Monday, March 26, 2012

Morning Muesli

A few years ago I traveled to Switzerland, a magical place where everything sparkled.  Maybe it was the backdrop of the snow-covered peeks or the crisp clean air that had me invigorated.  I instantly felt I could live there.  I began scheming.  Switzerland can have that kind of effect on you.  I suddenly needed a bike and hiking boots and most likely a walking stick for good measure.  I'd change my name to Heidi and braid my hair.  I'd find a small home in the mountains somewhere, raise a goat or two and dance around singing "the hills are alive with the sound of music."  I'd learn to make cheese.  I'd ski during the day and gorge on truffles at night.  I can think of worse things.  I was glowing with possibility, day dreaming in a cloud of chocolate haze all week long.  

But as most good things often do, my plan and the trip were coming to a close.  The caffeine buzz settled and I remembered I knew nothing of goats other than the one I encountered at Busch Gardens when I was seven.  I was at a petting park with my family, feeding a goat from my hand when it decided to relieve itself on my open toe sandals.  There's a picture of me in a pink dress looking particularly horrified and humored all at once.  In other matters, I can't hold a tune and my voice will never, ever, sound as angelic as Fraulein Maria's.  It actually sounds worse when it reverberates off the shower walls.  I was a little glum about it, but returning to Boston seemed like the reasonable thing to do.  At the weeks end, I packed my bags and stuffed my carry on entirely full of chocolate.  I can't remember what the contents of the carry on bag were.  Whatever was in there, it had a one-way ticket.  I returned with nothing but chocolate. 

Let's talk more about the food for a moment.  There was chocolate, yes.  Glorious, glorious chocolate.  There was Raclette, and Rosti, and an endless supply of bread, butters, and jams.  Then there was muesli; the humble breakfast I couldn't get enough of.  During the trip, I parked a big bowl in front of me each morning.  When in Rome.  There were variations on it from place to place, but the general idea here is uncooked rolled oats, dried fruit, and nuts.  A Swiss physician developed it around 1900 as a means to heal his patients, encouraging fresh fruit, vegetables, and nuts over meat and white bread.  Certainly this man was ahead of his time.  So even if I couldn't bottle up that Swiss effervescence, I could bottle up muesli.  Or mason jar-it-up.  And that's exactly what I've been doing.  When I originally wrote this recipe, I made it fit for one jar, but found it was vanishing too quickly.  This recipe just about fills two jars.  So for any of you who happen to be enthusiastic muesli lovers like myself, it should last a little longer.  

You could buy muesli sure, but it's hard to find a brand without a good amount of sugar in it.  Besides, making it is always better and much cheaper.  It's dead easy and there's absolutely no cooking involved.  If you can measure, you can make muesli.  It's that simple.  There are many variations on muesli but this one is my favorite.  It's a combination of oats, wheat germ, coconut, raisins, hazelnuts, and almonds.  Toss these ingredients together and you'll have breakfast ready for a week or two.  Muesli can be eaten hot or cold.  Some people like to soak it overnight with milk or yogurt thinned with water.  Traditionally, it's eaten with juice instead of milk.  But me, I put a serving of muesli in a bowl, cover it with a good amount of almond milk, give it a stir, and let it sit for five minutes.  The oats will have absorbed a lot of the liquid, becoming softened, but not mushy.  The mushy quality is the very reason why I don't like the overnight process.  After the five-minute mark, I add a few additional nuts, raisins, or chopped fresh apple if I have one.  Berries in the summer work beautifully too.  Eating a bowl always brings me back to Zermatt, and for that, I'm grateful.

~Morning Muesli Recipe~

5 cups rolled oats
1 cup unsweetened dried coconut
1 cup wheat germ
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup almonds, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
2/3 cup raisins, unsulphured

In a large bowl, mix together rolled oats, coconut, wheat germ, and salt, evenly distributing.  Add in almonds and hazelnuts, mix.  Lastly, add in dried raisins.  Transfer to an air tight container or into two mason jars.  Serve with milk, almond milk, juice, or yogurt.   

Optional toppings:
blackberries or raspberries
chopped apple
drizzle of maple syrup or honey
sprinkle of brown sugar and cinnamon
handful of extra nuts, seeds, or dried fruit

Source: Wikipedia: Muesli 


Clair said...

Ohhh, I hear you on all this! I loved Switzerland, and I have a special place in my heart for all things German. I especially miss the grocery stores...and the muesli here just does NOT compare! I'll have to give this a shot.

Margarita said...

Darn! I just made granola yesterday... If I just waited one day, I wouldn't have had to deal with constantly opening the oven and stirring the oats and nuts to roast evenly. your muesli looks great! Switzerland and their chocolates.... Someday...

Thyme (Sarah) said...

Oh, you brought me straight back to our trip to Switzerland a few years ago. We toured through the Cailler chocolate factory in Gruyeres, ate raclette and gasped at the beauty of that country. So glad you also experienced the incredible beauty.

kyleen said...

Ahh Switzerland sounds so idyllic. I kind of want to live there now too. Maybe this muesli has something to do with it? It looks delicious. I'm more of a granola person, but after my supply of granola runs out, I'm going to give this a try.

Amrita said...

I've been trying, believe me, to make friends with muesli or even oats for that matter. All in vain, so far :-(
But I can assure you that my brother's going to love this when I pass on the link to him! Be ready for praises coming your way!

Epicurea said...

oh switzerland is fantastic and so is this homemade muesli! and if you ever get bored from the milk/ juice routine, you can also eat it with yogurt instead.

Abby said...

Hi! I've nominated you for a Versatile Blogger Award! I just love your blog :)

Nik said...

I love homemade muesli. I used to get a stash from a Swiss friend when she visited her home but now I think I will indulge in preparing this at home.