No matter how hard I try, I will never learn to be a morning person. However, I've learned to fake it pretty well as long as I've chugged a large cup of coffee and put some breakfast in my belly.
The only catch is that my commute to the office is a gauntlet of bad breakfast choices - sugary donuts, oversized muffins, puffy bagels slathered with cream cheese, and worst of all, those oh-so-delicious (and oh-so-bad-for-me) greasy breakfast sandwiches.
I've discovered the best defense is to make a healthy breakfast at home that I can fit into my mad dash out the door in the morning. Most of the time, I just whip up a quick smoothie, but lately I've taken to making a big batch of this delicious bircher muesli that I can grab on my way out the door.
This delicious breakfast treat was invented around the turn of the century by Maximillian Bircher-Benner, a Swiss doctor who was a strong believer in the healing powers of raw fruits and vegetables, and who started every meal at his sanatorium with a small bowl of this muesli.
I like to think of bircher muesli as the original overnight oatmeal - you start by soaking rolled oats overnight with milk and grated apple, and then stir in low-fat yogurt, fruit, nuts and seeds the next morning for a fresh and flavourful start to your day.
Unlike most overnight oatmeal recipes, the oats aren't really the star. It's all about the fruits and nuts, which can be changed around to fit your preferences, your pantry, or maybe a little bit of both.
I'm currently partial to this blend of frozen mixed berries, dried blueberries, coconut and almonds, which turns the plain beige oatmeal into a beautiful shade of purplish-pink.
However, feel free to use dried cranberries or cherries instead of blueberries, hazelnuts instead of almonds, and whatever fresh or frozen fruit floats your boat. Trust me, this is the kind of recipe that rewards creativity.
I've given the option to add maple syrup in the recipe, but personally I tend to leave it out, since I find the fruit adds plenty of natural sweetness of its own. You'll want to add it if you have a sweet tooth... or if you prefer to walk on the tangy side, take it in the opposite direction and replace some (or all) of the milk with cultured buttermilk, which I've been known to do from time to time.
Now, I'm not going to claim that this muesli has any magical curative properties, despite what Dr Bircher-Benner might have believed... but I do think that it's the perfect antidote to the workday morning blues, especially when paired with a large coffee (or two).
Disclosure: I am part of the PTPA Brand Ambassador Program with Gay Lea, and received compensation as part of my affiliation with this group. As always, all opinions on this blog are my own.
- 2 cups quick rolled oats (not instant)
- 1 cup Hewitt’s 2% milk
- 1 large apple, peeled and grated (preferably a sweet variety like Gala)
- ¼ cup dried blueberries
- 2 tsp maple syrup
- 1 cup Hewitt’s plain yogurt
- ¼ cup raw sunflower seeds
- ¼ cup sliced blanched almonds
- ¼ cup large flake coconut
- 1 tbsp hemp hearts
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 ½ cups frozen mixed berries, thawed
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl, stir together the oats, milk, grated apple, dried blueberries and maple syrup, if using. Cover tightly with plastic wrap, and chill overnight to allow the oats to soften and absorb the milk. (This is also a good time to take the berries out of the freezer and leave them to thaw overnight in the fridge.)
- The next morning, add the yogurt, sunflower seeds, almonds, hemp hearts, and lemon juice. Stir until well combined, then fold in the berries and any juice they released while thawing out.
- Divide between four bowls and serve immediately, or spoon into mason jars and store in the fridge for breakfast on the go. Top with a little extra coconut and dried berries, if desired.