We grew up calling it muesli. Which is the accurate name for the raw oaty mix found in our breakfast bowl every morning, commonly found in health stores. The toasted, sweetened cereal that is more common on the supermarket shelf is indeed more accurately called, as they say in North America, granola.
“Muesli was created at the break of the 1900’s, in the German section of Switzerland by physician and nutritionist, Bircher-Benner… as a natural health food to help his patients during hospital rehabilitation.
The ingredients of muesli and granola are very similar with a variety of oats, grains, fruits and seeds. However, muesli is made with raw oats and is usually unsweetened or contains small amounts of sugar or dried milk solids. Granola is usually toasted with honey and oil giving it its sweet crispy flavor, but adding additional sugar and fat content compared to muesli…. 1 cup of muesli provides 289 calories, while 1 cup of granola provides an astounding 597 calories.” Source.
Jesse and I eat the same breakfast every morning, the same homemade, raw muesli from my childhood (after I moved off mini-wheats. UNfrosted miniwheat they were… no candy frosted mini-wheats exist in New Zealand!). My parents were onto something good with their muesli creation, and to this day we stand by it wholeheartedly.
But once in a while we crave crunchy, sweet cereal to enjoy with cold milk and yoghurt. And so Jesse, the primary granola maker, will mix up some oats, nuts and honey, a spice or two, and some dried fruit. Unfortunately, being sweetened and toasted in oil, only a scant 1/4 cup will equal the calories of our usual untoasted, unsweetend oats… and a quarter cup of cereal is not a breakfast in our books! So for us, it’s gouter; a few tablespoons, layered with yoghurt and fruit makes for a great dessert parfait, or a small bowl with milk for a balanced mid-afternoon meal.
Date & Cinnamon Granola
Yields 9 cups, stores for a month or so
This recipe can be adapted to your liking or, as is often the case, to use up whatever nuts and dried fruits you have lurking (remember, nuts are natural, wholefoods so will expire!). Sub in whatever you have on hand, whatever spices you fancy, and get creative. Here are the recipe bones with the specifics that we chose for this lot in brackets.
3 cups old-fashioned oats (the large flakes, not rolled or quick cook)
3/4 cup sweetener (honey)
4 tablespoons oil or butter (olive oil)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon spices (cinnamon)
1 cup raw nuts or seeds (almonds and pecans, coarsely chopped)
1/2 cup toasted wheat germ (optional)
1 1/2 cups dried fruit (chopped dates and dried cranberries)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In large bowl, stir together honey, butter and vanilla. Add oats, nuts, chosen spices and wheat germ; stir to coat well.
Transfer to baking pan, spread out, and bake until dark golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes, stirring every so often. Cool in pans on wire racks. Transfer to large bowl and stir in dried fruit.
Store at room temperature in airtight container.
To make the parfaits, place 3 tablspoons of granola, 1/4 cup natural yoghurt (or cottage cheese) and diced fruit in a tall glass, alternating the layers as desired.
This recipe takes part in Skinny Parade, a celebration of low calorie desserts featured on While Chasing Kids – a wonderful homely blog, featuring food from Russia (and all over)! Check out some other delicious low calorie treats.