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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Thinking Outside the Cereal Box…


And I’m here to prove it! I was recently contacted by Katharine Schuler from U.S. Mills. She wanted to know if I would be interested in trying some of their products. One of them is Uncle Sam Cereal—we buy that pretty often at Trader Joe’s, so I said yes, please! She asked what I’d like to try, but I left it up to her—though I did add that I have four kids, so if she could tuck a few kid things in there, that would be great. My kids get so excited when a package arrives, but so bummed when there’s nothing in it that they think is cool.

Katharine packed a box so full of stuff, it was like a puzzle. I don’t think I could have ever repackaged it if I had to, hehe. But I was so surprised, and the kids were thrilled! U.S. Mills doesn’t just have cereal, they have cookies, graham crackers, 100 calorie graham cracker snack packs, hot oatmeal---if it’s for breakfast, they probably have it. Have a look around their site—I’ll bet you see something you want to try, or have already tried and had no idea it was from them.

So I had all of this cereal, and aside from eating it in a bowl, I knew I could find something else to do with it. I had a quick look at the recipes on the site, and messed around with a couple. I’m happy to report my experiments were successful!

You all know how much I love muffins—they’re an excuse to have cake for breakfast. So I went with those first. And came up with these Chunky Monkey Muffins. What’s not to love about banana and chocolate? Nothing! And adding a healthy dose of good for you Uncle Sam Cereal was perfect. Gave them a little crunch, and the kids loved them. They were like “Cereal? In a muffin? Have you gone nuts, Mom?” But I knew they’d love them. And I was happy they were getting some good grains into their systems.


Chunky Monkey Muffins
Makes 2 dozen

To print this recipe, click here!

3 1/2 cups Uncle Sam Cereal (Original)
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
2 smallish bananas (1 cup total mashed banana)
2 cups milk
2 eggs
1/4 cup canola oil
1 cup chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 375.
Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl.
Combine wet ingredients in a medium bowl.
Add the wet stuff to the dry stuff, fold in chocolate chips.
Fill muffin cups 3/4 full.
Bake for about 18 minutes, until tester comes out clean.
Cool in pans for a few minutes, then remove to a rack to cool.


Look who was hoping I’d drop a muffin…sorry, Hamilton!


A couple of days later, while looking at the bounty of cereal in the pantry, I decided it was time to try something else. The Erewhon Raisin Bran said “Ooooh! Pick me! Pick me!” So yay, it was the lucky cereal of the day. And it had a recipe on the back for Apricot Nut Bread. I didn’t have dried apricots, but I did have dried figs, and just about everything else it called for, so I got to work and came up with this Fig Nut Bread. It’s very moist and dense, almost like a gingerbread that’s studded with raisins, figs, and nuts. It very much reminded me of Morning Glory Muffins, in fact! It was totally delicious.


Fig Nut Bread
Makes one loaf

To print this recipe, click here!

1 1/2 cups Erewhon Raisin Bran
3/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp Cake Spice
1 egg
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup agave or honey
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup applesauce
3/4 cup diced dried figs
1/2 cup boiling water
1/2 cup chopped walnuts


Heat oven to 350.
Pour the boiling water over the figs and set aside.
Grease a loaf pan.
Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl.
In a medium bowl, blend the egg, oil, agave, vanilla and applesauce together.
Add to the dry ingredients and stir; fold in the figs (and any leftover water from the figs) and nuts.
Pour into loaf pan and bake for about 45 minutes or until tester comes out clean.


SO the moral of the story is…get out and look for these cereals and other good things from U.S. Mills. And stop looking at cereal like it’s only good for eating in a bowl with cold milk. Although that’s cool, too.

But start thinking outside the cereal box!

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Maria said...

I just had Wheaties for breakfast. I wish I would of thought outside of the cereal box:) Next time! Both of these look amazing!

LizNoVeggieGirl said...

Lovely muffins!!

kayce. said...

i LOVE the look of the fig nut bread - great idea! it is making me really HUNGRY, lol.

my fave non-traditional use for cereal is chocolate bark w/ feuilletine (basically a very fancy word for cornflakes - which is what i use instead of actual feuilletine)... it is SO GOOD, and you can make it w/ almost any kind of crispy cereal, not just cornflakes. it's good eaten in pieces like bark, or chopped up for garnish on a dessert.

Anonymous said...

Oh both look so yummy!!! You and PW rock!!!

Anonymous said...

These look delicious! I especially like the Chunky Monkey muffis - love the banana/chocolate chip combo!

Leslie M. said...

I love Muffins, and the great thing about them, they are freezer friendly!!!
Your Dog is adorable!

Ingrid_3Bs said...

That first photo is an awesome one! I'm not certain I've heard of that company (we're not really a cereal family) but am going to check it out!

That chunky monkey muffin sounds good!

Anonymous said...

These look great. My daughter is a super picky eater, and I'm hoping she'll like the muffins. In fact I have two over-ripe bananas begging to be used as we speak. Now to find some of that cereal...

Anonymous said...

Great creative ideas! I just thought of another--crunch up almost any good-for-you cereal and add it to a streusel mix for a topping for muffins, coffee cake, pies--anything!

Ben said...

We used to buy those cereals every once in a while in Mexico (my parents were against any kind of American food that came prepackaged) and I loved them. And I am loving your recipes! Especially the fig and nut bread, oh my! I need to find some figs :(

anna said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Fig nut bread sounds amazing!

Anonymous said...

Wow, everything looks so good and good for you!

Unknown said...

That fig loaf looks so moist and good!

Spryte said...

YUM!! Both look GREAT!!!

Annie said...

Delicious fig bread!

grace said...

raisin bran muffins are a tried-and-true favorite of mine, so i have no doubt i'd love these. and hello figs!
meanwhile, your corgi is adorable, and i still want one. :)

Anonymous said...

I do not like bananas much, but enjoy cooking especially food cake. Meetings not very good that this will taste like
I will write again on my blog about this subject when completed

Katie said...

Yum. That fig bread looks fantastic. Funny that its made with Erewhon cereal when I first read it I thought it said Erehwon and that was the first outdoor store I ever went. Yea for Random info!

Anonymous said...

Your fig and nut bread looks deeeelightful!! I'm a huge fig fan, particularly when mixed with fiber or whole grains. Amazing job!

Anonymous said...

What wonderful looking muffins!

amycaseycooks said...

The fig loaf is awesome. To TJ's I go to get my ingredients to start baking.

Elle said...

Thanks so much everyone! :)

Anonymous said...

The fig nut bread pictures look great.

Karen Brown Letarte said...

These look wonderful, Elle! Especially the Chunky Monkey muffins. You ARE the Muffin Queen of the World!

:) K

Gloria Baker said...

Alla look fantastic, I love the muffins, the dog (lovely!!!) and the cake, wonderful!! Gloria

Pam said...

Elle, they look fantastic! I love Trader Joe's but have never tried this cereal - I'll look for it the next time I am there. Great recipe!

Anonymous said...

HAMMY! I'm with him, please drop me a muffin, K? Thanks!

Shari@Whisk: a food blog said...

I love your cereal in a muffin idea! They look great (and so does the loaf)!

Me said...

Oh man that fig bread looks so good I could lick my screen!!!

Anonymous said...

Yummy! That Fig Bread looks awesome.

vanillasugarblog said...

so these are the infamous muffins I keep hearing you talk about. I see why you keep coming back to them; I have to give these a whirl.

Anonymous said...

The fig bread looks great. I've used raisin bran to make quick breads before, but never thought to add figs. I'll try it.

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