Hot Buckwheat Cereal with Cinnamon Apples

Hot buckwheat cereal with cinnamon apples
Hot buckwheat cereal- gluten-free comfort. With apples.

Nothing like a simple bowl of hot buckwheat cereal with cinnamon spiced apples to set you straight. Because winging it can get you into trouble. I know this. But I couldn't help myself. You see, I was just so (excruciatingly!) tired of pre-planning where to eat and schlepping bags of stale corn thins and green bananas that never get ripe and worrying myself into a veritable tizzy over whether or not some waiter-slash-actor might actually offer me an empathetic ear when I ask if the grilled tuna salad has a dairy-based dressing.

Not to mention feeling like a stodgy old stick-in-the-mud with a neon sign on my forehead that screams High Maintenance- when I'm not. Really. (Or maybe I'm in denial and actually one of those women who only thinks she's low maintenance, but she's really, you know, a major pain in the tuchas?)

So I traveled light and didn't obsess.

I drank a lot of bottled water. (The up side- zero calories, right?)

When those with me talked script notes and casting ideas over cappuccino and caramel lattes I bravely ordered espresso- or a dairy-free Americano- and tuned out the frothy sound of the foaming barista hard at work. I breathed. I dealt.

I sat with an empty plate as laid-back cool and hip people chowed down first courses of sushi and spicy coconut soup and grilled shrimp with garlic (because the waitress shrugged when I asked about gluten). In-N-Out burger saved my life more than twice with fabulous gluten-free fries- fries (thank goddess there are dedicated GF fryers in this world).

One marvelous and exceptional meal was at I Cugini in Santa Monica where a handsome, sweet waiter didn't blink an eye when I told him I needed to eat gluten-free, and declared, Let's build you something! We'll start with greens- can you do fresh tomatoes, leeks? Topped with fresh grilled salmon? Olive oil and balsamic? And NO GLUTEN or DAIRY he wrote on the order. All this with a smile, mind you. And a conspiratorial wink. 

My mother, he whispered. 

Celiac? I asked. A nod.

The lunch was gorgeous. I scraped my plate clean while Steve talked with his director. 
One thing I know for sure. Gluten-free in Los Angeles is doable, if not easy. Gluten and dairy free... a tad trickier. They love their butter and yogurt here. Thank heavens for grapes, bananas and potato chips.

Next time we'll rent a place with a kitchen- like we did in February. After all, a goddess cannot live on lettuce and French fries for a week.

Hot buckwheat cereal with cinnamon apples

Hot Buckwheat Cereal with Maple-Cinnamon Apples Recipe

Apples plus buckwheat equal comfort for this snack-food weary goddess. I'm still suffering from various symptoms too numerous (and boring!) to go into, so it's time to return to the basics. Food to soothe. Body and soul.


Buckwheat hot cereal- follow package directions
A pinch of sea salt, to taste
1 ripe apple per person
Vegan buttery spread, for flavor
Cinnamon, to taste
Pure maple syrup


Following package directions, cook the buckwheat cereal. I cook my buckwheat with almond milk or rice milk, or sometimes spring water, until it achieves a creamy smooth consistency.

While the cereal is cooking, peel and slice the apples. Heat a skillet and add the oil, vegan butter, and a good sprinkle of cinnamon. Add the apples and cook over medium heat, stirring once in awhile until the apples are cooked and golden. Drizzle with maple syrup and stir to coat.

Serve the hot apple slices on buckwheat cereal.


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Garrett said...

Holy crap, yum. That just sounds so amazingly simple and yummy!

Katie said...

I can sympathize. Within the last year my family has found out a few things. My mom is allergic to dairy, one of my sisters is allergic to nuts, and myself and my other two sisters are celiacs. It can be a nightmare trying to eat out with all of us. We have to leave REALLY good tips when the waiter works well with our requests! I have learned a lot of patience. Thank you for always being so encouraging and having and optimistic spirit! I'm glad you finally got some comfort food. Take care and continue to heal.

Cindy said...

I am sorry you had such a horrific trip as far as meals- I hope it was productive for Steve at least.

I can't lie- when I read your post I fell over laughing as I read it aloud. I am looking to fly to Yale for a week myself soon here and I AM frantically obsessing over food and meals (can't bring anything on the plane or in my carry on only bag!) I am spending a week in the basement of a physics lab sitting experiment shifts.. that is the formal way of saying that I get to freeze and starve as all other other guys order pizza and drink beer. Argh- so, I feel your pain with the traveling issue.

Your recipe looks great! I hope that now you can settle back to "normal" at home :) Many blessings,


Mary Frances said...

I'm so glad that you found ONE place. It's so nice to find a chef and wait staff that want to feed you well and enjoy the challenge of the restrictions.

ByTheBay said...

Ugh. That reminds me of my horrible trip to Tucson over Christmas - Everything was closed. No food I could eat, anywhere. My cousins made food that one would never, ever assume to have gluten in them and put them on my plate and then I discovered they had "just a little bit of flour... but just a little bit!" in them. After eating several bites. It was awful. Travelling sucks when you have food allergies.

Buckwheat cereal, though - I adore it! I am totally so into it. I want to cook it into buckwheat polenta soon, too.

theresa said...

Hi Karina
Thankyou for sharing your experiences. Allergies can be so isolating and it can feel that you are the only person on the planet hassling restaurant staff or surviving on a bag of apples and bananas while on a trip away from home. It doesn't change anything but it feels better to know others have the same difficulties, I sooo know where you are coming from, been there done that!
Thanks, keep up the fabulous blog.
p.s I have MS (with linked allergies to dairy, grains, legumes, sugar, egg, etc) and shared a version of your peanut butter nut cake with my recipe group; for those who cannot eat grains at all it made their day. :o)

Slacker Mom (aka Mrs. GF) said...

Glad to see you're back. Ick about all that food crap!!!

You know, that 'high maintenance' thing, was, and is still the hardest part for me, and one of my good friends really understood that. And, she told me since that is against my nature, I find it harder to do, at restaurants, friend' houses, etc...

It feels horrible when it goes against your grain.

By the way, I think it stinks that you have to deal with more, when I find gluten free enough to deal with.

Hope you are feeling better soon, and keep on being brave.


(I am Italian after all, I have to give you a hug!! even if it's virtual!)

CeliacChick said...

Missed you!

So, how are you feeling on the new diet anyways? I hope you at least can feel a difference - it makes up for all of the hassle.

*GF By The Bay- buckwheat polenta?!!!!! Wow. How interesting! you have to let me know how that goes.

OH and to both of you- the buckwheat I ate in Russia was different tasting...I couldn't get enough of it's just so-so to me. Do you guys know what the difference is? Just curious.

Abbi said...

ghee is butter, how does that work?

Your trip sounded rough. I have been on trips where I couldn't eat anything and it was awful.

ChupieandJ'smama said...

I'm sorry about your experience!! It is so frustrating when people don't listen or care about your needs. And it's not like this is that difficult. I'm glad you found the fries. It's saved my son many times.
And we do the "kitchen" whenever we travel. There is just no way around it when you have multiple food allergies. Hopefully next time will be better for you!!
The recipe looks awesome (as usual) and I can't wait to try it.

Shauna said...

i'm so sorry to hear that you had this experience, Karina. I had a similar experience in the Atlanta airport, coming home from Italy, and I just had to avoid gluten.

We're all working for awareness, so that one day everyone will be as understanding as that one dear waiter was with you.

Gluti Girl said...

I cried for you. It's just so hard sometimes. But gee, when find a place where someone really goes out of their way to make you a safe meal, and you know they were happy to do it, that's just the best.

Esther said...

Sorry to here about your traveling experience. Thanks for all your hard work in the kitchen. My hubby just went gluten free and has 40 plus food sensitivities, it makes life interesting at times that is for sure. I just posted a apple crisp recipe that you could posssible modify to your diet. Keep the recipes coming:0)

Ilva said...

The good will of people can be really heavy to succumb. I wish more people did what that waiter did, starting with a tabula rasa! a big hug

Karina said...

Garrett- Why, thanks. Simple is good these days. ;)

Katie- Wow- I can only imagine how crazy it feels for your family. Big tips for compassionate waiters are a must. ;) And thank you! Right back atcha!

Hi Cindy! It was a fab trip overall- I just lost a couple of pounds! ;) Good luck with your own adventure- avoiding the pizza and beer will be a challenge.

Hi Mary Frances- It was the BEST!

Oh, BytheBay- Yikes. Just a little flour? Sigh. And yeah- I'm getting way into buckwheat lately since I cannot do brown rice. I even make savory dishes with it- like grits- or polenta. We should do a buckwheat polenta night and all post our recipes. ;)

Thank you, Theresa! You have your own set of challenges- big hug. It is amazing how diet interacts with autoimmune disease and allergies, etc... I wish the medical community better understood it.

SM- I'll always take a hug, Bubela. (Firm embrace!) And yeah- for an INFP, this whole assertiveness issue is hard. I H-A-T-E having to call attention to myself. And when their eyes glaze over? And you can hear them thinking, Whatever... I want to run. Screaming. Far away. xoxo

Hey Miss Kelly! I missed you, too! I *am* feeling much better with all the new restrictions- but I was surprised at how sick I got from such tiny exposures- to soy, egg and lemon. After 4 months without- I almost think my symptoms/sensitivities were worse!

Hi Abbi- Ghee (when made properly) is considered safe for a GFCF diet; it is lactose and casein free, being 98% fat and 2% water. It's not exactly healthy- being pure saturated fat- but it can add a butter taste to baked goods etc., if used sparingly, like flavoring.

Hi C&J's Mama! Yes- French fries (from dedicated fryers) can be a true life saver. And after this one "let's wing it" trip? I'll never travel without access to a kitchen again. Too stressful.

Hi Shauna! Really? You, too? Ugh. It's so hard- and especially when traveling and you are uber-famished and there's nothing to eat! Hope you loved Italy as much as we did (we honeymooned there twelve years ago!). ;)

Thanks, Gluti Girl- It was fabulous! He made my week. I hope to revisit and find him again.

Hi Esther! Thank you! Fruit crisps are my mainstay. I love them. ;)

Ilva! So nice to see you! Thanks for the hug- right back atcha! ;)


jill and wes said...

So sorry to hear about your difficult experience.:( I was worried about you eating out. It is really hard. I mean gluten is one thing but when you throw in so many other things it is nearly impossible. I am starting to go through this more and more myself. As I am finding more and more things that bother me- some nuts, soy dairy. I have a feeling there are more. I want to get an allergy test but I also don't because it's so hard already!

I love your recipe because I am trying to experiment with more different grains. I'll have to leave out the maple syrup but I think I can find substitutions. I myself feel the need to get back to basics- pure grains, fresh vegetables, simple and yummy, just like this looks!

Carrie said...

Oh karina... I am so sorry! And I so understand. My husband and I will be going on an anniversary trip this weekend and as much as I'm looking forward to it... i sort of dread the food part. Thankfully where we are staying has a microwave and fridge, so I can concoct whatever I please to take with us! That is a good thing!!

If I'm not high maintenance (and of course i'm not!) you're not either!!

well wishes to you my friend!

GFCF Mommy said...

I am so sorry about eating out on your trip. Traveling can be so hard, and you are right, making sure you have a kitchen does ease things a bit, but sometimes you do want to just eat out like everyone else. I would have wanted to cry too!

But your buckwheat cereal and apples do look truly comforting. Also, I wrote on your son's blog, but I also made a pb version of your sunbutter cookies for the Prince and he adored them! Me too, to me they tasted like childhood. Very comforting. Thank you for that recipe.

I'm sure you are glad to be home.


mary said...

Sooooo... insane that is terrible and frustrating !!

the fanny said...

Sorry to hear you had such a rough time. That's the one thing I haven't been able to wrap my head around - traveling gluten-free. I tend to always bring gf cereal and dried nuts and fruits and live on those for the duration. Because it's safe. But oh, how it gets old.

Chris said...

Dear Goddess --
It is so hard to go out to eat with multiple sensitivities/allergies. I decided to wing it a couple of weeks ago when my husband and I decided to take a quick weekend away to Wisconsin. Let's just say it's nearly impossible to be gluten-free in Wisconsin, and if you are allergic to garlic, onions, dairy, egg -- you get the picture. I swore never again to travel without an "emergency kit" - bars I could eat, dried fruit I could eat, cereal I could eat, etc. I think actually did cry at least once - when I was faint from hunger and my blood sugar was plummeting. Restaurants just don't get it yet, and many servers just don't care. I "feel your pain" as Clinton said, Goddess!

Karina said...

Hey Jill! Thanks- I thought of you, out there. And you're right- it's really hard. I can usually depend upon Real Food Daily- but checking their menu for the month (on-line) I saw almost nothing I could eat- if it didn't feature brown rice, or tofu it had ginger or lemon or turmeric or zucchini or...well, you get the idea.

And when I investigated Outback Steakhouse and PF Changs- their gluten-free dishes all had either chicken, eggs, or soy, dairy, ginger or lemon. Outback even rubs their baked potatoes with soy (margarine). Ugh.

Hi Carrie! Happy Anniversary! Enjoy every minute and take along some safe snacks. A microwave and fridge can make all the difference. :)

Hey Katherine- Yes, so true! I just simply wanted to relax and join in the conversation- not focus on the menu and the wait staff. So frustrating.

Glad you liked the nut butter cookies! Yay.

Hi Mary! Crazy. Next time- I cook. ;)

Hey The Fanny- Snacking gets old surprisingly fast. True.

One night I asked the bar/restaurant at our hotel if they could make me a simple baked potato- I was thinking, every kitchen has potatoes, right? It was late and I was so hungry. The server snatched the menu from my hand and snapped, We don't *do* baked potatoes!


I was like- WTF? ;)


Freckled Face Mama said...

I had pumpkin pancakes this morning, courtesy of gluten-free mommmy, and tomorrow will be your buckwheat and apples. My mother-in-law brought us apples this weekend from a local orchard and my daughter has been sneaking them out of the bag. Now I will have to sneak one to eat with breakfast. Your trip sounded interesting at best and I second what Sahuna said, "We're all working for awareness, so that one day everyone will be as understanding as that one dear waiter was with you." I can't wait until the day that we can go ANYWHERE in this country and have understanding and accommodation. Overall, I hope your husband made progress towards his next project and I hope that you two were able to enjoy being together on a trip. Glad you are back!!!

~M said...


I hear you. Last night, my fiance and I attended a farewell party for one of his colleagues. My fiance suggested a local sushi restaurant where I can eat safely and where the wait staff understand the drill. He gets it. We placed our sushi order on a separate sheet, asked for it to be on its own tray, and no sauce. The waitress, who we've had before, smiled and said sure, no problem. One of the other co-workers then made some comment to the effect that we must come here often. We don't, we said. His asinine response? The waitress probably remembers you because you make it complicated. Grr. At least I had the temerity (chutzpah?) to respond that getting sauce-free food is less complicated than a visit to MGH.

On a happier note, I would love to see more buckwheat and "alternative flour" concoctions. If possible, please post the brand/specific product names - they are really helpful.

As always, take care!

Sheltie Girl said...

Karina - I'm sorry about all your travel woes.

Why don't you try making up your own allergy/celiac cards that not only have the list of thing you can't eat, but offer suggestions on things you CAN eat. With your artistic talent the cards will be memorable and hard for the service staff to ignore.

Take Care,

Sheltie Girl @ Gluten A Go Go

Freckled Face Mama said...

Writing in again because I did make it this morning I had to give you some feedback. When I ate it the two words that came to mind were "fall" and "home". Do tastes ever remind of seasons and events? It seems in some way that the palate can invoke certain memories, be it good or not so good. Well, this simply brought ever good memory of fall and home right onto my tongue. Thank you.

Figur8 said...

Wow - great site for recipes! Thanks for sharing! I love to bake too, but I confess I spend more time looking at pictures than cooking these days...

Hope to be inspired to do more cooking soon. Thanks!

Karina said...

Hey Freckled Face Mama! I hear ya. That'd be a good day. :) And thanks for coming back to report on the buckwheat and maple-cinnamon apples. The flavors do evoke cozy homey comfort, don't they?

Hi ~M! Ah. Complicated, eh? Well, yeah. If ya need simple, we're not your girl. ;)

Hi Sheltie Girl! LOL- not a bad idea. Now the challenge would be: how to fit all the blah-blah-blah on a card!

Welcome Figur8! Glad you found us.


Anonymous said...

I would like to hear about this buckwheat polenta and also if you use this buckwheat in baked goods or other recipes. I was just given a box because I am newly gluten-free but I don't know what to do with it. I like your blog!

AllergictoAll said...

hi karina, wondering if you could tell me the brand, where you buy buckwheat cereal, as i haven't been able to find it before, so i think i may try online. thanks so much!

Anonymous said...

Hey Karina,

Just discovered your blog site, and REALLY like it - thanks...

I can't find anything about it on the Net, but I heard on CBC radio that maple syrup can have some undeclared dairy product in it. A little milk is usually added to the top of the maple syrup while it is being processed, to prevent it frothing. When I took maple syrup out of my (limited) diet, the neurological problems that I'd been having finally disappeared. And I think that was (finally) the last remnant of dairy product remaining in my diet... :)

So, I don't know how sensitive you are to dairy, but if you're still getting symptoms of dairy consumption, you might want to hold off on the maple syrup...

All the best,

Karina Allrich said...

Cathy- Wow- thank you. I knew that wine is often clarified with casein or egg protein (I need to avoid both) but I never suspected maple syrup. You are right- it is sometimes used. I will need to find a truly vegan brand of maple syrup.

Now I'm wondering about agave? I was experiencing some symptoms with agave.

If anyone knows of a vegan maple syrup or agave, please comment- thanks!


~M said...

I just "discovered" Bob Red Mill's buckwheat hot cereal cereal. I like how it is sort of pinkish and homey and how it feels whole grain but is not really a grain (right? since it's related to rhubarb).

But I can't get it to be as smooth/liquidy as your's...please share your secret. Is it a different brand or do you stir it continuously instead of lowering the heat, covering, and letting it absorb.

I serve mine with stewed dried fruit compote that I make with OJ, cinnamon, and whatever dried fruit I have on hand (usually apricots and prunes). YUM! Thanks!

Karina Allrich said...

Michelle- The buckwheat cereal I use is by Pocono- Cream of Buckwheat Hot Cereal. Very smooth. I was thinking of making a kind of polenta with it someday soon.


Rebecca said...

Hi Karina,

Can I use plain buckwheat in this recipe? If not, can I turn my buckwheat into buckwheat cereal?

Thank you. This looks delicious :)


Karina Allrich said...

Rebecca, Regular buckwheat- aka kasha- might be rather dense and heavy served like this.

You'd need to grind the dry groats a bit first to make them into a polenta size grain suitable for cooking as hot cereal.

Do you have a Vita-Mix or other grinder to do this?

Good luck!


~M said...

Hey Karina,

I was wondering whether you had tried Bob's Red Mill teff grain as a hot cereal. I've cooked it twice (just water and celtic sea salt) and served with maple syrup (grade b) and a splash of coconut milk. It's SO delicious (think cream of wheat with slight chocolate undertones) and smooth. Plus, it's full of iron and lots of other nutritious tidbits! Since it sort of gels as it cools, I'm thinking it would make a wonderful polenta. Because I couldn't find the teff grain in stores, I bought one package with my iherb order; now, I'll order in bulk from amazon.

By the way, lovely post on Simply Recipes today! :)

Karina Allrich said...

Hi ~M-- I'd love to try teff grains as cereal... and more. Maybe after we get settled in LA. Thanks for the tip. And for stopping by. xox

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