I've just come out of the oven-warmed kitchen and am feeling all content and domesticated this morning. I've a huuuuuuge work load piled on my shoulders right now (not literally, but it feels that way), so in times of rising stress I find myself slinking into the kitchen and turning the oven on. Often my need to be in the kitchen results in something sweet and indulgent, but today I made something healthy and delicious to nourish my family, and I am shining my halo. Go me!
Shall we talk a little about that delicious breakfasty thing called muesli? For a start off, I've only just learnt how to spell it correctly, and I'm a little ashamed to admit that I've been writing museli (instead of muesli) for all of my adult life until today. I've just had an enlightening little pootle through the interweb to find out more about this stuff, and to see how my recipe compares with others - I discovered all sorts! Don't you just love the internet for providing all this incredible knowledge?! I've found out that the word müesli is a Swiss-German word for “mix”, gosh, I really love to have these little snippets of information tucked up in my brain.
In it's basic form, muesli is a "minimally-processed mix of whole grains, nuts, seeds, dried fruits, and spices". It's different to granola in that no sweeteners or oils are added, and the oats are left in their natural state and not baked. I've been making and eating a simple breakfast muesli for more than twenty years, and I really do think it's a fabulous first-meal-of-the-day. I thought I'd share my recipe with you (it's very simple), and tell you that 4 out of 5 of us eat this every morning here in the Attic household. Little B doesn't much like the nuts so he eats ReadyBrek instead (a quick-cook, smooth porridge) with added fruits, but the rest of us are definitely muesli-lovers.
First up, you need 250g of nuts. I buy a bag of mixed nuts from the supermarket which contains hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds and brazils. These need to be chopped up smallish, which is a bit of a chew to do it by hand with a knife, but I'm OK with putting in the time and effort for this. I leave the hazelnuts whole, break up the walnuts, chop the almonds in half and the brazils into 3 or four small pieces.
The next ingredient is 150g of seeds. Like the nuts, I buy a bag of mixed seeds from the supermarket which contains pumpkin, sunflower, sesame and golden linseeds.
Spread the chopped nuts and seeds in a single layer onto a large baking sheet or oven tray, and bake in a moderate oven (180C / gas 4) for 15-20 mins until they turn lightly golden. You'll be able to smell them when they are ready - keep an eye on them and make sure they don't over bake (blackened nuts are a no-no). Leave them on the tray to cool completely.
Now for the fruit element - I keep it simple and use 150g of sultanas as I tend to prefer piling up my breakfast bowl with fresh fruits. In the past I've experimented with all sorts of different dried fruits - dried apricots and cranberries work well, but you can use whatever takes your fancy.
And last but not least, you need 500g of rolled oats. Lots of muesli recipes include all sorts of additional flaked grains (barley, wheat, rye, spelt etc), and I have dabbled with adding some of these in the past. But somehow I like the simplicity of just using oats - they are easy to find in the supermarket and very inexpensive, which is good, cos nuts aren't cheap are they?
Mix all your ingredients together - oats, sultanas, roasted nuts and seeds - and find something airtight to keep them in. I use a 1.9L Lock&Lock tub which is exactly the right size to hold the quantities given above. I love these containers, we have them in all shapes and sizes and they really are air and water tight - nothing gets in or out once the flaps are locked down.
And now we are ready to get it all together - I keep an 80ml measuring scoop in with my muesli, and one scoop gives around 50g (I've just checked this, I had no idea how much I was eating until now). It doesn't look all that much in the bowl, but by the time you've added the fresh ingredients it really does make a pretty substantial breakfast.
First add your wet ingredient - this can be milk (the Teen's preference), or yoghurt. I like to use a low fat vanilla or coconut yoghurt, but Little Lady prefers plain creamy Greek yoghurt on hers. You can sweeten with a drizzle of honey if you like (I don't, cos the yoghurt I use has enough of a sweet taste for me). Mix it all up so the oats are covered in the yoghurt/milk, then leave it to sit for a few minutes so that the oats soften a little.
Lastly, add your fresh fruit - I always slice half a banana, then add whatever fresh fruit I've got in the fridge. Usually we have red grapes, blueberries and strawberries, sometimes raspberries or blackberries when they are in season. Grated apple also works well. Just recently I've been adding in a spoonful of homemade apple and blackberry compote - oh, soooo good!
Each mouthful is just delicious - the creamy oats, crunchy roasted nuts and juicy fresh fruit combine into a yummy combination of flavours and textures. It makes me so happy to eat this bowl of good stuff every morning, and I love that my older kidlets are enjoying it too. Little Lady (who is 13) is a very recent convert - it does take children time to get to grips with the very chunky, chewy nature of this breakfast I guess.
There is a tonne of stuff written about the virtues of eating an oat based breakfast (I swap from muesli to porridge in the winter months, so I eat oats all year round), but honestly I mainly love muesli for its taste rather than any health reasons. Oh, and it does keep me feeling nicely full pretty much until lunch time, which is also a Good Thing.
I'd love to know what you eat for breakfast - d0 let me know?!
♥ Simple Nutty Museli ingredients ♥
500g rolled oats
150g dried fruit (sultanas, raisins, cranberries, apricots etc)
150g mixed seeds (eg pumpkin, sunflower, sesame, linseed)
250g mixed nuts (eg hazelnuts, almonds, walnuts, brazils)