What’s your favorite breakfast cereal? Maybe there’s a honey bee on the package or a star athlete, whatever the case - breakfast cereal is iconic for many of us. From fond childhood memories of Saturday morning rituals to weekday grab & go nourishment! Now as an adult and registered dietitian nutritionist who talks with people about the plethora of cereal choices out there, I was thrilled to get the inside scoop about the cereal business from one of the largest global cereal (and food) companies on a recent #sponsored trip to General Mills‘ Bell Institute of Health and Nutrition.
I learned so many fun facts about this 150 year old company. Did you know that General Mills …
- invented the first airplane flight recorder aka the ‘black box’
- created the Nerf gun!
- designed the image and likeness of Betty Crocker, the most famous woman to never exist! (We all saw various first ladies in her renderings over the years!).
On a health and nutrition note, General Mills is listening to what consumers want and the “Big G” cereals are now all made with whole grains, more fiber and lower sodium, sugar and they are working toward removing artificial colors and flavorings from all of their cereals. I was pleased to see that General Mills is taking into account the science of sound nutrition with consumer preferences and overhauling their entire product portfolio (for the healthier!).
As a lover of food photography and styling, it was a joy to go into the General Mills photo studio and learn from the photographer and food stylist about tricks and tips to making your food images look luscious on the page.
Tip #1 - Lighting is key. Know where your light source is and use it to your advantage. Blunt bright light with a sheer curtain or scrim to highlight food appropriately.
Tip #2 - Spritz your food. To give your dishes a juicy, moist look, use a small spritzer bottle filled with water to gently add a glow and glossy look to your food. Plus, it freshens it (think misting your skin to give your face a boost!).
Tip #3 - Prevent greens and herbs from wilting by placing in water. In a bowl or vase on the countertop, place leafy greens and herbs to keep them alive and lush looking.
Tip #4 - Shoot food prior to cooking. Certain foods can look better pre-cooked and assembled, such as a casserole. By photographing your food at all stages of the preparation process you can choose the best shots later.
Tip #5 - Work fast. Depending on the food, work fast and set up your shot ahead of time and slide the food in their as the longer food sits, the less appealing it looks.
It was fun to cook in the Betty Crocker Kitchens, too! The RDN “Share & Inspire” Team has a friendly waffle-making competition. . . the culinary creativity was alive and flowing!
Here is the RDN “Share & Inspire” Team: Bonnie Taub-Dix, Me, Roseanne Rust, Liz Weiss, Keith Ayoob, Lauren Harris-Pincus, Leslie Bonci.
What do you put in a waffle when you can make it sweet or savory? Everyone put a different spin on their waffle creation — from chicken-filled to bacon-wrapped to avocado-inspired. I went for the more traditional, sweet waffle with a dash of spice with cinnamon and ginger + creamy peanut butter topped with fresh blueberries and strawberries.
I was thrilled that my Spiced Peanut Butter, Oat and Blueberry Waffles tied for 2nd place along with Bonnie’s sweet fruity waffles. (Congratulations to Roseanne for coming in first with her savory ginger and chicken-filled waffle!)
Many of you have asked for the recipe and here it is…
Makes 6 jumbo waffles
2 cup white whole wheat flour
1 cup General Mills Toasted Oats Granola with Blueberries cereal
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick of butter, melted and cooled
1 cup oat milk
2 - 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 Tablespoons natural peanut butter (Spread on top of one waffle and top with another waffle or is just have a single one and spread on top and add fruit, spice and syrup toppings.
1/2 cup fresh blueberries
1/4 cup fresh raspberries
Pinch ground ginger and cinnamon
1/8 cup pure maple syrup
Preheat waffle iron.
In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, cereal, ginger, cinnamon, baking powder and salt. In a small bowl, mix together the butter, egg and milk. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients slowly and gently mix together.
Brush waffle iron with 1 - 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, repeat with each waffle. Depending upon the size of your waffle, place 1/4 - 1/2 cup of batter into each heated compartment of the waffle iron. Close the waffle iron and cook until crisp for 3 - 5 minutes.
Once one waffle is done, turn on to a plate and spread with peanut butter. Top with another waffle and add toppings. Serve immediately and enjoy! (You can freeze the waffles after cooked before adding toppings).
Enjoy eating simply,