Homemade Muesli

Anyone who knows me (or has been reading my blog) knows that, because of my GI issues, I’m obsessed about what ingredients go into my food. I tend to avoid processed and packaged foods because I must ensure nothing that will cause me abdominal pain/distress passes through my lips. I’m so glad I stumbled upon this museli in my recipe stash while looking for holiday cookie recipes. I don’t know why I hadn’t thought of making my own cereal sooner. I adapted this recipe from a one a high school friend shared with me many years ago. Her mom made it and I always thought it was delicious.

I love it because, in addition to being delectable, it’s easy to make and you get control the ratio of ingredients. Love walnuts? Add a cup instead of ¾ c. Not sold on raisins? Decrease the amount to 1/3 c . Add or change up the spices. Add coconut, mini chocolate chips, dried cranberries. I could go on and on. Think of this recipe as more like a guideline; it’s open to interpretation. The result will be a healthy, homemade cereal of all your favorite things.

I love almonds and walnuts; I tend to add a lot of them so I can get more of the healthy fat my body needs. I wanted to add coconut, but I didn’t this time because Mr. Surly doesn’t like coconut. But next time I’m going to make a batch with coconut. I haven’t decided whether I want to add it to the oats and toast it, or add it at the end with the dates and raisins.

This would be a fantastic, healthy addition to your holiday goodie boxes to balance out all the sugary treats. I promise the recipients will thank you and beg for the recipe.

Homemade Muesli
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6 c rolled oats (I always use Bob’s Red Mill Extra Thick Rolled Oats, they are divine)
2 c quick oats (I use McCann’s Irish Oatmeal, the quick cooking rolled oats)
¾ c sliced or chopped almonds
¾ c chopped walnuts
1 Tbl ground flaxseed meal
¼ c honey or agave (or combination of both)
1 tsp vanilla
½ tsp cinnamon
pinch freshly ground nutmeg
¾ c raisins (I use golden)
¾ c chopped dates

Mix oats, almonds, walnuts and ground flaxseed in a bowl.

Whisk together honey, vanilla, and spices. Drizzle over oats and nuts and mix gently to combine. Spread on one (or more) baking sheets lined with parchment paper.

Place in 250 F oven, and toast for 20 minutes, stirring every five minutes. Remove from oven, add dates and raisins.

Allow to cool completely before storing in an air tight container.

Enjoy by adding milk and eating it as cereal, sprinkle it on top of yogurt, or use it as a topping for a fruit crumble, whatever your tastebuds desire.

Homemade Granola Bars

I’ve had this recipe bookmarked for awhile. I really like the idea of making my own granola bars. I’ve been on a muesli kick for awhile now, and decided it was time to make some granola. I usually keep granola bars in my purse when I have to go to the hospital for doctor appointments and tests, since I’m usually sitting around forever, waiting. I’m in love with the white chocolate macadamia Luna bars. These homemade bars are a much healthier option. I suppose I could have added some melted chocolate to these, but they are so good on their own. They remind me of the Two Moms in the Raw bars they sell at Starbucks and Nordstrom’s snack bar, I love the gojiberry one. Have you ever had one of these bars? They are delicious, and I’m so glad my granola bars taste very similar to them.

I’m glad to have another product that I can now make myself so I don’t have to buy a prepacked version. Can you tell I’m obsessed about controlling what goes in my food? When you have abdominal issues, this becomes a must.

Another plus is how easy these are to make. I haven’t had much energy the past couple weeks, but these came together rather quickly. These bars were plenty sweet for me, since I don’t eat much sugar, but if you like things sweet I’d stir in more (up to 1/4 c brown sugar). I sprinkled brown sugar on top to give the tops of the bars a bit of a sweet, sugar crunch.

Granola Bars
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Yield: about 16 bars

2 c rolled oats
½ c chopped almonds
½ c chopped walnuts
½ c uncooked quinoa
½ c shredded coconut (I used ¼ c dried coconut)
2 Tbl ground flaxseed meal
2/3 cup honey, agave or combo of both
1 ½ tsp vanilla
2-3 Tbl flaxseed oil
pinch kosher salt
¼-½ tsp cinnamon
pinch freshly grated nutmeg
1 ½ c chopped dried fruit, or a mix of your favorite dried fruit (I chopped up dried apricots, and tossed in dried cranberries and pomegranate seeds)
~2 Tbl brown sugar

Preheat your oven to 350F.

Toss the oatmeal, nuts, quinoa, coconut, and flaxseed meal together on a 9 x 13” baking sheet or dish (I used a 9 x 13”cake pan). Bake 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until toasted and lightly browned.

Reduce oven to 300F.

While oats are toasting, combine honey, vanilla, flaxseed oil, salt and spices in the bottom of a large bowl. Whisk to combine. Pour in toasted oats and stir with a spatula to moisten. Stir in dried fruit.

Line your baking sheet or dish with parchment paper or grease with nonstick spray (I used the same cake pan and lined it with parchment paper; one less dish to dirty).

Pour the oat and fruit mixture into prepared baking dish and press down firmly to pack down the mixture as much as possible. Sprinkle brown sugar over the top.

Bake at 300F ~30 minutes until mixture is golden brown. Allow to cool a few hours before cutting into bars or squares. Store in airtight container at room temperature. Or freeze. I wrapped mine in cling wrap, popped them in a freezer bag and froze the bars so we could grab them as needed, they don’t take long to thaw.

Source: adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Pumpkin Bourbon French Toast

Another tasty treat inspired by Mr. Bobby Flay.

For Thanksgiving I wanted to have something more than just my boring oatmeal and Mr. Surly’s fruit smoothie for breakfast. I love french toast and found myself with ½ can of pumpkin that needed used. I decided to make some pumpkin flavored french toast. It turned out to be so delicious. I cooked up the whole loaf of bread, knowing that we wouldn’t eat it all at once. It was nice to have enough breakfast for 2 days. Just pop a couple slices in the microwave or oven the next morning for a no hassle, quick breakfast.

Pumpkin Bourbon French Toast
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serves 4-6

1 loaf brioche bread
½ can (~7.5 oz) pumpkin puree
2 c half-n-half (or milk, or combo of both)
4 eggs
1 Tbl sugar
2 Tbl bourbon
1 tsp vanilla (I used Trader Joe’s bourbon vanilla)
1 tsp cinnamon
pinch freshly grated nutmeg
½ tsp pumpkin pie spice

Slice the bread into thick slices and arrange in a 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Set aside.

Whisk together eggs, sugar, and pinch of salt in small bowl or 4 qt measuring cup. Add the rest of the ingredients and whisk until well combined. Pour over bread slices. Using tongs or your fingers turn each slice to coat well in the liquid. Let sit for 5 minutes.

Lightly coat a griddle or skillet over medium high heat with canola oil spray or a generous pat of butter (or both) and heat. Add bread slices and cook until browned on both sides, a few minutes per side.

Serve with maple syrup and a light dusting of powdered sugar, if desired.

source: inspired and adapted from How Sweet It Is who adapted it from Bobby Flay