This year, FGG and I decided that, instead of making a traditional Christmas morning breakfast (tater tot egg casserole from Pinterest and bacon), we were going to temporarily pause our low-carb diet and indulge in breakfast cereals from our childhood. Our logic surrounding this decision was: 1. It’s one day a year to eat whatever we want, so it’s not going to ruin our (strictly low carb) diet, and 2. I tend to spend so much time cooking every holiday that I tend to get stuck in the kitchen rather than enjoying the family, and: 3. It’s 2021, and there are no rules anymore. Why not make our own traditions?
It’s no surprise that FGG and I love food: we are often seen around town going out to eat. Ironically, as we walk the track at Tippah Wellness Center each morning, we usually engage in very important discussions-- about 57.89% of them revolving around food, namely, all the food that is bad for us that we have cut out of our diet but have fond memories of eating. At the top of the list of nostalgic childhood foods is various breakfast cereals. We have been dreaming about a nostalgic a cereal buffet breakfast for at least a year now, and Christmas morning seemed the perfect day to make a dream of ours come true.
We decided we would have twelve different cereals on the buffet, to keep with the “Twelve Days of Christmas.” We called the breakfast “The 12 Cereals of Christmas.”
I polled my Facebook friends to get ideas for cereals to include. 42 comments later, we had a general idea of what would be pleasing to the palate. Old stand-by’s, such as Lucky Charms and Captain Crunch, were suggested by my friends. Some cereals, such as Sugar Cookie Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Honey Bunches of Oats, didn’t make the cut because I had no signal while Bella and I were in Ripley Walmart shopping for the cereals, making it impossible for me to pull up the suggestions from Facebook. We went for broke and winged it, curating a lineup of twelve cereals that we haven’t eaten in years.
The final selection included:
1. Quaker Simply Granola
2. Apple Jacks
3. Lucky Charms
4. Froot Loops (with marshmallows, at Bella’s request)
5. Peanut Butter Captain Crunch
6. Raisin Bran Crunch
7. Frosted Mini Wheats
8. Honey Nut Cheerios
9. Cocoa Pebbles
10. Cookie Crisp
12. Quisp: added because it was rated number one on a list FGG found after searching the Internet for lists of the most highly rated breakfast cereals. It is no longer sold in stores, but was rated number one, so we ordered a box from Amazon. We were all in!
Even though I said I wasn’t going to cook anything, I also ended up making Pillsbury Cinnamon rolls (easy!), bacon (just pop it onto a baking sheet and into a 375-degree oven for 20-22 minutes—easy) and had whole milk and 2% milk available to pour into the bowls. Cut up fruit to top the cereal and vanilla yogurt were on the buffet, as well.
We aren’t sorry we did this! It was the easiest meal prep ever on a holiday morning. I got to sit through all the present opening: something I usually cannot stay seated for in its entirety, because I’m normally preoccupied in the kitchen.
The kids (Jack, 17, and Bella, 21), enjoyed sampling throwback cereals they’d never eaten before, and breakfast table conversation revolved around our assessments of each cereal’s merits and weaknesses. We took our reviews of each cereal so seriously; you’d think we were judging American Idol.
FGG was “not a quitter,” as he said and tried every single cereal.
It was fun to experiment mixing and matching cereals in the same bowl, trying out different combinations together that we thought might taste good. Simply Granola, Frosted Mini-Wheats, Raisin Bran Crunch with cut up bananas was surprisingly yummy. Conversely, it was unanimously concluded by our family that Honey Nut Cheerios must be eaten as a “stand-alone” cereal because the flavor is so distinct.
I was full and a little queasy after three bowls of mixed cereal. My favorite combination was Cookie Crisp, Peanut Butter Captain Crunch, Krave, and Cocoa Pebbles with whole milk.
My favorite “stand-alone” cereal is still Frosted Mini Wheats.
I don’t know if my taste buds have changed from being on the keto diet for so long, or if my memory of the cereals was better than the cereals actually tasted, but a few of the cereals just didn’t taste as yummy as I remember. Cookie Crisp was just kind of bland this time around. I remember Cocoa Pebbles tasting sweeter than it actually was. The biggest disappointment, however, was unanimously Quisp. I had high hopes for it, based on the thousands of positive reviews online. Just goes to show you: don’t believe everything you read online. It tasted just like Corn Pops. In my best Randy Jackson imitation: “That’s a ‘no’ for me, dawg.”
The cereal that tasted better than we remember was Peanut Butter Captain Crunch. It was even more peanut-buttery than we remember, and our eating experience was enhanced because it no longer has the barrel-shape with the sharp ridges which we remember could tear up the roof of your mouth in a few bites. Now, it’s comprised of smooth, rounded balls.
One cereal that none of us had ever tried before, but ended up being a favorite, is Krave. I could see these little puffed “pillows” stuffed with chocolate being a good addition to trail mix.
Now that we have checked our cereal fantasy off the bucket list, it’s back to keto. FGG and I agreed that we got it all out of our system by indulging in these cereals. We had sugar headaches and really didn’t feel great afterwards (we don’t eat a lot of processed foods anymore). We can sustain another year of healthy low carb eating. Maybe next Christmas, we will treat ourselves to other throwback favorite foods.
This cereal breakfast buffet would be fun for any holiday. What a fun way to get the cook out of the kitchen.
I could even imagine a cereal bar for some fun and conversation at morning or early afternoon weddings. Why not?
A twist on the breakfast cereal buffet might be to do the countdown to Christmas starting 12 days before, celebrating each morning (or evening, if you want to do “breakfast for dinner” with a different cereal with the kids). A little nostalgia and an opportunity to talk about what life was like when we grew up and read the back of the cereal boxes instead of scrolling on our phones.