I happened to go to a college with a phenomenal cafeteria.
I realize that cannot be said for most colleges.
Ours was seriously good. My young adult metabolism was fortunately in gear- there's no way I could eat the volume I did back then. Daily breakfast buffets, stir fry and pasta bars, burgers, endless desserts- yeeeeeah.
One of my favorite things to eat at breakfast at that time- scrambled eggs and pastries aside (I WASN'T A DIETITIAN YET)- was a big ol' bowl of Cracklin' Oat Bran.
You ever had this stuff? My friends called it dog food 'cause it comes in pellet-y looking O's. Not a very appealing visual. But the taste? So not Purina. Cinnamon-y, nutty, and crunchy. OK crunchy's not a taste.
I started buying it again recently but I'm turned off that the stuff costs $4 for a small box. Could it possibly be replicated at home?
Oh yes. Dog food 2.0.
Homemade Schmacklin' Oat Bran Cereal
1 1/2 cups instant dry oats
1 cup oat bran or wheat bran (tip- my grocery store carries this in the bulk bin section)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup ground flaxseeds (find in the baking aisle)
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes (could use sweetened though)
1/3 cup agave nectar or maple syrup
1/2 cup coconut oil in liquid form (just microwave it to liquefy)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl. Line a rimmed 12x18 baking sheet with either parchment or a Silpat baking mat. Press down mixture evenly into a thin layer across the whole pan.
Bake for 25 minutes. Let cool completely. Break into chunks and store in a resealable bag. Recipe makes ~4 cups worth.
I find myself grabbing a few pieces for a snack during nighttime baby feedings. You could eat it as cereal with added milk, or crumble it on top of yogurt or cottage cheese. SO good! And yeah- not exactly pleasing to the eye, but I didn't care at 18, and I don't care at 30-something.
Here's the thing though- just like the actual boxed cereal, this is higher in calories than your normal cereal. It does have an awesome amount of fiber, so I consider this a healthy treat. Per 1/2 cup serving: 348 calories, 38 grams carbohydrates (including 7 grams of fiber), 19 grams fat, 6 grams protein.