I come from a cereal breakfast family. Every morning when I was in elementary school, I took for granted that cereal with milk would be breakfast. It wasn’t until high school that I began to branch out with toast, eggs, and other more interesting creations. But I can’t say I’ve never looked back.
Over the years, various brands and flavors of cereal have taken on certain characters for me based on the memories I associate with them.
For instance, one of the Spiderman movies came out when my brother and I were both in a Froot-Loops phase. The cereal began advertising Spiderman trinket bobbleheads inside each box, so every time we opened a new box we’d discover a new plastic treasure to end up forgotten on the floor a few minutes later. Now every time I see a picture of Spiderman I smell the sugar and food coloring of Froot-Loops.
Image copyright Marvel Comics, found on https://craytoncomicblog.wordpress.com/2010/11/07/review-157-carnage-1-oktober-2010-marvel-comics/
When I was around twelve, in that awkward stage between unhealthy child muncher and unhealthy dieting tween, my family was on vacation in some So-Cal town. Because everyone was picky about breakfast, Dad took us kids to the local grocery store to get whatever we were willing to eat. I actually wanted to try something different, so I picked out Cinnabon cereal: basically tiny stale cinnamon buns in milk.
I was disappointed that the cereal wasn’t as amazing as a real cinnamon bun. My mom also noted that it was lower in nutritional value than the cereals I would usually eat at home (Special K, Honey Bunches of Oats, Post Selects, etc.) I renounced the cereal, teary-eyed and embarrassed.
The lowest calorie cereal I could find in the grocery store back home was Fiber One 80 calorie cardboard squares. My first year of high school, I would pour a few squares into a bowl that had once overflowed with Froot-Loops, add a few drops of skim milk, and slice up two strawberries to match the picture on the box.
Image found on http://www.mrbreakfast.com/cereal_detail.asp?id=1462
One time my mom was trying to convince me I wasn’t eating enough and insisted upon measuring my cereal. I was terrified I would discover I had poured more than a serving size into the bowl, but actually it was less than the stated 3/4 cup. My mom and I looked each other in the eye, both knowing I had a problem, both unsure whether to laugh or cry. I’ll always remember that moment as one of the painful sunbeams that has illuminated my long and ongoing path to healing.
This past summer, my mother, 14-year-old brother and I were on snack break at the Natural History Museum. I chose to grab a single-serving convenience cup of Honey Bunches of Oats with Almonds, an old favorite, and some Greek yogurt to mix into it.
Image credit: “NaturalHistoryMuseumOfLosAngelesCounty” by David Leigh Ellis – Self-photographed. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:NaturalHistoryMuseumOfLosAngelesCounty.jpg#/media/File:NaturalHistoryMuseumOfLosAngelesCounty.jpg
My brother eyed my purchase suspiciously and remarked, “You know those cereal cups are for college students, right?” Since I was shipping off to my first year of college at the end of the month, I felt entitled to eat college convenience food. My brother just shook his head as I mixed the yogurt into the sweet granola clusters and flakes. Clearly I was a precocious one.
I haven’t seen any convenience cups of Honey Bunches of Oats at the 7-11 near my college. I’ve missed them, and I feel like I’m not getting the real college experience my brother promised. So now while home for winter break, I decided recently to pick up a full box at the grocery store, a better value than those individual cups anyway. As soon as I brought it home, my mind was whirring with ideas of recipes to use it in.
This one is pretty simple: a fueling, invigorating blueberry orange smoothie with a full serving of Post Honey Bunches of Oats with Almonds for added crunch and a spoonful of crunchy peanut butter for added energy. Feel free to use almond butter or any other nut butter of your choosing.
Blueberry Orange Peanut Butter Crunch Smoothie
- one single-serving container Greek blueberry yogurt (I used Yoplait Greek 100)
- 1/2 cup plain almond milk
- 1 whole large navel orange
- 1 frozen banana (or use a fresh banana and add more ice)
- a couple ice cubes
- 3/4 cup Post Honey Bunches of Oats with Almonds cereal
- 1 tbs crunchy peanut butter
Peel orange and separate segments for easier blending. Place most of the orange segments in the blender, but reserve one or two for garnish.
Pour almond milk into blender. Add yogurt, frozen banana, and ice cubes.
Blend until smooth
Add cereal and blend for about five seconds, just to mix it in.
Pour smoothie into serving glass. Garnish with reserved orange slice(s) and a scoop of your favorite nut butter. Enjoy cold.
Up and at ’em!