Wednesday, May 10, 2017

DIY Healthy & Filling Muesli/Granola/Cereal

Oh man this post was a long time coming. I love cereal, muesli and granola, but because I'm never fully satisfied with any store-bought options ("oh this would be perfect if there was just a touch of cinnamon, blah blah blah") I knew I would have to make my own eventually. Even "healthy" muesli brands I have checked out can be loaded with a bunch of extra and unnecessary sugar, even when they are already packed with dried fruit.

My last straw was recently, when friend #1 liked muesli so bland that it seemed like it was meant for serious old people with digestive issues (sorry!), and friend #2 liked it with a ton of ingredients, leading to a painfully sweet final product. I mixed both to find a happy medium Goldie Locks-style, and promised myself I would finally make my own exactly to my liking, friend #1 & 2 be damned! You can of course personalize the recipe to suit your own preferences, and if you don't have some of the below ingredients it's not a deal breaker--just get creative!
What you need:
-1/2 cup puffed quinoa
-1/2 cup puffed brown rice
-1 cup rolled or steel cut oats
-7 dates (medjool are my go-to choice, but I found a different type in the fridge hiding away and went with those, I would use less if using medjool)
-Handful of almonds or walnuts
-2 TBSP hemp seeds
-Handful of goji berries (I had those but you can use raisins or any other dried fruit)
-A few pinches of cinnamon
-Sprinkle of PB2
-1-2 TSP almond extract
-1-2 TSP vanilla extract
-Optional: pinch of sea salt

Just a note, I am OBSESSED with puffed grains since they are generally like healthier versions of rice crispies and make everything so much funner to eat. I tried puffing my own quinoa recently and while they did "pop," when I opened the lid they were all burnt to a crisp :( I will try again but for now I just buy puffed grains anywhere that has them in bulk with a quick turnover rate to avoid them being stale. 

The first items on my ingredient list (quinoa, brown rice, oats) are the bulk, the dates and goji berries are the sweeteners and provide the chewiness, the almonds and hemp seeds are for some crunch, with the cinnamon, PB2 and extracts added for flavour. All together, this mix is a great filling breakfast or snack, packed with protein, carbs, EFAs and fibre!

-In a food processor, process the oats until they are coarse. The goal is not to turn them into a powder, just smaller than they once were. 
-Add the almonds and process until they are also coarse. Pulse is your best bet here.
-Throw in the dates. Even when a package claims the dates are pitted, be skeptical. TWO esheg pits almost destroyed my food processor. Before I could even daydream about making millions from a lawsuit, I noticed this:
-You can now add the cinnamon, PB2, vanilla/almond extracts, and salt and give the mixture a few more pulses. Transfer it to a large container. It should look something like this (and smell wonderful):
-Next, add all the other ingredients--the puffed quinoa, brown rice, hemp seeds, and goji berries. 
-Now it's the fun part. SHAKE SHAKE SHAKE (please close the lid first):
-Yay! Open it up and take a whiff of that sweet, sweet goodness! Mine looked like this:
You can bet your boots I snacked on it like crazy (no photos tee hee). So delicious, so filling, and so healthy--I love it as a snack, with some almond milk as a power breakfast, or even as a topping on my banana ice cream! This specific recipe is my current obsession, but I am always willing to experiment, and will add in some different grains and flavours (aka chocolate) next time.

BLOOPERS/OUTTAKES: I thought it would be really funny to "wink" like in my chameleon photo on my main page but forgot I cannot wink without looking creepy and then I also found another photo where I unintentionally looked at the finished product a little too lovingly:
My nose looks like Gérard Depardieu's

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