILLS' Kamut Flakes, EREWON'S Aztec Flakes and NATURE'S PATH'S Heritage Flakes.

More than half a dozen companies make delicious, light, crisp brown rice cereals. Not only are these wonderful, glutenfree cereals, (some do contain barley), they are lovely additions to cookie and brownie recipes. Try them in carob candies too. (Flakes also work well in these recipes.)

Other special cereals that should be explored are QUAKER OATS NEW OAT CHEX, PURE AND SIMPLE'S Natural Krunch, KASHI'S cold 7-grain variety, and some of the new blue corn cereals made by several companies.

A tasty new cereal on the market is WALLABY FARMS' Weet-lats. They are unique because you can not only eat them in a bowl, you can slice the wheat flakes rectangles in half and spread them with jam or natural spread. They also make lovely, little mini sandwiches for lunch or snacking. This Australian product is newly available in the U.S. and Canada.

Granola's and Muesli's come in all brands and varieties, with or without nuts, seeds and an assortment of fruits and flavorings. There are special types for Vegans (without honey) and unsweetened ones for those with low blood sugar, candida, or diabetes, wheat-free varieties for allergies and even some with psyllium seeds and flax seeds top aid digestion from BACK TO NATURE and GOLDEN TEMPLE. (U.S. MILLS' Uncle Sam cereal also contains flax seeds.) A great assortment of granolas and mueslis are also available from LIFESTREAM, FAMILIA, BOB'S RED MILL, NEW MORNING and NATURE'S PATH.

There is even a deluxe, granola-like cereal that is sold to help the environment called RAINFOREST CRUNCH.

If you still want a hot cereal, especially for those cool or rainy mornings, there are many quick and easy packaged varieties that cook up faster than most whole grains. In 10 minutes or less, ground, chopped or partially pre-cooked grain cereals can be prepared using oats, wheat, corn, rye, rice, millet, seeds or a combination of grains. Enjoy quick cooking whole grains from LUNDBERG, EREWHON, COUNTRY GROWN, ARROWHEAD MILLS and BOB'S RED MILL. When you have extra time, about 25 minutes, prepare some tasty, 7-grain KASHI cereal.

Following are some recipes for whole grain cereals that you can cook at home in 25 minutes or more. If time is at a premium, cook these cereals in advance and re-heat one or two servings as
 
needed with extra water on low heat or in a double boiler or (for some whole grains like wheat, rye and oats) in a vegetable steamer.

With all the tastes, textures and wide array of grains available today, breakfast cereal is just not what it used to be! Now it's better! Breakfast is no longer a ho-hum affair, it is filled with so many interesting choices that it may take awhile to decide which cereal to choose each morning. Tough decision? Simply try a different cereal each morning, but don't be surprised if it takes a year to try them all. Good Morning!

COOKED CEREALS

Amaranth. Although amaranth grain can be cooked as a breakfast cereal, it is not that tasty. It is better to use the flour in recipes or buy the puffed amarnth cereal available in many health ood stores. Notice that it is usually added to a cereal rather than sold by itself as a cereal. If desired, cook it in 2 times as much water for a nice-like-texture, and 2 1/2-3 times as much water for cereal or to add to breads. Cook until tender, about 1820 minutes.

Cornmeal. Use 2-2 1/2 cups water per 1 cup cornmeal. The coarser the meal, the more water is needed and the longer the cooking time. Start water and cornmeal cooking together in cook or lukewarm water and stir together on medium heat. Use a wire whisk to make sure the cereal coos not become lumpy. After 1-2 minutes, the cereal must be stirred constantly for 10 minutes or more until it is no longer grainy. Add extra water if needed. Cornmeal should always have a sweetener like honey added to it. Raisins, dates, or coconut and cinnamon cooked into the cereal are also very delicious. Sea salt is optional. Store dry cornmeal in a cool place or in the freezer, but never refrigerate it or it will have a damp, musty flavor.

Quinoa (pronounced "keen-wah). Rinse thoroughly before cooking by rubbing the grains together well in a pot of water and changing the water 2-4 times. This helps to remove the saponin, which may irritate digestion or allergies. Cook like millet (see below but use 2-3 cups water to 1 cup quinoa and cook 20-35 minutes until tender.

Millet (cereal). Use 3-4 cups of water per 1 cup millet. (More water is used for the cereal than for main dish millet). Bring water and millet to a boil. Dates can be added now if desired--delicious! Use l/4-1/2 cup dates per 1 cup millet. Then turn down heat and simmer, covered, for 50-60 minutes until the millet breaks down and is very soft and mushlike. Before serving, stir the cereal to mix in the dates. Serve with milk substitute or juice and oil and also honey, if no dates are added. Add sea salt if desired.

Cooked oatmeal. Whole rolled natural oatmeal and chopped rolled organic oatmeal (regular or old-fashioned): Use 1-1 l/2 cups water per 1 cup natural rolled oats. Bring water to a boil and add oats. Stir once, cover and remove from heat. Let sit for 10-15 minutes before serving. Add flavourings to taste. Another method for these typos of oats is the soaked oats method: Put the oats in a sturdy bowl and pour very hot or boiling water over them. Cover and let sit 10-15 minutes. Do not stir! Add flavourings or stewed or fresh fruit and enjoy. This method preserves more of the beneficial ensymes found in oats, and many people feel the oats taste better because they do not get gummy or sticky.

Whole rolled organic oatmeal. Use 1 1/2-2 cups water per 1 cup organic rolled oats. Bring the water to a boil, then turn down heat and add oats. Stir constantly and cook for 5-10 minutes or until oats are easy to chew. Then turn off heat, cover oatmeal and let it sit for 10-15 minutes before serving. Add flavourings to taste.
 
Whole oats and spelt. These must be soaked in 2 1/2 cups water per 1 cup oats for several hours or overnight before cooking. Then change the water and simmer for 45-60 minutes. The oats will be slightly chewy but not crunchy when done. Cook until tender for the best digestion. The grains can be cooke separately or with other whole grains.

Sweet rice. Cook and serve like millet cereal (above), but use 2-3 cups water per 1 cup rice and cook for 50-60 minutes until tender.

Teff. Bring 1/2 cup teff seed and 2 cups of water to a boil then turn down heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until all the water is absorbed. Cook 1/4 cup raisins, currants or dates with the teff if desired. If dried fruit is not used, serve the cereal with maple syrup, fruit concentrate or other sweetener and a bit of sea salt or cinamon.

~~~~~~~~

By Jeanne Marie Martin

Jeanne Marie Martin's latest book is The All Natural Allergy Cookbook. She is a popular lecturer on natural foods throughout North America.


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