Replace costly cereals with inexpensive grains

“Make at least half your grains whole.” That’s the federal government’s dietary admonishment, which seems like an oxymoron.

Yet it was a main talking point of this week’s ACCESS cooking class in Rogue River, where I instruct participants in nutrition. While the government’s MyPlate improves on former recommendations for consuming grains, it still fails to make the distinction between the nutritional value in actual whole grains (their natural form) and whole-grain foods, such as breads, cereals and their ilk.

Simply put, whole grains, are nutritious, simple to prepare and for the most part inexpensive. And although it’s not as simple as opening a box, stirring up a cereal from whole grains, dried fruit and nuts costs just a fraction of its packaged counterpart and is infinitely fresher.

Similar to granola, just uncooked, this muesli can be softened in dairy overnight or steeped for about five minutes in boiling water. It’s from Maria Speck’s “Simply Ancient Grains,” courtesy of Tribune News Service.

Tribune News Service photo

Maria Speck’s Muesli Formula

3 cups rolled oats or any other grain flakes, such as rye, barley, quinoa, spelt, wheat or a mixture

3/4 cup chopped nuts, such as almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts or a mixture

1/2 cup seeds, such as sesame, flax, pumpkin or a mixture

1 cup chopped dried fruit, such as apricots, figs, dates, prunes or raisins

Pinch of fine sea salt

Add all the ingredients to a large bowl or combine them directly in a tall glass jar with a tight-fitting lid, shaking or stirring with a soup spoon. Muesli will last at room temperature for at least 4 weeks.

Classic: Add 1/2 cup muesli to a small bowl and stir in 1/4 cup yogurt, kefir, milk or cream. Cover and refrigerate overnight to soften the grain flakes. In the morning, stir in freshly grated apple, top with more fruit if you like, and squeeze on a bit of fresh lemon juice.

Every day: Add 1/2 cup muesli to a small bowl and pour about 1/4 cup boiling water over it to soften the grain flakes. After 5 minutes or so, add a bit of whole milk, buttermilk, kefir or yogurt, top with any fresh fruit you have on hand.

Makes 10 (1/2-cup) servings.

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    Sarah Lemon

    Sarah Lemon covers the Rogue Valley’s food scene with an enthusiasm that rivals her love of cooking. Her blog mixes culinary musings and milestones with tips and recipes you won’t find in the Mail Tribune’s weekly A la Carte section. When ... Read Full
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