Monday, February 26, 2018

Meatless Monday--Cherry Pecan Breakfast Cereal (Muesli)

What do weekday breakfasts look like for y'all?  For most of us, breakfast is either an on-the-go situation or something you scarf down at your desk.  I'm definitely in the desk camp.  I usually eat while powering up my computer and checking my email.  It's probably not the greatest of habits, but it's how it works.

I absolutely am a breakfast eater--always have been.  I cannot imagine having enough fuel to power through my morning on coffee alone.  Nearly every morning, my desk breakfast is one of two things: yogurt with some kind of fresh fruit and granola or chopped nuts or overnight oats, which I'll usually warm up in the break room microwave.

I'll now be adding in a third option. 

cherry pecan breakfast cereal

This cherry pecan breakfast cereal (or muesli, as it would be called across much of western Europe) isn't a huge departure from my breakfast routine.  In fact, I'm sure I'll enjoy it over yogurt or heated up as an almost oatmeal while the mornings are still cold.  Let me tell you, though, the flavors are perfect.  It's very lightly sweetened, getting it's sugar from the cherries and just a touch of maple syrup.  In fact, the cookbook authors, the very lovely Sonja Overhiser and her husband Alex, of A Couple Cooks, even suggest an extra drizzle of maple syrup over your bowl.  The spices are thoughtful and present without masking the real flavors of the oats, coconut, pecans, and pepitas.  Each bite has such great texture, too.  You'll feel full and satisfied and ready to rule your morning, I promise.

On top of being absolutely scrumptious, it's easy and practical, too.  Making the muesli requires little more than some simple measuring, mixing, and toasting.  The finished product makes a good-sized batch and is stored in the freezer.  When it's time to enjoy a bowl (and when would it not be?), you can eat this almost directly from the freezer; it comes to room temperature in just a couple of minutes, helped along by the milk.  If cherries and pecans aren't your jam, use your favorite dried fruit and nut.  I actually swapped out the almonds in the original recipe for pecans.

Healthy, wholesome, simple, and versatile--what more could you want in your breakfast?

cherry pecan muesli

This healthy cherry pecan breakfast cereal (muesli) is a cinch to put together and keeps well in the freezer.  Make up a big batch on the weekend for easy breakfasts all week long!

Cherry Pecan Breakfast Cereal (Muesli)
slightly adapted from Pretty Simple Cooking

Ingredients:
4 c. rolled oats (gluten-free, if necessary or preferred)
1 c. unsweetened large coconut flakes
1 c. whole pecans, roasted
1 c. dried tart cherries
1/2 c. pepitas (pumpkin seeds), roasted
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. dried ground ginger
1/2 tsp. allspice
1/4 tsp. sea salt
2 TBSP pure maple syrup, plus more for drizzling
2 tsp. vanilla extract
your choice of milk or yogurt, for serving

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350° F.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

2.  Spread the oats evenly on the baking sheet, then sprinkle the coconut in an even layer on the top.  Bake 7-10 minutes, watching closely, until the coconut is golden brown.  Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.

3.  Meanwhile, roughly chop the pecans and cherries.  Put in a large bowl and add in pepitas, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, and sea salt.  When the oats and coconut are cool enough to touch, add into the bowl.  Toss to combine.

4.  Pour maple syrup and vanilla extract into a small bowl.  Stir to combine, microwaving up to 20 seconds, if needed, to loosen up the syrup.  Drizzle over oat mixture and gently mix to make sure syrup evenly coats the ingredients.

5.  Spread the museli back onto the baking sheet and bake 2 minutes more.  Remove and allow to cool and dry completely.  Stir to break up any clumps, then transfer to a sealable container.  Muesli keeps indefinitely in the freezer in a sealable bag with the air pressed out.  

6.  Serve with milk of your choice or yogurt and a drizzle of maple syrup, if desired.


yield: about 8 cups 

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