What does a hard-working man eat for breakfast? Oatmeal. Every morning without fail.
Knowing this, for years I have unsuccessfully tried to force mushy oatmeal down my throat. Since I was a child I have eaten mass quantities of sugared cereals every day for breakfast. It would not be unusual for me to eat an entire box of cereal like Cinnamon Toast Crunch or Waffleos in a sitting. Captain Crunch, Fruit Loops, Frosted Flakes, Apple Jacks, Life, Honey Smacks, Golden Grahams, and Corn Pops were just a few of my many favorites. How to break this habit? After a few bites of hot oatmeal, the texture starts to bother me, and I stop eating it well before I have had a filling breakfast. Then one day, someone told me about Muesli. It's basically oatmeal without the cooking. It's basically cereal but incredibly healthy. And cheap. Heck, if it's horse food it's got to be economical.
Recipe: Mix rolled oats, almonds, and dried fruit (chopped up) in your favorite cereal bowl. Pour in a generous helping of milk. Let it sit for 5 minutes to soften the oatmeal. Enjoy!
The cold oatmeal has a very enjoyable texture and completely lacks the mushiness that bothers me with hot oatmeal. Although I have to be honest. I often trick my brain into thinking I'm eating the cereals I am so addicted to by putting a small sprinkling of Cheerios or Cinnamon Toast Crunch or any other sugary cereal on top of the oatmeal. Kind of like putting cheese on my pasta. By doing so, I happily gobble up large quantities of whole grain goodness on a daily basis. However, this is not at all necessary because it tastes great on it's own. And it is incredibly versatile. On days when I am without milk, I can get through the day by using plain water, orange juice, or any other liquid. On camping trips, this makes a perfect quick uncooked meal in a pinch by simply adding cold water and letting it sit.
My source for nuts is the India Bazaar Grocery Store on Central Avenue in Albany. They sell large bags of almonds for much cheaper than anywhere else I have ever seen. $8.99 for nearly two pounds. I stock up on two big bags which gets me through a few months. Next I stop at Uncle Sam's Natural Foods in Troy where they sell delicious dried fruits like papaya, figs, and apricots, not to mention the cheapest organic rolled oats in town. I buy about 10 pounds of oats at a time, but I would love to buy 25 pounds at a time. I go through enough of it to be sure. For a special treat when I'm passing through New Jersey on my way to visit my sister, I stop at the Fairway supermarket (best place I've ever seen to get cheese, olive oil, and lots of other great stuff) and vary my supply with more interesting fruits like kiwi and mango. Of course, if you can't find these then any oats, nuts, and fruits will do just fine.
I'll wrap up by saying that a great source of happiness and contentment in my life right now comes from the comfort in knowing that I am eating a very filling, satisfying, and nutritious breakfast every morning thanks to Muesli. Muesli truly is the Ultimate Breakfast.