When it all boils down, there are three main things that I really consider when it comes to choosing what food to buy/make/eat:
1. Health and nutritional value
The list is ordered randomly, btw. Sometimes cost is the deciding factor, other times it’s all about the taste! I’m really not all that strict with my ranking system.
One of my favourite things to eat is natural, unsweetened yoghurt with muesli and whatever random bits I can throw in to keep it interesting – banana chips, dried fruit, fresh fruit, coconut, puffed rice etc. Healthy? Check! Delicious? Check! Cheap? …well, sort of. Muesli can get expensive. Especially since I need to find some that is gluten-free, which generally means it’s also organic and filed with expensive fancy ingredients that you barely taste.
When I ran out earlier this week, I vowed to find something other than $8/box muesli to top off my yoghurt with. Now, I know for some people $8/box isn’t a big deal – but I’ll go through at least a box a week and it really does start to add up. Not enough that I’d cut it out of my diet, but enough to make me think maybe there’s a better option. Upon scouring the internet, I found heaps of great recipes and figured “I could make this!” Unfortunately, I’d just come home from the grocery store and wasn’t about to head back for a second trip just for a few bits. I figured I could improvise.
(This is about the point when I wish I’d taken pictures of the process!)
My version of homemade muesli:
– a bunch of rolled oats. (I didn’t measure, but I’d guess it was about 2-3 cups?)
– a bunch of shredded, unsweetened coconut (maybe 3/4 cup?)
– a bunch of almonds, chopped up into small bits (ummm… about 3 handfuls whole almonds)
– 3 or so tablespoons of honey
– a drizzle of olive oil
(Clearly, this is a very specific recipe that must be followed to the letter!)
* Put oats into a large bowl. Add coconut and almonds and mix well.
* Put honey and oil into a saucepan and heat on low heat until nice and liquidy.
* Drizzle honey mixture over oat mixture. Toss until well coated.
* Spread everything over a baking sheet and pop in oven.
* Bake at 300*F/150*C, tossing occasionally, until nicely toasted.
* Remove from oven and allow to cool.
* Add chopped dried fruits of your choice. (I added apricots, because that’s all I had!)
* Mix well and store in air-tight container.
The recipes I read online also included things like cashews, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, pecans and walnuts. They also suggested adding dried apples, papaya and pineapple to the mix once it’s cooled. The great thing about muesli is that it’s SO flexible and you can really cater it to what you have available at the time.
I had a little last night – can I tell you how amazing it was fresh out of the oven! – and, as you can see from my photo, it was a main player in my breakfast this morning. It’s definitely going to replace the store-bought stuff I used to get, for the reasons I listed at the start.
1. Health/nutritional value: Because I’m making it myself, I know exactly what is going into it and have complete control over the ingredients. I can also make sure it is definitely gluten-free! No rye, barley or wheat in this muesli.
2. Deliciousness: It’s really, really yummy. I can only imagine what the next batch will be like when I have a chance to stock up on a few extra goodies for it – especially some more dried fruits and sunflower seeds!
3. Cost: WAY cheaper than the store-bought stuff! A 1kg bag of oats cost $2.50. I think I used about 1/5 of it in my massive batch last night. Even if I splurge a little on some fancier dried fruits or nuts, I’m still coming out way ahead.
So that was my accomplishment of the day yesterday. It’ll be interesting to see how long this batch lasts. Though I might end up eating it faster just so I can make another batch with some new goodies!
Do you try to make things from scratch or would you rather just buy it pre-bought? Have you come across any new recipes recently that you love?