I like to think of myself as a breakfast cereal aficionado. Sure, I’ve had my youthful indiscretions with Honeycomb and Froot Loops, I’ve trudged through the lean times with generic Cheerios, and I’ve thrown money at tasty but fleeting boxes of Honey Bunches of Oats and Blueberry Morning. My one complaint has always been this: not filling enough. If it takes three bowls of cereal and several cups of milk to be full, only to suffer the sharp pangs of hunger and sugar withdrawal several hours later, a food product has failed to do what it’s supposed to do: sustain and delight. The other drawback was that I got to thinking of myself as a bovine, ingesting gallons of grain slurry and staring dead-eyed at the side of the barn while my belly rumbled. NO MORE!
Maybe it coincided with my switch to homemade breads. Maybe it’s my stingy Scottish blood. Maybe I’d finally grown up and realized that buying two bags of generic sugar cereal a week was making me feel foolish at the checkout line. Whatever the cause, I decided to make my own cereal. Honestly, how hard could it be? [sigh] The easiest thing was to start with granola, but it was pretty sweet and fattening and required real preparation each week, adding to my kitchen time. I transitioned to museli and at last found my true breakfast love, a brindl-wearing Swiss maiden with golden braids and…what was I talking about? Museli, or if you want to be all European about it, müsêlíeux. Rolled grains, dried fruit, nuts. This is the stuff that hikers eat before hoisting their rucksacks on their strong backs, tightening the suspenders on their alpen-shorts, and striding through flowered meadows nestled among craggy snow-capped peaks while the women with brindls and braids milk cows…sorry, distracted again. Museli is serious breakfast fuel, it’s the human equivalent of Lembas bread, the Elven waybread that can, with a single bite, fill the stomach of a grown man.
Here’s how you do it:
- One half cardboard carton of rolled oats. Save the other half for the next batch.
- One handful of raisins, craisins, rolled dates, or dried gojii berries if you’re a hippie.
- Another handful of dried fruit because you are fabulous and deserve it.
- A handful of crushed nuts. Pecans, walnuts, even cashews. Macademia nuts? Look at you, Mr. Fancy Man!
- Two tablespoons of brown sugar. (Brown works better than white because it’s sticky and adheres to the dry grains.)
- One teaspoon of vanilla extract, or two if you’re feeling racy.
- One teaspoon of ground cinnamon.
- Or change around all the ingredients and customize but remember the holy trinity of museli: grains, fruit, nuts.
Now comes the fun part. Put the lid back on the carton and shake it like it’s a giant maraca and you’re in Gloria Estefan’s backup band. Keep your hand on the lid or you’re going to spend the next ten minutes cursing and sweeping. Now open and inhale the rich goodness of the world’s best damn breakfast cereal. You can either eat it straightaway like I do, or soak it in yogurt or milk overnight. You made it yourself and it’s cheaper, healthier, and more delicious than the sugary cardboard nuggets you’ve been suffering through. Now get your boots on and head for the alps! Yodel-ay-hee-hoo!