Home-made Muesli!

Frugal’s Muesli . $2.78 per pound, or less

Way back in the late ’70’s – maybe early ’80’s – I fell in love with Swiss Muesli, namely, Familia cereal.  It was pricey, and I looked at the ingredients on the box and decided that not only could I make my own for a lot less, but I could customize it to my own tastes and make it even healthier!

Frugal's Muesli - this is pecan date, but another favorite is slivered almond and pear.
Frugal’s Muesli – this is pecan date, but another favorite is slivered almond and pear.

My tastes have changed over the years, but I still make my Muesli. The biggest change has been a recent one – my brother stressed how important it is to eat almonds, and he has 10 every day.

Prior to that, I had skimped on the nuts, the most expensive ingredient. Now I include the recommended 10 nut serving in every 1/2 cup serving of my Muesli. I’ve measured it out, below, so you don’t have to count. The other change is that I’ve been cutting way back on wheat products, so I usually substitute an extra half cup of barley for the half cup of wheat flakes.

I don’t think you’ll find any Muesli on the market that has this amount of tasty and healthy ingredients, and you’ll find them from an equivalent of $4.99 a pound up to $7.99 a pound, according to my grocery store comparisons. Perhaps even for more at high-end stores and health food stores. You’ll also find they are mostly oatmeal, one of the cheapest, most widely available of the grains. (Note: because Muesli is not normally sold in 1 pound packages, but much smaller packages, its one of those items that may seem less expensive until the price per pound is worked out.)

This Muesli is literally chock full of the most expensive of the ingredients. I priced mine out using a mixed berry option (sorry the photo is of Pecan Date) which is one of the priciest of the dried fruits came up with $2.78 per pound. Please, don’t pay more for the box when Muesli is a snap to mix up.

Best of all, customize your flavor profile: You can use any combination of fruits and nuts. Go tropical, go wild – put in whatever you like in whatever combination. Do use some restraint – dried fruits are very concentrated calories, and it is good to know that the almond is considered the powerhouse of the nuts, while walnuts are best avoided.

Given that, what flavors would you choose? Blueberry Pecan? Mango Macademia? or would you go for a mixture? Triple Berry Almond? A tropical blend? No longer are you limited to what a manufacturer decides is the easiest to sell…As a matter of fact, you can toast all the grains and divide them in half or thirds and flavor each how you’d like.

Because the Omega 3 fatty acids in the nuts help deliver nutrients through your body, I like to serve my Muesli with fresh fruit or a green smoothie, even though the Muesli already has a bit of dried fruit to help sweeten it.

Serve dry with milk, heat like an oatmeal, or make Over Night Muesli (Bircher’s) with milk or yogurt.

Frugal’s Muesli – Fake Familia  {Print}

makes about 7 cups, each serving is 1/2 cup, or 28 ounces.

  • 2 cups of rolled oats or regular (not instant) oatmeal
  • 1 cup of rolled barley
  • 1 cup of rolled rye
  • 1/2 cup wheat flakes (optional, but replace with barley, rye or oats)
  • 2 tablespoons millet (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons kamut (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons wheat germ (optional)
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped almonds, toasted or an equivalent of your favorite or mixture of favorite nuts
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried fruit
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (optional)
  • Turbinado (organic, raw) sugar, if desired – I find that the toasting of the grains and nuts makes this so sweet I don’t need sugar. The millet and kamut, especially have a sweet flavor and are worth seeking out if one wishes to avoid sugar but still appreciates a bit of a sweet taste.

Put all grains on a large rimmed baking sheet and toast in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes, stirring every 10. Let cool. This helps to bring out the sweeter flavors of the grains and rid them of any “raw” taste. Do not brown.

Chop nuts and toast them in a dry, heavy skillet for several minutes. Once they begin to smell, they are sufficiently toasted. Remove and let cool as they will continue to cook and perhaps burn if left in the pan. The nuts may be chopped in a food processor.

Chop dried fruit of your choice and measure. Dried fruit can be quite sticky: a thin knife helps, and a touch of spray oil will help prevent sticking.

Combine all ingredients and store in airtight container, in fridge or freezer is best.  Stir before using as it will settle.

Note:  If you can’t find Kamut or Millet, omit – but they have a very sweet flavor that helps you get by with no sugar in this cereal.

Let’s talk about how to save money/time on this recipe:

  • Read {Strategies Applied} for additional tips as well as throughout the recipe for saving money/time and managing this recipe on a budget.
  • Follow my Strategies – You’ll see them all explained on the upper left tab of every page and how I apply them, below.
  • Don’t get discouraged if your prices don’t match mine! Keep shopping at the best prices and your fridge/freezer and pantry will be stocked with sales priced ingredients.
  • Use a coupon matching site! One of my favorites in my area is Pocket Your Dollars, but every store has a group of enthusiastic Coupon Matchers. Do not discount the savings! I check their site every week, even if I don’t “need” to go to the store and often find bargains I can’t pass up.

Put Your own Spin on It:

  • Serve this like oatmeal – heat it in the microwave or on the stove.
  • Try soaking it overnight in milk or eating it just like cold cereal.
  • Sprinkle over yogurt or in yogurt parfaits.
  • Add in whatever other ingredients suit your fancy:  other nuts, pecans are wonderful, pumpkin seeds, etc.  Flavor it with cinnamon or other spices if you’d like.

Frugal’s Muesli made April 2012

 

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