Friday, May 25, 2012

Scandinavian Muesli

Muesli (mew-slee) is a Swiss-German breakfast cereal.  Although I grew up in a very Scandinavian part of the country and had heard of muesli, I had never actually tried it until we were at a buffet breakfast in St. Petersburg, Russia and there it was.  Maybe that's because we were close to Scandinavia?  Anyway, the Lawyer likes it so I decided to give it a try. I thought muesli would either be like oatmeal since it has rolled oats, or like granola since it has nuts and fruits.  Actually it's like a cross between the two that's served cold with yogurt or milk. 

At this particular restaurant the muesli was mixed into yogurt to soften overnight, which is traditional.  It reminded me of a summer version of oatmeal because the texture was similar but it was cool and creamy rather than hot. (It would be really good on a warm summer morning.)

mixed with yogurt

 I really like it, and especially like the fact that you can mix it up the night before.  I also like that it's very healthy with whole grains, the cholesterol-fighting properties of oats, calcium-rich dairy, probiotics (good bacteria) in the yogurt, and some protein. 

Speaking of Russia, if you ever have the opportunity to go I highly recommend it.  St. Petersburg is very beautiful and looks like a European city, while Moscow has those great funky buildings that look like Johnny Depp and Tim Burton might have designed them for an Alice in Wonderland movie.

Back to Muesli - I like this particular recipe because the grains, almonds and coconut are toasted to give them a little additional crispy texture and nutty flavor, and  I also like the touch of sweetness and cinnamon.  Even when mixed into yogurt the night before, the muesli will retain some crunchiness due to the nuts. You can easily double the recipe - although it states that it will keep in the refrigerator for up to two weeks, you could freeze some for later. It's a really easy and healthy way to start your day.

* * click here for a printable recipe * *

Scandinavian Muesli
8 servings, about ½ cup each

Note: you can substitute any combination of chopped dried fruit for the raisins and can add fresh fruit just before serving. Walnuts can be substituted for almonds. You can also eat the muesli with yogurt or milk mixed in right before serving rather than the night before. The texture will be different – try it both ways and see which you prefer.

2 cups old-fashioned or quick-cooking (not instant) rolled oats
2/3 cup rye flakes, wheat flakes, or whole grain nugget cereal
1/3 cup coarsely chopped almonds
2 tablespoons flaked coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
½ cup raisins
2 tablespoons honey
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350d. Cover a large baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray. Spread oats and rye flakes (or wheat flakes or nugget cereal) on the baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Stir in the almonds and bake for an additional 5 minutes, then stir in the coconut and bake for a final 5 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and turn it off.

Microwave the honey for 10 seconds, then stir in the vanilla and cinnamon. Drizzle over the muesli and stir very well to coat.  Return the muesli to the turned-off warm oven and let cool completely, about 2 hours.  Add the raisins and stir again. 

Cover and refrigerate for up to two weeks.

To serve: combine with low-fat yogurt or milk (twice as much yogurt or milk as muesli) and refrigerate, covered, overnight.

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