Monday, February 22, 2010

Sprouted Rice "Oatmeal"

After I wrote about oatmeal a while back, I did a little bit more research on the topic. Oatmeal is one of the grains with the highest level of phytic acid content. Phytic acid blocks the absorption of nutrients. I couldn't find a definitive answer to whether or not soaking oatmeal broke down the phytic acid in rolled oats, so I started looking for alternatives.

I thought rice might be a good place to start, especially since it can be sprouted. After sprouting, I cook up a big batch of rice to put in the fridge. When the boys want oatmeal, I put a bowlful in the microwave with a splash of milk. At first, we added cinnamon and stevia so that Daniel would try it, but I slowly cut back on the stevia to the point that cinnamon alone is fine, just like with real oatmeal.

The boys eat "oatmeal" the same way that they eat everything, in phases. Some days, all they will eat is "oatmeal". Other days, they will eat everything but "oatmeal". Thus, some batches last a day and others last almost a week.

This has been tricky with providing a fresh supply of sprouted rice. If they finish a batch too soon, I have to do an overnight soak with a few tablespoons of whey, instead of waiting for the next batch to finish sprouting. When they start one batch, I start sprouting the next, which generally works out fine. This is how I sprout rice:

Day 1-
At night:
Put one pound of rice in jar (I divide it into two jars), cover with water and let sit overnight, about 14 hours.

Day 2-
In the morning:
Cover with mesh cloth. Pour out water.
Refill jar immediately with water, and pour out the water.

At lunch
Refill jar with water, then pour out the water.

Before bed:
Refill jar with water, then pour out the water.

Day 3
In the morning
Refill jar with water, then pour out the water.

At Lunch
Refill jar with water, then pour out the water.
Check for a "tail" on the rice. It should be done soon. You can continue to let the tail grow up to 1/8". After that it will start to change the flavor of the rice.

Only brown rice will sprout. I get cheapo Walmart brand brown rice for $0.72 per pound and have gotten decent tails from it. (It's cheaper than the oatmeal I was getting, too!) Any brown rice will do, but white rice and wild rice will not sprout since they are already dead.

Bookmark and Share

You might want to check out my new comment policy .
Copyright Under $1000 Per Month, 2009-2010


Bubblej said...


Your timing is awesome! I was just looking for a recipe for rice pudding or something similar, since we have a lot of rice and no oats, and my boyfriend wants something hot for his breakfast. Do you boil the rice or cook it in your crockpot? Do you have a recipe? Sorry for the questions, I really want to try this rice oatmeal and I have never made anything similar

Emily said...

BubbleJ, I boil it on the stove just like regular rice, with the same proportion of one part rice to two parts water. You can add the same stuff to it as you would add to oatmeal, like raisins and cinnamon or maple syrup or fruit.

morethanamom2four said...

What is the "point" of sprouting rice? I have never heard of it before.

Princess Jo said...

Emily why do you cook the "oatmeal" in a microwave for your boys? Aren't you worried about the impact microwave/microwaved foods on the health of your children?

Just wondering why someone as passionate as you about food "health" would ruin it all by putting it into a microwave. To me it is just undoing whatever benefits you have just worked so hard to put into your foods. It is an utter contradiction to what you hold so dear.

(I must note I don't personally support many of your beliefs when it comes to food.)

Anonymous said...

Just curious....why do you sprout your rice? Does it improve the rice? Add more nutrients? Make it easier to digest?


Emily said...

Mandy and morethanammom, sprouting rice adds a HUGE nutritional punch. It sort of takes rice out of the grain category and into the vegetable category.

Princess Jo, I am, and we work towards using the microwave less and less, but we're not quite there yet. I wondered if someone would ask me that. (:

luckymom4 said...

Emily, cooked rice freezes very well. I make a big pot, then freeze in individual portions. It only takes about 90 seconds in the microwave to defrost/reheat a portion.

Diana @ frontyardfoodie said...


This is really interesting! Does sprouted rice taste anything like oatmeal? I just started eating oatmeal because I'm pregnant and sick alot and it keeps my stomach full for hours while being warm and soft unlike fresh fruit which is what I'd normally eat. I like the idea of sprouted grains but why not sprouted oat groats? I may test a few of these things now that I'm thinking about it.

chickennon said...

I'm glad you've found a way to like rice! (Rice is so cheap, but I just can't like it, myself - I have no problem with things like barley and millet, but those aren't anything near as inexpensive!) I was curious about soaked oatmeal, and found some advice here about mixing it with other grains for reasons of making the phytic acid more digestible - I've never heard of phytic acid before in my life, but I know that mixing different grains together is good nutritional practice for other reasons, like making them a more complete protein.

Emily said...

Diana, I find that it is bland like oatmeal, but it tastes like whatever you put on it. Oat groats are roughly twice the cost, though, and they are chopped (steel-cut) so they won't sprout.

frugalredneck said...

I am so very new at all of this, I just sprouted for the first time. I bought the organic sprout seeds. I am going to try beans next, Since I heard they take some of the gas out of them, Maybe rice next!!! Thanks emily. Michelle I did want to add that when you are going healthy, I don't notice that anyone just gives up their entire lives they have lived for years and years and starts new, Maybe some do, But that is not the norm. You give up bits at a time to try something new, Then a little more and a little more as time goes on and you learn new things. This is towards the why using a microwave comment. I am proud of each new healthy thing I do each week. Nothing would ever last in my family if I ripped everything they have known for years away in one day.

I'm Lori...and maybe I'm you, too. said...

Be careful with how long you keep the cooked rice before you give it to the boys. A week is too long.

Margaret said...

That's interesting! Do you use brown rice or white?

Kids are funny. For a long time mine wanted "oats with honey" for breakfast every morning. My youngest continued that request every single day for months, and has only recently accepted other types of food for breakfast.

My one son actually calls cooked oats "that rice that doesn't look like rice". It must seem very similar to him, or something.

sara said...

Interesting! I don't usually buy rice because my husband does not like it-never thought of using it as a breakfast food for me and the kids though :) I'll have to price it next time I'm at Aldis and see if its cheaper than oatmeal-good post!

Avery said...

I came here to post what "I'm Lori...and maybe I'm you, too" said. I worried when I read how long you were keeping it. It's really important to not keep rice laying around after it's cooked.

Have you looked into rice cookers? They cook a lot more than just rice, and you could cook rice more *on demand*. I bring that up because as a breastfeeding mom you might appreciate not having to watch a boiling pot on a stove down to the minute.

I think the rice as breakfast cereal is great, and I hope that you'll be able through this to find some way to enjoy more rice through out your menus. Your readers might feel better about this if they can think back to puffed rice cereal or Frosted Rice - they were my child hood favourites.

Tree Huggin Momma said...

Oatmeal is soaked with an acid (usually whey) then cooked and it makes it easier to digest. If this breaks down Phytic acid in other foods, why wouldn't this method do the same for oats? Have you tried Quinoa? Its touted by many as a superfood. Can be used in anything like rice, I don't know if it sprouts, but I do know you have to rinse it to remove the saponins (it tastes bitter and can cause some gastro issues if consumed in large quantities). I do notice it has tails when I soak it, so I guess it would work. Its high in protein. I have used it to make rice pudding (which I enjoy as a breakfast treat (warm in the winter, cold in the summer) and I don't recall it being expensive, since I buy organic rice and organic quinoa they seem to price about the same.

mommyoffaith19 said...

I thought oatmeal was healthy, my kids got burned out on it a while ago but I have been eating it. Will have to do some research.

Have you ever thought about juicing? Or the new health craze "green smoothies"?

mommyoffaith19 said...

oh one more question. Have you had any weight loss with your health goals (I am having trouble losing weight after baby even though I am eating super healthy)

Do you feel more energetic? thats another thing i have been lacking lol

Anonymous said...

What I seriously don't understand is why you just don't buy Quaker Oats and make them oatmeal if you are calling oatmeal "oatmeal"

That is rice meal.

You could also just buy the Quaker Oats variety pak packages and then they would have different flavors. There is cinnamon roll, brown sugar, etc.

However. . .I have never heard of Cinnamon Roll Rice oatmeal. :(

I don't even like oatmeal. The thought of using rice makes me want to run, not walk, away. . .

What about some Apple Jacks? What about some Special K? What about some Cheerios?

Cheerios. . .little boys love Cheerios.

Michele said...

Since I have a grain mill I do know my whole grains. Oat groats only apply to the whole grain while steel cut oats are just that cut oats. With every food there is some draw back so the best approach to good health is Variety.Oatmeal is wonderful for your health. I'd ask you to please give your children variety in their food, but you won't listen so I won't waste my breath

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous,While I seldom agree with Emily and her food choices, the items you mentioned are not food! They are JUNK! Expensive junk, I shuld add.


Anonymous said...

I am sorry but I do feel that the boys need more than a bowl of sprouted rice for breakfast.

"Some days, all they will eat is "oatmeal"."

And please don't tell me that some days all they eat is 3 bowls of rice. Growing kids need more than that.

Fix them a real breakfast. I myself cook from scratch and do not like any processed foods in our diet either, but I can find something better than a bowl of sprouted rice. That is a side dish.

crabcakes said...


I might try this this week. I just found bags of sprouted rice nearly free on the clearance section and with a coupon.

As for the microwave, I use it too on occasion.

I don't see it as a contridiction to take small steps. If you are doing 7 out of 10 things the healthier way, then you are making progress.

Why focus on the one negative? I for one, applaud you for all of your nutritional successes. I'm not going to dwell on the things I don't agree with (I have things I question too, like all readers but I guess I'm just not out to make you feel bad about everything)

stephanie said...

To anonymous who suggested Quaker Oats variety paks -- those things are so full of sugar, I can't even eat them. They are gross. It's nice to see someone making something healthy for breakfast, instead of sugary cereal or oatmeal.

Happily Frugal Mama said...

Emily, We also enjoy using barley and wheat berries (soaked and/or sprouted) as breakfast porridge. We do love oatmeal as well and I've read that soaking does help break down the phytic acid... anyway, it seems more digestable to me.

I LOVE LOVE LOVE brown rice with a little bit of agave, dried cranberries and chopped almonds for breakfast. Yum!

Anonymous said...

I too hope you mis-spoke when you said all the boys will eat in a day is "oatmeal"! add some fruit to their "oatmea" for more nurtional blueberries! Oatmeal..just plain old oatmeal is pretty cheap here.

Emily said...

Anon, they don't actually eat the rice for breakfast. We all have eggs for breakfast. They have the rice during the day as their grazing. They also eat whatever supper I prepare. But it is totally normal for kids to go through phases where they want to eat one thing for days on end, then move on to the next thing.

crabcakes, exactly. Health is a process and I add one thing at a time. I think that's a great way to do it and i know that my habits will stick better in the long-term that way. I don't see that as contradicting myself, I see that as growth.

crabcakes said...

apple jacks?

I can't imagine in a million years emily giving her boys apple jacks.

People are concerned about her healthy food choices and are recommending something as nutritionally horrible as apple jacks for a breakfast?

Can someone explain to me how a box of sugar and dye filled cereal is healthier than eggs and rice?

hekatesgal said...

When I have purchased barley in bulk, it is cheaper than rice in bulk. A lot of folks seem to think its much healthier. My kids like it too.

I'm surprised that someone could read these and think all you were feeding your kids is oatmeal, much less someone looking at the title of this blog to suggest cheerios and packaged oatmeal. So very expensive!

Wish me luck - I'm starting my own sauerkraut. And Emily - the More with LEss cookbook is fantastic.

Susan said...

My DH loves white rice with milk, cinnamon, splenda (he's diabetic and can't stand stevia) and a pat of butter all heated in the microwave.
I love quick oatmeal in the microwave. Then add white sugar and milk. Such are our little indulgences.
I think it is great your boys eat the sprouted rice and as long as you are eating varied diet there is nothing wrong with eating certain foods. DD ate only apples for almost two months when she was three. Her pediatrician was horrified, he thought apples were a fruit of the devil or something. Yet, she was happy, regular, and continued to grow and prosper.
She also is a grazer. Grandpa used to say she ate one meal a day. It began as soon as she got up and ended aa soon as she went to bed. She never had a weight problem.
Baby steps to a healthy diet.

Stephanie said...

That sounds so odd----- I'm gonna try it! Thanks for always keeping me thinking and trying new things, Emily!

Clisby said...

I think I'm going to try that - we eat a TON of rice. Not that I'm interested in eating it sweetened, with cinnamon - to me that is ICK ICK ICK! (That's not a criticism of you - just my taste. I was an adult before I heard of anyone sweetening rice, except for rice pudding, which is way past abhorrent, as far as I'm concerned.)

And by the way - where I live, in coastal SC, rice for breakfast is hardly unheard-of. It's kind of old-fashioned, and I doubt many people do it now - but there's a reason for this old non-PC joke:

Q. How are Charlestonians like the Chinese?
A. They eat rice three times a day and worship their ancestors.

Emily said...

This is a link sent to me by Sondra Rose ( about soaking oatmeal that she couldn't get to go into the comment section. It's got some great info for those interested.

Atheist Mama said...

Apple Jacks? Are you kidding me? *I* would never feed that junk to my daughter...her gramma might (assuming she didn't fear my wrath, haha)...but me? Hell no.

It's total junk. Why not just skip to the point and give my kid a sack of refined sugar for breakfast? It would probably save me money in the long run...

Em - as far as your health concern of Oatmeal...well...yeah, I just don't get it. I mean, I do I guess...but that's why I quit reading so much about 'health' and all the various arguments about what is and what is not healthy - and just started eating. Mostly veggies, mostly whole foods, mostly from scratch.

To me, that's healthy and I try not to worry about the rest ;)

As far as kids only eating one thing...haha...that is SO normal! Some days my daughter only wants peanut butter slathered on apples with some raisins. Yup.

And some days...she is adventurous and eats everything I give her. I love those days, lol!

She isn't a big breakfast person either. I TRY to get her to eat before school but she rarely does. I got sick of throwing away her "i took one bite and now I'm stuffed!!!" cereal or muffin or apple or whatever...and just started giving her a cheese stick or banana for breakfast...and only if she says she's hungry.

Does that make me a terrible mom?

Some might say yes...but to me, I think force feeding my kid and possibly causing life long damage in the eating department is FAR worse than letting her (mostly) skip breakfast. Instead I pack her a healthy snack (apples, hard boiled egg and pumpkin seeds, anyone?).

andapinchofsalt said...

Actually in hispanic cultures, "Arroz con leche" (rice and milk - sometimes known as rice pudding but not always quite the same) is a comfort food to many and can be seen as a way to stretch a bag of rice.

I do hope that you do offer them different mix-ins or simply offer them a new choice every now and then. They should learn variety and to eat what is given now before they grow up and experience the negative reprocussions of bad eating habits (not unhealthy, because you're pretty good at healthy, just the eating-style).

Domestic Goddess said...

I think some people are forgetting that you can buy processed rice cereal, barley cereal, cream of wheat, etc. Why not sprouted rice? And, it is brown rice. Much healthier than the bleached-white rice. Brown rice is much healthier, not processed, still has all of its vitamins, minerals and protein. White rice has it all bleached out. Some of it is added back in but most of it isn't.

Don't forget, toddlers sometimes eat ONE THING for an entire week. My son once ate nothing but apples. The next week he ate nothing but yogurt. As far as the pediatrician was concerned, he will grow out of it!

crabcakes said...

Another great way to eat leftover rice is with a little cream, sugar, and vanilla. I swear it's like a rice pudding heaven. I bet it would be great with your sprouted brown rice.

Off topic: Emily do you have any ideas of how I can use up half a head of cabbage and a half bag of rainbow salad?

Kelly said...

Wild rice isn't actually a rice, but a form of grass. At least, that's what I've heard.

Also, my husband has a degree in Chemistry and he says that the molecular change which food undergoes in the microwave is the change from "uncooked" to "cooked." That is, all food undergoes molecular change when it is cooked, regardless of stovetop, oven or microwave. It all loses nutrients and degrades.

However, microwaves certainly aren't required so by all means get rid of it if you like. But if you like it, don't let sketchy science scare you off.

AT said...

"What about some Apple Jacks? What about some Special K? What about some Cheerios?"

What about reading some labels?

Our Family Is His said...

Anonymous, if you don't like rice, that's fine. I am not a huge rice fan. But why in the world would you suggest junk to her like cereal with tons of sugar, high fructose corn syrup, colorings, additives, and other junk our bodies don't need. A high carb breakfast makes for a low energy person. Suggest healthy alternatives, not junk food in a box. said...

Thanks for the post. I cannot eat oatmeal, wheat, barley or rye. This leaves me pretty limited for grains at breakfast. I love this idea. I think I'm going to have to find some rice and give it a try.

When you make it overnight with whey do you just combine the rice and water with a couple tablespoons of whey in the jar?

Mary Jane said...

I take no issue with the rice for breakfast- after all, it's really not that much different than any other hot grain-based breakfast cereal. But for the love of all that's good, why can't the boys have a little drizzle of honey or maple syrup? Maybe a pinch of brown sugar and some yummy fresh fruit sliced into it? Because honestly, what Emily has described (plain rice cereal with just cinnamon) seems totally devoid of any pleasure at all.

As for the green smoothies that someone else mentioned, yum! We make them several mornings a week and my kids love them. I doubt, however, that Emily would be able to make them without increasing her grocery budget. We use a heck of a lot of produce each week just for our smoothies (baby spinach, fresh pineapple, oranges, bananas, and mangoes, sometimes big bags of frozen fruit instead) and it sure isn't under $1/lb. I've never weighed it all out, but I'd guess that an big blender full of smoothie has several pounds of fruit in it.

SB~the origianl bunny said...

What's "stevia"?

Jen said...

Emily, I always do what Amanda Rose recommends and add whole wheat flour to my oats when I soak them. I soak 2 cups of oats, 2 T WW flour, and 2 T lemon juice in 2 cups of water. The following day, I throw it all in the pan, add 2 cups of milk (or water) and a little salt. They're done in about 5-10 minutes, and they are awesome!

We like to add a little butter, maple syrup and cream. My husband raves about how creamy and yummy they are, and my 2 year old gobbles them up.

SB~the origianl bunny said...

What are the health benfits of "sprouted rice" as oppose to oatmeal? I'm just curious.

SB~the origianl bunny said...

It would seem Cheerios would be better health wise as oppose to "sprouted rice" since Cheerios are recognized by the American Heart Association. What are the benefits of "sprouted rice" heart health wise?
I'm not dissing you or anything, Like I mentioned in my other comment I'm curious as I have never even heard of "sprouted rice".

Chevy_Chick95 said...

wow, interesting. I have been thinking about switching all back to oatmeal. Maybe we will try this instead.

I haven't been around your blog for a long while, just a few weeks. But I only have commented a few times. I would really like for you to know how much i enjoy your blog.

I wrote a post about you and your blog. thank you for looking past all the negative people in the world and pushing forward :)

Ozzie said...

Over all the mess through the last couple of months, I wouldn't have guessed I would delurk over microwave concerns.

Microwaves put off radiation just like any and every other electrical appliance in the house. This is very simplified but it heats water molecules so they flip back and forth, creating heat via friction that then heats food. Microwaves are a very low-energy deal- lower than visible light. The loss of nutrients (mainly b12) due to microwave cooking is because the food is being heated, not because of any special radiation voodoo.

Microwaves are not that complicated. There's no need to fear them. You might avoid them because they can use a lot of energy, but health-wise, they are no big deal. Check it on snopes.

Emily said...

Amy, the basic rule for whey is one tablespoon for each cup of grains, and I let it soak in the pan I'm going to cook it in to keep it simple.

SB, stevia is a sweet herb. Nutritionally, rice is a whole grain, where cheerios is a HIGHLY processed grain, plus preservatives and corn syrup. Sprouted rice packs more of a nutritional punch than regular brown rice.

Mary Jane, My kids like it with just cinnamon, and I think it is good to teach them that something doesn't have to be sweet to be enjoyed. And we have fruit smoothies quite a lot, with milk, berries and bananas. You don't have to have expensive and exotic fruits for it to be nutritious and good.

chickennon said...

SB, it looks like my first comment didn't post (I'm having browser problems today). The only requirements for a food to get a heart-smart stamp from the AHA are that it contain some whole grains (if it's a cereal or bread), be low in cholesterol and saturated fat, and contain at least 10% of an adult's daily needs for any nutrient including fiber. I promise you that - unless you add butter to it - any cooked whole grain on earth meets this criteria. You'll notice that frozen brocolli sometimes has the "heart smart" stamp, while fresh brocolli doesn't. That doesn't mean that the fresh brocolli isn't good for heart health - it just means that the AHA stamp only shows up on processed foods.

Ryann said...

I tried to read through the comments ot make sure someone didn't ask this already... BUT you have too many comments. :)

Now, I thought you didn't like rice??

Anonymous said...

Emily- I am an old hand at frugal living. I applaud your efforts. I want to say that you are extremely patient with all the naysayers on this blog. Seems like a lot of spoiled, coddled people on here. There are children in the world with real trials and tribulations and I daresay that Emily's children are not included in that number. No wonder America is in the shape it is in, it is filled with spoiled people...

Catherine said...

I grew up with rice "gruel" as a comfort food. Rice was a big part of our family's diet and the leftover rice would be simmered with a broth (usually miso soup broth since my mother is Japanese). She would also throw in an egg and poach it in the broth, which pretty much would get soaked up by the rice. When I did not feel well for any reason, that was the food I craved. My kids really like it too, and on some days when the weather is cold and they want something comforting, I make it from scratch rather than as a leftover, though I think it tastes better with leftover rather than fresh made rice.

julie shipe said...

I have a question that I am sure will seem a bit dumb, but where do you get your whey? Or how do make it? I would love to start doing some of this, but lack the whey. Can you used pasturized milk and get whey? Should I use the watery stuff off the ricotta? HELP!

BTW-you have got to try Rice with Molasses. This is my favorite!!!!!

Emily said...

Ryann, there was something about the texture of rice but I'm enjoying sprouted rice. It's a new thing, though.

Julie, You can use the stuff from ricotta, or apple cider vinegar, or yogurt with the same results and I've heard of some people just using milk.

stephanie said...

Emily said, "My kids like it with just cinnamon, and I think it is good to teach them that something doesn't have to be sweet to be enjoyed."

And I really applaud that. Most Americans eat something sweet for breakfast. More people eat cereal, breakfast bars, donuts, muffins, etc. that eat protein for breakfast, which would serve weight control better. I'm convinced that my childhood spent eating sugary cereal is one reason for my weight issues. I *crave* sugar at breakfast a lot, which is not good.

Mary Jane said...

Emily- I was specifically referring to another person's comment about green smoothies. They have spinach, kale or some other sort of green in them. The greens need to be fresh (not frozen) to work well in a smoothie and I've never once seen spinach for under $1/lb (I can't speak for other greens, we tend to stick with spinach.) I'm personally psyched when I can find a big tub of baby spinach for less than $3/lb, but usually it's more.

Besides, I'd hardly call mangoes, bananas, pineapple and oranges exotic. Tropical? Sure. Exotic? Hardly.

The more savory version of a comfort dish that Catherine described (rice, miso, egg) also sounds absolutely delicious! I'd love to give that a try sometime- I think my family would probably really enjoy something like that.

(PS- Click on the link in my name for a how-to video on how to make smoothies the way that my kids really like them. I make them very similar to this.)

Scottish Twins said...

You may want to research arsenic levels in rice.

I wouldn't say that rice is any better for you than soaked oats.

crabcakes said...

Just because one person would find something devoid of pleasure doesn't mean that the item is in fact devoid of pleasure.

I hate fudge. I don't like chocolate ice cream, chocolate cake or really anything except plain old chocolate.

I prefer unsweetened tea and coffee. Others would find that "devoid of pleasure". But it's awesome to me.

Anonymous said...

If you haven't ever had Apple Jacks (or Fruity Pebbles...yum) you aren't living. Apple Jacks rock! I do love rice too and my kids have eaten pasta and rice sometimes soup for breakfast.

Aubrey said...

I think this post just proves how ignorant a lot of the readers of this blog are. Just because a woman says some days the only thing her kids want to eat is sprouted rice does not mean all that they get for the day is sprouted rice. Emily, that you can handle all of these mean-spirited, purposely stupid people is just amazing to me.

Maria said...

I'm not sure I understand your reasoning here. I mean, yes, phytic acid does block some nutrients but this would only be an issue if you only ate bowls and bowls and bowls of oatmeal every day, all day. This is why foods with high phytic acid levels aren't so great for people in developing countries where there is little to no access to a more varied diet.

Steel cut oats are really good for you and so easy to make. They're also an affordable food. We make a huge pot of oatmeal once a week in our crock pot and toss in whatever fresh berries or produce we have available. This makes a ton of servings, some of which we freeze. It's a quick breakfast that goes great with some yogurt.

As a breastfeeding mommy, I choose oats whenever possible. It's one of the best foods for boosting and maintaining your supply, especially as your kiddo starts on solids and your supply naturally dips. Since you've stated you want to nurse your youngest longer than the others, I'm suprised you're so anti-oatmeal.

Mary Jane said...

Stephanie- Yes, I also think it's great that she's helping her children develop a taste for things that aren't always sweet. Unfortunately, I think she's also training their palatte to like things that taste like crap. That's certainly not abusive or neglectful or anything like that, but it's a crying shame for sure.

You just don't sprinkle cinnamon on a plain bowl of hot cereal and call it done. There are plenty of options if you don't want to do sugar even in small, moderate amounts:

Stir in an mashed over-ripe banana and a spoonful of peanut butter (or other nut butter) for protein and flavor.

Make it into a savory dish and top it with a fried egg, scallions and soy sauce. Or Catherine's idea of the rice, miso and egg.

A Malaysian roommate in college used to use rice to make a porridge that included ginger and chicken. It was a good, cheap way to stretch one chicken breast to feed several poor and hungry college students all at once.

Cook the rice with some coconut milk and when it's done stir in some fresh lime juice and top with fresh cilantro.

Top the rice with some salsa and a bit of cheese.

Stir in some dried cherries and walnuts.

Borrow some ideas from how Southerners like their grits: butter and salt, or cheese, etc.

If you want to skip any form of sweetness at all, fine. But for goodness sake, at least compensate by finding other things to make it taste good or just serve something different altogether.

Let me reiterate: I'm not accusing Emily of being a bad mother. I'm just accusing her of making some pretty nasty and unappetizing meals all in the name of saving mere cents.

morethanamom2four said...

I wonder if some of you even have children. Yes, some days they will eat only ONE thing, if they even eat anything at all. Some days kids just don't eat. Some days they eat everything in sight. It is perfectly normal to go through phases like that. If you find something your kid is willing to eat, you offer it rather than see them eat nothing. And personally, I eat the same thing for breakfast (and usually lunch) every day. It makes things easier and I like what I am eating.

Emily said...

Maria, I wouldn't say I'm anti-oatmeal, but steel cut oats are twice the price of rice and can't be sprouted.

Mary Jane, just because you don't think rice and cinnamon (or any meal I make) wouldn't taste good doesn't mean my kids don't. I'm really teaching them to decide for themselves what they like, instead of deciding based on a processed food company's marketing campaign.

Our Family Is His said...

Here are a few links on the benefits of sprouted rice (and other grains). Reading this you can easily see why it's better for you than highly processed cereal in a cardboard box.

Rachel said...

What a good idea! Rice is such a comfort food, so adding cinamon and milk sounds like comfort x 2!

Christena said...

i'm also one of those poeple that eats the same thing for breakfast every day (cup of orange juice, yogurt and toast) and love it. but i couldn't eat the same 14 things every two weeks for dinner month in a month out. I make a menu every week so that i can do my shopping. We eat almost exclusively chicken breasts, pork tenderloins or chops (whatever's cheaper), and organic ground beef for protein (i can't afford to get organic everything, but i figure some is better than nothing), but i find ways of making dishes so that it stays interesting. Usually nothing is duplicated within the same month. I try to keep things in season so that it's cheaper for me.

I do think that i'm going to try to sprout some rice. But from what i've read it sounds like if you let it sprout long enough to get a tail, it turns really bitter. Have you noticed that? Most of the how to's i can find online say that you should only soak it for 20 hours or so, or until it has a nub but no tail.

Christena said...

I don't see how you're letting your children decide for themselves when it comes to food. They aren't old enough to make food for themselves and it sounds like they eat what you give them. do you cater to their requests? you've never talked about that. What happens if they don't want to eat what you've made?

i totally agree with you about staying away from the "traditional" american diet, but from what it sounds like here, you're training them to avoid those foods altogether, which isn't the same as letting them choose. If you were letting them choose, they'd have to have the junk food as an option. right now that doesn't seem to be the case. which is fine, but be honest with your readers emily.

Melissa said...

I too wonder if some of the commenters have kids. It is VERY normal and common for young children to only literally want to eat one thing. This phase can last a week or even a month! Right now my toddler is on a yogurt kick - strawberry yogurt to be exact.

Emily- During day 1 at night, do you leave the jar uncovered? I am assuming so but just want to be sure. This seems easy enough to try!

God Bless,

Leslie said...

disagreeing is being mean-spirited and purposely stupid? Oh, okay.

Anonymous said...

Since this is more of a lunch type food for you, have you thought about picking up some Thai curry paste? With a bit of paste, a bit of oil, and a bit of coconut milk, you have a really simple lunchtime curry that is packed with flavor and nutrients. You can, of course, add any meet or tofu and veggies you'd like to make it into a dinner meal. The curry paste is super cheap and there are so many different brands that you're sure to find one that meets your diatery requirements in terms of non-GMO ect.

Anonymous said...

Ah, amusing comments again. Apple Jacks vs. sprouted rice, hmmmmm.

I much prefer to underthink food issues. Just wanted as close to whole food and fresh food as I can get (some circumstances are better than others for that). Beyond that, to me all the deep thinking just leads around in circles and often is more faddish than anything else.

But anyway....
There is nothing wrong with starting kids off learning to enjoy the natural sweetness of a food rather than dousing it with sugar of some sort. Cinnamon tastes *great*. Rice being a starch has it's own sugars. If Emily's kids enjoy that, good for them! I used the same reasoning with my kids. They *do* enjoy sweet treats once in a while. But I started them off with plain yogurt, a tiny bit of honey, and some fruit, rather than super-sweet neon colored yogurt marketed to kids. To me that's just good sense. My kids love sweet stuff now and again but they aren't sugar crazed, don't demand things that are sugar laden, and I hope and pray they will not suffer the physical and dental problems I've had due to a typical poor, sugar-in-everything, American diet.

Margaret (who had a molar crumble and fall out into her hand this week, and is facing some big dental goings on shortly. Boo to sugar addiction!!)

Anonymous said...

What do you have against protein?

Maria said...

If I don't have time to visit the grocery store across town that sells steel cut oats in bulk, I pick up a box of McCann's Irish Oats for $3.15 to $3.85 at Kroger. Sometimes I have a coupon but if I don't that still works out to 29-35 cents per serving--and those servings are dense. Dave and I get way, way more servings than the box recommends, especially when we pair with yogurt or an egg on the side or whatever. Even with the cost of a pint of blueberries or raspberries or a mushy banana or a spoonful or two of peanut butter or a drizzle of honey, it's not breaking the bank.

Sorry if I'm harping on the oatmeal, lol. I'm just so huge on heart health and oatmeal (real oatmeal, not that powdery poo that comes out of those little baggies) is a great heart food.

Cat J B said...

I've never thought about sprouting rice, I'm just about to try sprouting my own wheat for flour, but I'm keen to try rice too.

Emily, I love your blog and the way you do things, thanks for sharing it all with us :)

Emily said...

Christena, I've never sprouted rice so long that it's been bitter, but I've read the same stuff. And I let them choose what real food they eat. I don't think it is less of a choice just because I am not offering junk. There is plenty for them to choose from among real food. And yes, I do let my kids pick out what they eat during the day. Breakfast and supper we have a set menu and they choose everything else. I want them to trust their bodies and cravings.

Melissa, i have it covered with the cloth I use to strain it just to keep any bugs out.

Cat, thanks! (:

Elizabeth said...

I have a question, which you may answer here or decide to add to your Q&A. I think it is great that you are researching your foods and choosing to feed your family healthy. I just wonder, have you occasionally bought the boys a candy bar or purchased a store bought bag of cookies for the boys or Dan? I only question it because while those things are not essential, they can be little treats. You mentioned that Dan goes way overboard when at family gatherings with the junk food. Could it be that he feels deprived of those things in his life? Don't get me wrong, junk food is junk food but I kind of equate it with how doctors say the majority of "diets" just don't work because when you deprive yourself of what you really want you end up splurging when it is available or binging on the unhealthy foods. You know, they say if you crave chocolate, allow yourself to have a small piece a day. That way you get a taste of it but can allow yourself to stop because you know you'll get another small piece tomorrow.
I know you have mentioned homemade cookies and treats, but wonder if there is any allowance for store bought goodies every once in awhile?
Also, another Q&A...I don't know if you have answered this before but do you have a set grocery budget for yourself and what would a weekly grocery budget be? I've set mine at $75 a week now for five people and have been finding that managable. Jut wondering how low you can go! :)

TweedleDea said...

Can you direct me to where you read that sprouting a grain takes it from a grain to a vegetable. That interesting. (I"m not debating it at all, just curious to learn more)

Also about not using a micorwave, try steaming your left overs, it's fast and maintains their nutritional value. To not use your microwave, use it as storage so it's a hassle to empty it if you want to use it.

AND have you heard of the holistic mom's network? I think you'd appreciate them.

Anonymous said...

I find sprouting interesting, but my palate doesn't like some sprouted foods. And no, it's not because I like sweets for breakfast. ;o) The research that I've done supports our decision to stick with good old-fashioned oats, and has helped my husband's heart health immensely. Oh, and Cheerios does not contain high fructose corn syrup, by the way, though you are right that it of course has preservatives.

Cooking less rice more often would be a good idea to consider, though. Cooked foods should not be kept for a week, even at a proper temperature in the fridge. Rice maxes out at 2-3 days, depending on storage.

-- Rachel --

Dory said...

WOW, That is a lot of comments!!
I applaud you for stretching your budget, A lot of us could do better. I don't plan to sprout anything, but i am interested to see how your urban gardening goes!!

Anonymous said...

I prepare most of our food from scratch almost all organic. No boxed junk here. I do not think a bowl of rice would be considered a meal.


Erin T. said...

Cool idea Emily. I haven't heard of it. My kids (and me) LOVE brown rice with Cheddar cheese and soy sauce mixed in it. Sounds weird I know, but it is so yummy. A friend of our family used to make it when I was a kid, but it was liquid aminos instead of soy sauce, I think it is lower in sodium. But don't quote me, lol. The reason I would suggest that as a lunch, or adding some butter to the sprouted rice with cinnamon, is that my ped. keeps mentioning that now that Cove is past being on formula I need to be adding a bit of fat to his diet, and so I was thinking that if you aren't nursing Bobby it would be good to add a bit of butter to his anyway. And it will probably be tastier of course! So I wasn't sure, do you cook the rice AFTER it has sprouted or BEFORE? Thanks, oh and I am looking forward to seeing who wins the bedroom contest tomorrow! Erin

Anonymous said...

I don't get the point of telling your kids it is something that it's not. If you ae lying to them about oatmeal, they're eventually going to think you're lying about Jesus, too.

Steph said...

Is it just me or does the "sprouting" process take a lot of time and work? DH and I work 8-5 (and I work until 7 two days a week) and that just doesn't seem practical!! I don't even know,if I was at home, if I could remember to change the water so often!

Erin T. said...

Ok Emily, I just emailed you my submission, I hope I'm not too late. Lol, just realized I didn't exactly include Gizmola's mattress in my room plan.

Jennifer said...

"Yes, I also think it's great that she's helping her children develop a taste for things that aren't always sweet. Unfortunately, I think she's also training their palatte to like things that taste like crap."

"You just don't sprinkle cinnamon on a plain bowl of hot cereal and call it done."

Just because you think hot cereal sprinkled with cinnamon "tastes like crap" does not make it true. Or that "you just don't do it". You have insulted anyone who likes to eat hot cereal that way. Which where I live is quite popular.

Just because you wouldn't like it doesn't mean its a crap taste. You'd think someone who is old enough to surf the internet would surely have figured out not everyone likes the same things.


Jennifer said...

Also, Anonymous, "what do you have against protein?"

you must have missed the comment after comment and multiple posts in which Emily mentions how huge meat and eggs are in their diet, for both breakfast and dinner.

Emily said...

Elizabeth, we go out to eat once a week. Everyone gets what they want. We consider that a sufficient treat. And we don't have a set grocery budget. Some weeks we just need the essentials, flour, eggs, bananas, and other weeks we buy months supply of one item because it is on sale.


Rachel, you're right, no corn syrup, but it does have corn starch and sugar, which are just as bad.

Erin T, I cook it after I sprout it, and you weren't too late. (:

Anon, they (Daniel, at least) knows it is rice, but likes calling it oatmeal. When we ran out a while back, he told me we had to go to the store and get more rice. It's like a nick name for it.

Steph, the work in sprouting is filling a cup of water and dumping it out. If that's more than you want to do, that's fine. This idea might not be for you.

Our Family Is His said...

Elizabeth, I agree that the occasional treat is a fun thing. I don't agree in store bought because the junk that's in those cookies, candy bars, and so on is just nasty, nasty for our bodies. You can make it taste just as good as those in the store and not have all the junk that's in them.

I don't agree with a lot of Emily's cooking ideas (how she does them and what she makes) but not feeding over processed junk is one area we really agree on. I can't believe the stuff most Americans put into their bodies. No wonder we have such a high rate of obesity, cancer rates skyrocketing, diabetes on the rise, ASD rates going insane, and other health issues climbing.

Jennifer said...

I read the bit on Essential Eating about sprouting turning a grain from a starch to a vegetable. Unprocessed grains sprout because they are plant-based foods. Each grain is like a little seed- add water to it, the enzymes will activate, and then you get a sprout. It doesn't cease to be a grain because it sprouts. Many nuts and seeds sprout- they don't turn into vegetables. They are still nuts and seeds.

I guess I would say this- all vegetables are living foods, but not all living foods are vegetables. (Sort of like the old saying- all priests are Levites, but not all Levites are priests).

Sorry if that seems nitpicky- I think your idea of serving rice for breakfast or as "oatmeal" is a great idea. I LOVE rice pudding for breakfast... rice cooked in milk with a bit of maple syrup or brown sugar... or topped with fresh fruit. Mmmm...

Have you tried adding some milk or water and blending it up in a food processor or blender? You might get more of the creamy consistency of oatmeal. I've done that with sprouted, raw oat groats (which are difference from Steel Cut Oats, btw- same grain, but they are unprocessed). You put them in a food processor with some cinnamon, water or almond milk, and a few dates. Whirl it around and you've got raw oatmeal.

Anyway, just thought it might work with the rice.

Elizabeth said...

Our Family Is His-
I completely agree. I just meant that if Dan has a craving for a piece of junk food, having it once in awhile is better than binging on it at get togethers. But you're right, Emily can make cookies or chocolate goodies with good ingreidents in them rather than the store bought chemicals. I, myself, am trying to cut back on the sugary junk because we all have sweet tooths in our family and were consuming way too much of that junk. So for Lent I gave up the store bought stuff and feel much better. :)

Cris said...

I don't recall where it comes from, no doubt a TF thing, but food is better digested and nutrients absorbed with fat. I would recommend at least adding a chunk of butter to the "oatmeal." I think sea salt or seaweed flakes would really add to the nutritional value. Just part of my food routine I wanted to share.

Clisby said...

Are some of you saying you think plain rice is unappetizing? My kids and I would beg to differ - that's one of our favorite foods. Well, actually, my saltaholic daughter would want to sprinkle salt on it - but the idea that you need sugar, or milk, or salsa, or cheese, or something like that on *rice* is just bizarre, to me. My kids do sometimes like soy sauce or hot sauce sprinkled on their rice - and of course they like it with chili, beef stew, beans, etc. - but plain is fine also.

heather said...

OK, just have to throw out a request to you Emily (and anyone else who is against fun cereals). Please, please, please splurge and have a treat of cereal once in a while. I know, most have lots of sugar. But they are also enriched with vitamins and minerals.

As a kid I was not a cereal eater. Actually, I've never been able to eat breakfast at "breakfast time". I love all sorts of breakfast meals, so we have them for dinner once in awhile. I didn't learn to appreciate the fun cereals til I was a grown up.

My girls are not real big cereal eaters either. They prefer oats, eggs, pancakes.

BUT...every once in awhile it makes for a yummy treat. And I guess I feel a little sad for any kid (or grown up) to not be able to indulge. Sometimes a bowl of Lucky Charms takes the place of a dessert for me.

So would you (and anyone else) please reconsider and maybe just get one box a year? It's yummy and fun and all about being a kid...even for us grown ups. =)

Anonymous said...

Emily - where do you go and what do you order when you "go out to dinner once a week"?
- MrsYoungie

crabcakes said...

"You just don't sprinkle cinnamon on a plain bowl of hot cereal and call it done."

I do. We do. That's how I like it and it's how my kids like it.


Sounds like the "you" you are referring to is YOU. Do you expect everyone else in the world to have the same food preferences as you do?

SB~the origianl bunny said...

I'm not arguing or being "catty" or anything, But there have been reported cases where eating a bowl of cheerios every day(with skim or low fat milk)or oat meal have remarkably reduced cholesterol, blood pressure and weight.
I mean I'm just saying before anyone take cheerios to the guillotine(or me for mentioning this).
I think I would be very worried about the bacteria that lurks in this "sprouted rice".
I'm not dissing you as a parent or anything. But do you not ever worry about this?
I have no idea how to make the link "clickable".

heather said...

ok this kind of made me giggle. as i was just talking about cereal and how i think all kids should have it *some* of the time. just read this on another blog i read and thought i'd share. sorry i can't give you any official sources, since the blog author didn't. and i know that your kids do get grains, but i guess the average kid doesn't.

maybe i ought to start a cereal campaign of some sort?! here ya go...

Did you know that ready-to-eat cereal eaters consume less fat, less cholesterol and more fiber than non-cereal eaters? Cereals also deliver important vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients, making cereal a top source of key nutrients in children’s diets.

Other cereal benefits:
Ready-to-eat cereals, including presweetened cereals, account for only 5% of sugar in children’s diets.

Ready-to-eat cereal is the No. 1 source of whole grains in a child’s diet today.

More frequent cereal eaters tend to have healthier body weights and lower Body Mass Index measures.
Studies also demonstrate the benefits of eating breakfast. A 1998 study showed that children who eat breakfast tend to perform better at school. Compared to children who skip breakfast, children who eat breakfast score higher on tests, are less likely to miss class or be tardy, have fewer reported discipline problems, and make fewer trips to the office.

Post a Comment