Call it what you will . . . Muesli, Overnight Oats, No-cook Refrigerator Oatmeal

Pineapple Upside Up
Overnight Oats
    I first discovered this easy, make-ahead breakfast dish in the late 1970s via a Quaker Oats promotional cookbook. Back then, food companies often provided all kinds of free lesson plans and teaching materials to schools. The Quaker Oats Wholegrain Cookbook was a wonderful resource, full of interesting and somewhat different recipe – from breakfast dishes to sides and entrées to desserts.
     Their recipe was called Muesli (Swiss Oatmeal) and it served six. I would mix up a batch and eat it for breakfast for several days.
     I haven’t made it for awhile but now, all of a sudden, there is an explosion of Overnight or Refrigerator Oat recipes on blogs . . . and many of them end up on Pinterest. The latest recipes have lots of really creative add-ins including chia seeds (rich in omeage-3 fatty acids). But the most innovative take is that instead of making a large batch, bloggers are making individual jars of no-cook oats that you can even grab-and-go!
     So I decided to play around with my own versions and this is what I came up with . . .

Muesli (Overnight, No-cook Oats)– since I really prefer fresh Muesli (vs. two, three or more day-old), I just create the basic mix and then add the wet ingredients the night before it is to be eaten.
Note: Some recipes make larger portions, but it’s way to much for me . . . not that I’m a small eater, it’s just that enough is enough . . . of some foods. This being one!

Step 1: Dry Mix (Make day ahead if you like)
1/3 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (I often use part rolled barley that I obtain at a bulk store)
1 to 2 teaspoons chia seeds
To one individual container (pint canning jars work great), add the above ingredients. Make several ahead if you like and then add the wet ingredients the night before it is to be eaten.

Step 2: Wet Additions (Add the night before eating)
1/3 cup yogurt (I prefer plain Greek yogurt)
½ cup milk (I prefer Almond milk; orange juice was used as the liquid in early recipes)
Add wet ingredients to dry mix, cover and refrigerate overnight or for at least 8 hours.
Note: dried fruits could be added at this stage, if they need to be softened.
Jar on the left contains the dry mix while the one on the right has the wet ingredients added
Step 3: Add the FUN stuff right before eating – fruits, nuts, whatever
Now is your chance to be creative. Here are 3 of my additions + links to several other blogs that might inspire other additions . . . (vary the amounts as desired)
  1. PINEAPPLE UPSIDE UP OVERNIGHT OATS – add chunks of fresh pineapple, dried cherries (I added them in step 2), chopped pecans and just enough brown sugar to sweeten.
  2. HAWAIIAN- style OVERNIGHT OATS – add sliced strawberries, chunks of fresh pineapple, toasted unsweetened coconut, chopped macadamia nuts and just enough brown sugar or agave syrup to sweeten.
  3.  FRUIT & NUT OVERNIGHT OAT DELIGHT – add raisins &/or craisins (in step 2), chopped nuts of your choice, chopped dried plums (politically correct term for prunes), banana slices and sunflower seeds + enough brown sugar, honey or agave syrup to sweeten.

Fruit & Nut Overnight Oat Delight is packed with  craisins, nuts, dried plums,  banana slices & sunflower sneeds.
Or check out the additions that these bloggers came up with:
Overnight Oats      
Or, if you prefer to use steel cut oats, instead of rolled, check out the recipe @ Lets’ Talk Breakfast 

All of this talk about Muesli made me wonder about its HISTORY. Did a little digging and here’s a quick review of what I found . . .
  • Around 1900 a Swiss physician, Maximilian Bircher-Benner, introduced it to patients in his hospital; it was an addition to a diet already rich in fresh fruit and vegetables. A small bowl of Muesli was served before meals.
  •  Dr. Bircher-Benner was somewhat of a rebel – introducing raw foods during an era when cooked foods were deemed the healthiest.
  • The dish was inspired by a concoction he and his wife has been served on a hike in the Swiss Alps.
  • Traditional Muesli was eaten with orange juice and not milk.
  • Modern day Muesli became popular in western countries starting in the 1960s, during an era of  increased interest in health food and vegetarian diets.
  • For more details + Dr.Bircher-Benner’s original recipe, click on Muesli

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