Basic Muesli

I’ve been eating muesli for breakfast for the last several weeks – it’s a great hot-weather alternative to oatmeal, and easier for me to prep in the morning than a smoothie bowl (which I do very much enjoy). But I got tired of the recipe I had been using from Joy the Baker, as the crystallized ginger was just making it way too sweet, and the prep time to chop the dried fruit and ginger was getting to be a drag given that I’m making this about every other week.

Then I came across this recipe from Cookie and Kate, which got me thinking. I didn’t want to add chocolate or deal with the maple syrup and oil, but I realized that at the core, these recipes were just variations using a very similar core proportion of oats, nuts, and dried fruit.

So, I pared down to a very basic, super fast and easy to prepare formula. This has a minimum of chopping and is ready before the oven has preheated.

4 cups rolled oats
3 cups other stuff
salt (between 1/2 and 1 tsp)
a few shakes of ground cinnamon

All that gets dumped in a big bowl, mixed well, and spread on two half sheet pans. It goes into a 350 oven for 20 minutes, stirring and/or rearranging the pans halfway through. I have an airtight canister that fits about 8-9 cups, so when that gets low, I make a new batch.

As far as the “other stuff” goes, lately I’ve been using various combinations of chopped nuts and coconut flakes, based on what I have. These recipes both call for unsweetened, large-flake coconut, which I can never find, so I just use the regular stuff. Slivered almonds are particularly great because there’s no chopping involved, so those are always included. Most recently I did 1 cup each slivered almonds, chopped walnuts, and coconut flakes. Dried fruit would also be good, too – I want to try this with almonds, pecans, and dried cherries – but right now I don’t miss it.

To serve, I measure 1 cup into a bowl, and add enough almond milk to cover. I let it sit for around 30 minutes/however long I’m in the shower, and then top with a sliced banana and a little more milk. (Others like to use yogurt and leave it in the fridge overnight.) I think my way is particularly excellent with the addition of ripe strawberries or blueberries. I don’t find that I need it, but for some sweetness, you could add a little maple syrup, honey, or jam.


Trip Diary: San Francisco

At the end of June, I was in San Francisco for the ALA Annual conference. Most of the time I look forward to, or at least don’t mind, traveling for work. But this time, I wasn’t into it. It was a busier than usual conference for me – we had official events at the end of every day. I really didn’t get to see much of San Francisco aside from the immediate area around the Moscone Center. Rather than do a full writeup in my usual style, I think I’ll just hit the high points.

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Recent Recipes: Hatchery Edition

Not so recent at this point, but oh well.

Olivelle Pasta Rocks – I admit to some extreme skepticism when I got these, as I am in the “why bother?” camp when it comes to salting pasta water. But I made some pasta primavera and put them to use, and was pleasantly surprised by how tasty it was. The first batch was a little too salty, but the second one was pretty much perfect. I don’t know that I would buy these when they run out (they’d be great for a gift basket though), but I will certainly be salting my pasta water more often!

Glossop’s No. 4 Hibiscus Ginger Syrup – We made the recommended recipe, an Outpost Drive. It was tasty, but frankly I really couldn’t pick up on the flavors of the syrup – the lime and tequila were too dominant. We still have some of this left, which might be an excuse to buy some prosecco or cava.

Not Ketchup Cherry Chipotle Dipping Sauce – Following the lead of the suggested recipe, I used this as the marinade for a skirt steak. The steak came out pretty well, but the sugars in the marinade burned pretty quickly in the pan – in retrospect, I should have either wiped out the skillet more frequently, or maybe done two batches in two pans.


Recent Recipes

Champagne Vinaigrette – Awesome recipe, highly recommend. I’ve made this at least twice this summer, it’s my preferred salad dressing right now. The only change I make is to leave out the hot sauce – I see no reason to add that. If you follow the instructions, this will stay pretty well emulsified. The olive oil will set up in the fridge, though, so you’ll want to pull it out a few minutes before you want to dress your salad.

Shrimp & Broccoli Stir Fry – A fast and very tasty recipe that Handsome made for us last week. We recommend removing the shrimp from the pan before you add the broccoli, and then combining it all right before serving. It’s a bit easier to make sure the shrimp doesn’t get overcooked, and also helps reduce crowding in the pan when you’re cooking the broccoli.

And a couple of older ones:

Red Thai Tofu from Appetite for Reduction – Tasty! Browning the tofu took longer than she indicated, but I think that’s more to do with the type of stove I’m working with than anything else. I added a pound of green beans to the stir fry, and made a little bit of rice to go with it,. This gave me four good lunch portions – without those additions, I think you’re looking at more like two servings. This will definitely be going in the regular lunch rotation – it was easy to put together, and also something I can easily cook at the same time I’m making something else, which is always a good thing.

Simple Turkey Bolognese – Handsome wound up making this and it was pretty tasty! We used my canned crushed tomatoes and the only changes we’d make in the future would be to cook the sauce down more, especially when using my crushed tomatoes, which are more watery than commercial versions, and perhaps add more crushed tomatoes to begin with, as I like a lot of sauce. (Yes, I know bolognese is not supposed to be saucey.) If I try to make more sauce, though, I’d definitely increase at least the wine and balsamic (which we forgot, oops), as the flavor was excellent. We used the Barefoot Cabernet Sauvignon, which I think was well suited to this recipe. This came together pretty quickly and is a great weeknight meal. I think it would also work well as a this-is-not-really-a-sloppy-joe filling.