Put Down your Bagel Immediately!

Were any of you aware that white bagels slathered thick with cream cheese are not the healthiest breakfast choice? Because I have a sneaking suspicion that I was out sick the day they made that announcement.

And by ‘not the healthiest breakfast choice’, I mean when you eat them 4-5 times a week. And maybe a croissant the other 2 days. Yes, I am a woman who can get down with some white bread. It’s all I crave when the morning comes. I’m not one of those people who can get by with a slice of fruit and a glass of OJ. If it were acceptable, I would eat a full dinner for breakfast every morning. My taste buds/stomach don’t know the difference between 7am or 7pm.  But for the sake of my health, and my slowly expanding self, I think it’s probably time for a change.

Something I do really like is granola. I much prefer it to oatmeal (that soggy mess of pastey goo), or cream of wheat or any of those warm, gruel-like dishes. I’ve been buying the Bridgehead granola for a while now and thoroughly enjoying it with yogurt. My only concern is that some granola seems to have the same calorie and fat content as a McDonalds cheeseburger. And if that’s the case, I’ll take the burger and fries [super-sized], please.

Muesli is a much healthier option if you want something that still tastes good, has health benefits, and is easily adaptable to whatever tastes you may have, so long as you’re not adding cheeseburgers to it.

Now, I don’t want to offend any muesli purists, so I should say that a muesli is typically raw and not coated in oil/butter/sugar as much (or at all) as granola. But darn it, I am not perfect and a little honey won’t kill me. Or you. Unless you’re allergic but I can’t take the blame for that.

I’ve packed this muesli full of antioxidant-rich berries, healthy seeds and just a touch of cinnamon and honey. Serve it with milk (cold or warm), over yogurt, or by itself as a quick pick me up. I’ve offered up some options for what I added, but you go ahead and add whatever it is you like, berries, fresh fruit, nuts, seeds, spices… but no cheeseburgers, ok?

Toasted Honey and Fruit Muesli
I split the muesli into two batches and made one with dried blueberries and pineapples, and one with dried cranberries, blueberries, goji berries, raspberries and apricots. I can’t say one was better than the other, both are just delicious.  

5 cups rolled oats (or 4 cups + 1 cup bran flakes)
1 cup raw pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds)
1 cup raw sunflower seeds
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup slivered almonds
3/4 cup honey (organic, if possible)
1 tbsp cinnamon
2 cups dried fruit

Preheat oven to 300.

In a large bowl (likely the biggest bowl you have), mix the oats, pepitas, sunflower seeds, coconut, almonds and cinnamon. Add the honey and massage a little with your hands to distribute evenly. It won’t clump like granola, it will still be fairly dry.

In two batches, spread your muesli evenly on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 or so minutes to make sure the edges aren’t burning.

Remove from oven and stir in your dried fruit.

And that’s it. Did I not mention how sickeningly easy this was? No reason to not have fresh muesli whenever you want. It also makes a really nice thank-you/hostess gift for friends.

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