The Ideal Morning: Homemade Muesli
Any of my friends can tell you that I have long been fixated on the way people spend their days. Get a drink in me, and I will most likely ask you to walk me through, hour by hour, meal by meal, how you are passing through this life of yours. I ask because I am, in a sense, collecting data. How do other people do it? And I mean, how do they get through life with humor and fun and style and ease and a sense of fullness? I think about this a lot, to be honest, because (to paraphrase Annie Dillard) the way we spend our days is, after all, the way we live our lives. I want to know the best way to live; I want to craft for myself the ideal way to get through. And from all the interviews and data collection, and some adventures and trial and error, I have a pretty clear sense of what I want. Unfortunately, in some ways, it is not like what I have now. And that drives me crazy. But tell me I’m not the only one; does anyone else have a crystal clear vision of what their ideal life looks like?
When I picture that dream life, mine includes lots of sunshine, a feeling of expansiveness, lots of colorful textiles, calm happiness, blooming geraniums, wholesome evening dinners, a red bicycle, access to a swimming hole, readily available friends and family who will regularly come over to eat, and also this breakfast. In my mind’s eye, the ideal me eats yogurt, fruit and muesli while basking in the sunshine. The real me eats this breakfast too, but the ideal me does so without stress, without being shifty with anxiety, without thinking how late she already is to work.
In a way, it seems like you’ve got an ace in the hole knowing what you want. But then for me the question becomes: how do we bridge the gap between the imaginary and the real, the idealized and the quotidian? How do we make that life we can see right there happen? And how do we appreciate it once it’s at hand? I do, for instance, have blooming geraniums on the living room windowsill. When I wake up on sunny days and open the bedroom door to drink a tall glass of water and make the coffee, the sunlight streaming in on those red blooms and deep green leaves never fails to fill me with a sense of grateful awe. But what about the swimming hole? The pack of dinner mates? Or, and please tell me this isn’t so, is the ideal just and only that? A gem of an idea we can tuck away, pulling out when times are so far from what we want them to be so we can put ourselves at ease thinking, “if only….” and “one day…”
makes about 5 cups
Muesli was originally invented in 1900 by Swiss doctor Maximilian Bircher-Benner for his patients and became popular stateside in the 60′s thanks to all those hippies. The mixture, which is basically like untoasted granola, can be served “fresh” by soaking the oats overnight in water or fruit juice, or a combination of yogurt, milk, and some sort of acid like lemon juice or cider. I like eating it raw, just quickly mixed with strawberries and yogurt as it is here. Many recipes call for wheat flakes; I saved myself the trouble of having to buy assorted grains by picking up a bag of Bob’s Red Mill 7 Grain Hot Cereal. Added bonus — it has flaxseed.
3 cups rolled oats
1 cup Bob’s Red Mill 7 Grain Hot Cereal
3/4 cup finely chopped dried fruit (I used apricots, cranberries and prunes — don’t judge!)
1/2 cup finely chopped seeds and nuts (I used sunflower seeds, cashews, and almonds)
Gently mix ingredients together and store in an airtight container. Wouldn’t this make a nice gift, too?