Ok, in most people's minds, there is hot cereal, like oatmeal, and cold cereal, like corn flakes. Now, let me be the first to say I am not a big oatmeal fan. I don't like the mushiness, the blandness; it just doesn't do it for me. But then I discovered muesli. And it's like, the best of both worlds. You get the variety of textures and flavors that make cold cereal interesting, and all the health benefits (fiber, protein, whole grains) of hot cereal. And it's completely customizable!
What is this miracle cereal, you ask? Muesli is a Swiss invention. It usually consists of a variety of different rolled whole grain flakes, dried fruits, nuts, and seeds. You then take this dry mixture and soak it in milk (or dairy free milk, or kefir) for 20 minutes to overnight. This process softens the grains, making them more digestible. It's an alternative to cooking the grains.
You can buy ready-made muesli at the store, or you can make your own grain mixture. For the sake of convenience, a lot of people choose to buy a muesli mix and then add their own milk and fruit. A number of different brands make a dry muesli mixture, including Bob's Red Mill and Nature Valley. But for me, the queen of muesli is Familia.
I've included the nutrition label so you can see the amazing 4 grams of fiber and 6 grams of protein in a mere half cup! I choose the sugar free kind, but if you're not watching your sugar intake, you can also get the regular kind, which has added cane sugar.
The Familia museli ingredients are: oat flakes, wheat flakes,fruit flakes (organic whole grain flour, date pulp, apples, banana puree), raisins, millet flakes, hazelnuts, wheat germ, and almonds.
So how do we make this stuff? Here's how I do it. For this batch, I used 2 cups of muesli mix. I put this into a large Tupperware. I cut up some fruit:
I added 2 cups of almond coconut milk and 1 cup of water. I also added 2 packets of stevia, to make it a bit sweeter. If you have another sweetener you like, you can use that! It's really good with maple syrup.
When you're done, the mixture looks like this:
It does look a little watery, but don't panic! The oats soak up a lot of liquid, and it gets thicker. This particular brand has the fruit pulp added, which also thickens things up. At the minimum, you want to soak this mixture 20-30 minutes. But I often make a batch like this and refrigerate it overnight.
The awesome thing about this recipe is that muesli gets better as it sits! So, I often make a batch of it in a Tupperware, and eat it for breakfast several days in a row! It also makes a tasty lunch!
You can add any fruits you want, but do remember not to add any citrus fruits or pineapple, as the acid in the fruit will curdle your milk. You can obviously customize this to add any nuts, any sweetener, and any type of milk you choose. It's great!
Yum! I added extra raisins at the end because I like them! I suggest adding raisins right before serving, because they can get a little soggy in the liquid otherwise.
Now, if you're afraid of cold oatmeal, don't be! For most people, it's love at first bite. The different fruit flavors, the chewy oats, and crunchy nuts -- it's great! Try it soon! And let me know how it goes.
I'm a school librarian, cookbook author, and longtime fan of food and literature. Welcome to my blog!