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A few years ago on a cruise, my friend Allison and I discovered the wonder that is muesli, and for some reason I’ve only made it at home once…  I don’t know why, it’s the perfect breakfast for me b/c the prep is done the night before (when I’m still coherent!).

Something wonderful happens when you soak oats overnight.  They release this creaminess that is supposedly connected to them being a “higher fat” grain –15% of calories from fat, according to cronometer.com.  Honestly, I don’t care how it happens, I’m just glad it does!

rolled oats, plain soy milk, sliced almonds, raisins, cranberries, fresh apricots, moringa leaves (random farmer’s market purchase) and a bit of apple juice.

“Anything Goes” Bircher Muesli

This is called “Bircher” because I believe he was the first to soak his muesli overnight in milk.  It’s “Anything Goes” because you can add anything you like to it!

  • 1-2 cups rolled oats (I use old-fashioned and not instant, but feel free to experiment)
  • 1 1/2 – 3 cups non-dairy milk (rice, almond, soy, etc.)
  • nuts and seeds (sliced almonds, pecans, walnuts, sunflower seeds, pepitas, etc.)
  • dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, prunes, dates, figs, etc.)
  • fresh fruit (blueberries, halved grapes, bananas, chopped apples, peaches, etc.)
  • green-leaf sprouts or micro greens (totally my addition and not traditional)
  • sweetener if needed (1/4 cup apple juice or 2 tablespoons maple syrup)

The night before, add some rolled oats to a bowl.  Cover well with milk so that most of the oats aren’t visible (the oats will soak up the liquid overnight, so make sure there is enough milk for that to happen).   At this point I like to add my nuts and seeds, but if you like them really crunchy, wait till the morning.  Cover bowl and place in the fridge.

The next morning, add a few tablespoons of dried fruit, a handful of fresh fruit, and some mini-greens if you’re up for it.  Check sweetness level, and if you’re needing some, add your favorite sweetener (since I used unsweetened milk, I added some apple juice).  Serve cold.

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I had a lot of extra blackberries leftover from the PPK facebook challenge, and I haven’t been eating enough salad this week… so here’s my answer to both of those!

Blackberry Walnut Dressing

  • 2 cups blackberries
  • 1/2 cup apple juice (you could probably use apple slices too since this will be going through a sieve)
  • juice from 1/2 a lemon (more if you want a more acidic dressing, I also suggest adding a vinegar if you want this to be more of a vinaigrette)
  • 1 Tbsp packed mint leaves
  • 1/4 cup walnuts

First, blend together blackberries, apple juice, lemon juice, and enough water to almost cover blackberries (leave about and inch or two of blackberries above the water).

Now pour the blended mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl.

Whisk/quickly scrape the bottom of the sieve with a spoon until most of the liquid is in the bowl and you are left with only thick pulp and seeds in the sieve.

Return mixture to blender and add mint and walnuts. Blend till smooth. At this point you can add more lemon or vinegar for more acidity, more apple juice for more sweetness, or more walnuts for a creamier dressing.

Now pour into a storage container of some kind. I really like these little dressing bottles from Fry’s grocery store.

I served on a bed of romaine, spinach, mixed baby greens, and moringa leaves (sometimes the farmer’s market has the randomest stuff!) and topped with dressing and cranberries.

I made this delicious chili a few days ago and man does it go far!  This quinoa cornbread goes amazing with it… it’s moist, savory, and and the quinoa gives it a bit of a nutty flavor that’s really nice.  Both recipes are from Cathy Fisher at StraightUpFood.com.

Both of these recipes are gluten-, oil-, sugar-, and salt-FREE!

A couple modifications and tips:

For the cornbread (click here for recipe)

  • Don’t use the banana unless you want to taste it in your bread.  I subbed out 1/2 cup applesauce (one of those little containers) for the banana and it worked perfectly.
  • I also left out the cinnamon, because I thought that was weird for cornbread.
  • If you want a sweeter cornbread, you are either going to have to add a few more dates to your soaking liquid (discard any additional liquid you use to soak) or use sugar.
  • Use a coffee grinder to grind your whole flaxseeds, oats, and cornmeal.  I just bought this one recently, and I LOVE it!  I put it next to my 13-inch macbook so you could see how compact it is.  Click the photo for an amazon link to purchase it. 

For the chili (click here for the recipe):

  • Use Pomì Tomatoes (pictured above and can be purchased here in bulk on amazon, or in Arizona at Sprouts or Whole Foods).  Then you don’t have to worry about what’s leeching from the cans.
  • Don’t leave out the celery.  In her cooking demonstration at True North, Cathy said that celery gives the impression of saltiness… and it really does work in this chili.  I ALWAYS miss salt when they are left out of soups and stews, but I don’t miss it here.
  • If you like your chili spicy, then add come chipotle chili powder and some cayenne.  I also doubled all the spices she listed.
  • I heard this great tip about beans that I haven’t tried yet… If you want to avoid canned beans, but don’t want to be soaking and cooking dried beans every week, cook them in larger batches, then store in plastic sandwich bags or small jars in 1 1/2 cup portions in the freezer.  Most canned beans equal about 1 1/2 cups, so if a recipe calls for canned beans, you just pull out a bag or jar from the freezer!  I’m so doing this.