I'm not particularly mushy, I don't think bad luck comes in threes, and I tend to implement my resolutions when I think of them, rather than on a day set by the calendar so, really, what is the significance of the "New Year" to someone like me? I spent some time thinking about this after reading a couple of op ed pieces cheering the arrival of a new decade after the horrible decade that just passed. I found the concept confusing at first - a lot of really bad crap occurred during this decade both for us as a nation and for my family personally - but do you write off an entire decade? Seems extreme. Some good must have happened as well. But, when I thought back over the past ten years, I finally concluded that this era was more heavily weighted with sadness, drama and stress than my prior adult years. So I'll join the others and hope that this year marks the beginning of a calmer, healthier, and more peaceful decade than the last.
One of my holiday gifts was the new 16 cup Cuisinart with three different sized bowls! I'm very much looking forward to using it for just about everything. Although my trusty old Cuisinart which I received as an engagement gift in 1988 is mostly still working, it leaks a bit, particularly when I make pesto, leaving a trail of green oil around the base. I am also without the stem used to attach the other blades for shredding and slicing. I did check on a replacement web site a few years ago and found the missing part but didn't purchase it as it was $40.00, plus shipping, which seemed like too much of an investment in what was then an almost twenty year old appliance. At the time I figured I'd replace the whole machine the next time they went on sale. Due to a combination of laziness and then a bad economy, that didn't happen until this past December. Recipes will follow shortly!!
Despite this being one of the coldest weeks I remember in DC, I had an urge for Bircher Muesli. I've written before about how much I like oatmeal and muesli is simply another way to eat it. However, it is traditionally served cold, which seems like the last thing I'd want this week. Somehow, it worked. The beauty of this dish is you make several servings at once, so you can serve your family or friends at once, or have your breakfast ready made for a few days in a row. You start this dish the night before by mixing the oats, milk, yogurt and sweetener and then refrigerating the mixture overnight, and adding the fruit and nuts in the morning before serving. So, after 5 minutes of effort in the evening and 5 more the following morning, you have a healthy and filling breakfast. Fiber, people, fiber!
I first had Bircher Muesli at the home of a friend who, rumor has it, wheedled it out of the chef at a local Swiss coffee shop. I've since experimented with several versions and this is what I've come up with. I find that it's creamy enough with the skim milk as I use the Greek yogurt which is thicker and creamier, even in its non-fat variety.
~1-1/4 cups old fashioned oats (not quick cooking)
~2/3 cup skim milk
~2/3 cup non-fat Greek yogurt
~1 apple, peeled and grated or finely chopped
~1/4 cup organic cane sugar or honey (or 3 tablespoons agave nectar) - the honey or agave will create a slightly stickier consistency than the sugar
~raisins or other dried fruit (optional)
~toasted slivered or sliced almonds, about 1 -2 tablespoons per serving, 1/2 cup for whole batch. Lazy girl that I am, I buy mine pre-toasted at Trader Joes, but you can toast yours by putting them in a single layer on a baking sheet for about 10 minutes in a 350 degree oven.
~cut up fresh fruit (whatever fruit you like - I like bananas, strawberries, blueberries, and pear, depending on the season)
1. Evening before you want to serve the muesli: In medium to large bowl, mix together the oats, milk, yogurt, sweetener, grated apple, and dried fruit if using. Mix well. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
2. In the morning, remove bowl from refrigerator and add the fresh fruit and sprinkle the nuts on top.
3. If you like, you can also sprinkle some wheat germ on top for extra fiber and flavor.