Maple Date Cream of Rice Hot Cereal
It was winter for like all of two days here in Vegas last week. Its already back into the 60s, I was wearing flip flops today. But last week it was FREEZING. Freezing for Vegas, not the rest of the world mind you. 30 deg. in the am and “Warming up” to 40 deg. was so cold. Especially at the gym I go to that has no heater in the warehouse part of the gym. I was all bundled up like the kid in a Christmas Story and so was my friend Ana that I met there to train with. We looked like we were bundled up for an Antarctic exploration. We are desert tortoises and don’t like the cold at all. Below 80 is cold to us!
It was so cold I brought my little space heater to warm up the kettlebells I was going to workout with. As soon as I got home I knew exactly what I wanted to eat to help warm me up, a big bowl of one of my go-to post workout meals, Maple Date Cream of Rice Hot Cereal.
I joked the other day that I felt lazy for posting a hot cereal recipe on my blog. I feel the same way about smoothies. These are two items we don’t really neeeeeeeeeeeed a recipe for. Or do we? I think these are more of a add foods together and cook/stir/blend/combine and immediately eat rather than a more complex recipe. I do love a good smoothie or bowl of hot cereal and there are awesome ideas out there, but a “recipe” needed for them? Not really. Maybe just suggestions or ideas for what to put in them is more like it.
When I was a kid I remember eating Malt-o-Meal or Cream of Wheat. Basically a box of ground up wheat you add water or milk to and cook. Nothing to it really. Not flour consistency but more coarse. I wasn’t ever really a fan of the wheat cereal though and I am still not much of a wheat eater now. But I LOVE rice. Adore it. One of my fave foods. So many awesome amazing ways to prepare it and its widely used in many different cultural cuisines. We even have a 50 lb bag of rice in our pantry. We are serious about our rice in this house.
When my kids were babies I made all their food from day 1. I didn’t think paying for a box of rice cereal was worth it when I could easily make my own. Grind up rice until fine and cook just like cream of rice hot cereal. My kids hated it. I couldn’t blame them. Rice cereal on its own is rather bland and boring. But when they were 6 month olds I couldn’t really introduce them to a wide variety of spices and flavors just yet. Both of my girls very first foods was avocado and to this day they still love it. I didn’t make the rice cereal for them more than a couple times until they were old enough to have all kinds of fun things added to to flavor it up like dates, cinnamon, maple syrup etc. I would also add in fruit and veggie purees to the rice cereal to make it a little more exciting. They did make some awesome faces as babies when they were introduced to solid foods. But is pureed food really “solid”? That one always made me wonder. Nothing solid about pureed squash, but at least it was easy to wipe up off the high chair and floor. And baby.
One of my ways to flavor and sweet hot cereal is with dates. Medjool dates to be specific. The big, fat soft ones are so flavorful, sweet and caramelly and perfect for cream of rice. I remove the seed, dice and add to the cereal at the beginning of cooking to soften them up more and to sweeten the hot cereal. My 4 year old is a date fiend. So whenever I get the tub of dates out of the pantry she insists she needs at least two for her snack. One of 850 snacks a day. She refuses to eat “meals” as they are called. Its not breakfast anymore its her morning snack. It will still be breakfast or whatever meal that my husband or myself have made, but she won’t call it that. Just snacks. The kid cracks me up. I have dubbed her the snack queen.
Yummy wintertime comforting hot cereal.