Saturday, February 24, 2018

Cherry Almond Muesli

I am an early riser, a morning person, and a "I can get so much done when everyone in my house is still asleep" kind of person.  I don't love the beeping sound of my alarm that pulls me from a warm bed or the fact that I can see stars through our front window as I wonder downstairs blurry eyed, holding my toothbrush (with toothpaste on it) and my running shoes.  But, there is something in me (stronger than the alarm clock) that pulls me from my bed.  I love/crave what I'm able to accomplish early in the morning.  I love knowing that on Tuesdays my kiddies will make their way downstairs at 7 am and the only sign that I made cookies that morning will be the brown craft boxes sitting on the counter and the lingering smell of peanut butter cookies.  I love knowing that when we sit down for scriptures before school that my exercising is done for the day (the less time that I have to think about doing it, the better!).  I love being able to fix breakfast for my kids and I love packing their lunches.  Just kidding!  I really, really, don't like packing lunches, but I keep on doing it day after day.  Another reason I love getting up is to eat breakfast.  Sometimes when I'm lying in bed at night, I think about what I want to eat for breakfast the next morning.  I know, I'm kind of weird, but eating makes me happy and thinking about what I'm going to eat makes me happy too.  This Cherry Almond Breakfast Cereal (Muesli) from A Couple Cooks new cookbook Pretty Simple Cooking has been my go to breakfast since their cookbook showed up on my doorstep.  I get excited thinking about eating it!  I love that it's just crunchy enough, isn't overly sweet, and when I eat it with milk, it's like the best cereal ever!  I keep a bag of it in the freezer so when I eat it with milk, it's extra cold and I love it!  

Cherry Almond Muesli

4 cups rolled oats
1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1 cup whole almonds, roasted and salted
1 cup dried tart cherries
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup pepitas, roasted and salted
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Preheat oven to 350°F.

On a baking sheet, spread out the oats evenly, then place the coconut in an even layer over the top of the oats.  Bake 7 to 11 minutes, watching closely.  The coconut can go from golden brown to burnt in seconds (I'm speaking from experience).  Remove from oven and let cool slightly.

While the oats and coconut are toasting, chop the almonds and dried cherries.

In a small bowl, combine the maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, and kosher salt.  Heat for 20 seconds in the microwave until just warmed through.

In a large bowl, combine the toasted oats and coconut, almonds and cherries, pepitas, and the maple-vanilla spice mixture, and stir to thoroughly combine.  Pour the mixture back onto the baking sheet and spread into an even layer.

Ok here's something kind of funny.  As I was reading the recipe over while I typed this, I realized that once you spread the mixture into an even layer, you are supposed to allow the muesli to dry for 10 minutes on the baking sheet.  Well, I thought that you were supposed to allow the muesli to dry for 10 minutes back in the oven.  I just called my sister Stephanie to ask if she put the muesli back in the oven when she made it and no, she did not put it back in the oven, she obviously read the directions better than me.  Well, we both loved it, so either way (drying in the oven or on the counter), it's going to be awesome and you're going to want to eat it every day for breakfast.

Serve cold from the freezer with really cold milk.  Soooo good!

Recipe slightly adapted from Pretty Simple Cooking