Do you have any recipes that are so familiar they don’t even feel like recipes? I mean, this isn’t anything that’s cooked and is only eyeballed anyway. I guess this is how real chefs feel about all kinds of food they prepare. Baker-me is a recipe follower, a rule minder, has very few things that I can just throw together that are beyond a salad. Or a bowl full of vegetables. Or cereal.
So, cereal. My mother always had jars of this muesli in the house. My mother was one for routines, which became more pronounced with years. She ate pretty much the same things for breakfast, lunch and dinner once she stopped being responsible for anyone else’s nutrition or fussiness. There were tomato and cheese sandwiches for lunch and there was this muesli with half a banana and a glass of orange juice for breakfast. And two cups of black coffee. One at the breakfast table and one in the living room with the rest of the newspaper.
She made this muesli in large batches and then decanted it into plastic containers she saved for this purpose. Each with one of those ceramic spoons you get in Japanese restaurants that she used as the cereal scoop and she probably bought five for $1 at some sale, somewhere. I have inherited a love of multiple, small, useful objects from my mother. Collections of spoons, miniature boxes, little jars. She made this muesli because store-bought stuff is expensive and too sweet. It is a great recipe to have small children help you with. So, I’ve been making this as long as I can remember. This was also a common after-school project for mom and my niece. I now even have the big bread dough bowl that she/we used for all those years.
I distinctly remember some of the ingredients. But often I have to stare at the remaining batch in the house to remember all the things I include. And some things I have added over the years, or subtracted. And sometimes I’d go back home and think ‘huh, look what mom puts in hers!’ Though my regimented mother probably always had the exact same things in hers, it is only time and my memory and cupboards that ever veer mine away from the original.
I’ve handed out this ‘recipe’ more times than I can count. At the Inn we always had a big jar of this set out for breakfast. It’s great on it’s own with some milk. Or tossed over yogurt and fresh fruit. I once watched someone pour orange juice over it in a bowl. Not my thing but, hey!
So, here is a recipe, (not really a recipe.) The one I think I stick to most often. Or, my starting point anyway. Work away, add, subtract, make it your own recipe that you don’t have to think about. If you have a food co-op nearby there will always be something new you want to try and throw in there. The oats, grape nuts (I adore grape nuts. Weird, I know. Leave them out if they bug you. They do provide a nice crunch though) and shredded wheat are the real constants for me. Everything else is in amounts of ‘a good few handfuls’ or ‘this is what I have.’
- 18oz oats It's the equivalent of those Quaker Oat canisters you can get. I usually have oats in bulk so am generally doing this step by guesswork.
- 1 box grape nuts
- 1 box shredded wheat (crushed) I use the large shredded wheat, they are really fun to crush. Bite size works too, if you'd rather.
- mixed nuts
- dried fruit raisins, golden raisins, cranberries, cherries
- wheat bran
- granola I like to toss is some homemade granola here, or get a box of your favorite, or a good few scoops of something from the bulk bins
Throw everything into a bowl and toss with your hands. Eyeball it all. Make it a mix that makes you happy - lots of fruit, or not. Lots of nuts, or not. Add wheat germ or sunflower seeds or dried dates or anything you want.
Put in a sealed container.