This recipe differs in both ingredients and method from the one I posted two years ago. I like both for different reasons, as you’ll see.
Two years ago I wrote about Homemade Muesli, one where I hand-chop all the fruit and nuts and toast the oats. It’s a great recipe because of the large pieces of everything—dried apricots, almonds, raisins, figs, coconut. As I wrote then, it’s great to get all the chewing from muesli. Maybe that’s why you don’t need much of it, 1/4-1/3 cup soaked in some almond milk. It’s plenty for breakfast and you don’t get a sugar high like you do from commercial cereals, including commercial muesli. You get more of a steady, balanced addition to your daily diet.
A few months ago, I started mixing part of the ingredients in the food processor—nuts, apricots, figs—where the results are these little clusters of energy balls that stick together even after mixing with grains and coconut and seeds. They still have some chewiness, but I would say less than the other muesli. That’s the one I’m showing you today.
Muesli Recipe II
Preheat oven to 350°; line a sheet pan with parchment paper, which makes it super easy to pour the toasted grains into a bowl.
- 1 lb whole grain rolled oats
- 1 cup wheat germ
- 1 cup unsweetened, flaked coconut
- 1/2-1 cup seasoned sunflower seeds
- 1/2-1 cup pumpkin seeds (my grocery was out of these!)
- 15 dried apricots
- 15 dried Sierra figs (a green-skinned fig, it is lighter in color and has a tougher dried skin than the mission fig, for example)
- 1 cup oven-roasted, lightly salted almonds
- 1 cup shelled walnuts
- Mix together the oats, wheat germ, and coconut. The coconut and wheat germ are less likely to scorch if you mix them with the oats. Spread out on parchment-lined pan and toast in oven for 5-10 minutes, keeping a close eye on it to make sure they don’t burn. Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes before lifting the parchment and pouring all into a large mixing bowl with the sunflower and pumpkin seeds.
- Place the apricots, figs, almonds, and walnuts into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the ingredients reach a fairly uniform consistency with some variation, but don’t process too much or you will make a paste. Pour the fruit-nut mixture into the bowl with the grains and seeds and stir until well mixed. The pulsed fruit and nuts will form into little balls of varying sizes, and this is what you want. Some of the wheat germ will stick to them, as well as some of the little seeds.
- Let it all cool completely in the bowl, stirring occasionally, before pouring into a container with a tight lid.
Serve in 1/4-1/3 cup servings soaked for about 20 minutes in almond milk or the milk of your choice. You could alternately put the moistened muesli in the microwave for 30 seconds to warm up. I let mine sit while I drink that second cup of morning coffee.
So there were 2 cups of pumpkin left after taking 1 cup out for the Pumpkin Blondies of the previous post. Much to my husband’s dismay, I made a little pumpkin soup for dinner. To make it more pleasing to him and his sweet tooth, I put in a little maple syrup for sweetness and used full-fat coconut milk to finish it. The other way to his heart is through meat, so a simple pork tenderloin fixed that. As it turned out, he did like the soup, and I presented it as the first course, so he had to go through that course to get to the tenderloin.
In the future, I would maybe make the soup with more of a savory taste by adding some herbs instead of maple syrup, but I did like the coconut milk instead of heavy cream. It was very easy to make with canned pumpkin and chicken stock I had in the freezer, and the remainder has been in the fridge for two days without separating. I can see how roasting your own pumpkin might add good flavor, but finding good eating pumpkins is not that easy here. If you do substitute roasted pumpkin, you’ll have to put it all in the blender before eating to cut through all the squash fiber for a smoother soup.
Pumpkin soup with coconut milk
Pork tenderloin and sautéed spinach
Garlic-Sage Pork Tenderloin
Preheat oven to 425°
1 pork tenderloin, trimmed
1 tablespoon garlic paste or minced garlic
1 teaspoon dried rubbed sage
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
1/4 to 1/3 cup olive oil, for marinade
2-3 tablespoons olive oil for browning
- Mix marinade ingredients and pour over tenderloin in large zippered bag. Marinate in refrigerator for a few hours or overnight.
- In large ovenproof skillet—mine was cast iron—heat 2-3 tablespoons olive oil over high heat. Brown tenderloin on all sides.
- Place skillet in oven and roast for 10-20 minutes until internal temperature registers between 150°-160° in thickest part. It will continue to cook during resting and will be slightly pink in the center.
- Place on cutting board and cover loosely with foil. Rest for 10 minutes. Slice in 1/2-1 inch slices.
- I served it with sautéed spinach.
2 cups chicken stock
2 cups canned pumpkin puree
about 2-4 tablespoons maple syrup (I didn’t measure)
about 1/2 cup full fat coconut milk, whisked or blended until smooth (I didn’t measure)
more coconut milk and dry roasted pumpkin seeds for garnish
- In a large saucepan heat chicken stock over medium heat until it begins to steam.
- Whisk in pumpkin until smooth.
- Whisk in syrup and coconut milk until smooth.
- Continue to heat, stirring occasionally, until soup is hot.
- Serve in bowls with coconut milk and pumpkin seed garnish. I made a shaky, lop-sided spiral design (ha ha) with the coconut milk, but I think next time, I would just make a line or blob and run a knife through it. The soup is thick enough to place garnish on the top without much sinking.
Can you see my reflection in the spoon on the featured image?
Remember the Great Pumpkin Scarcity Caper, where we cleaned out the local grocery shelves of canned pumpkin because of the dog? You might remember that I confiscated 3 of the large cans for my cooking. I used one of them for the two Thanksgiving pies, and today I opened can #2 for two uses. First up, Pumpkin Blondies, kind of a cakey brownie, thick and moist, but not chewy. I wasn’t going for chewy, but didn’t want a spongy cake either. These turned out just right—I tested three of them already to make that evaluation.
Add pumkin to wet ingredients
Pumpkin seeds for nuts
Moist and dense
Tender and spicy
I used my regular blondie recipe, actually called “Butterscotch Brownies” in the old Betty Crocker (1961) p.195. I’d like to know when people started calling them blondies. The original bar is really dense and chewy, made simply with butter and brown sugar for the butterscotch taste. I didn’t change anything in the recipe, except to add pumpkin. I’m sure that’s heresy to add without other adjustments, but I just wanted to move the recipe away from the original dense and chewy texture, not make it the same as the original with a pumpkin flavor. Plus, I wanted to see how just that addition changed the end result. It worked very nicely, but you could probably do things to make the end result more cookie-like if that’s what you want.
I used canned pumpkin puree; increase total time if you roast your own pumpkin.
Preheat oven to 350°; butter an 8″ x 8″ baking dish.
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) butter, melted
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup dry roasted pumpkin seeds (these are usually salted)
- In a large mixing bowl, beat sugar and butter until combined.
- Beat in egg until mixture is light and creamy.
- Mix in pumpkin and vanilla until combined.
- Mix dry ingredients together, then stir into wet ingredients.
- Stir in pumpkin seeds.
- Spread in buttered baking dish and bake for about 30 minutes—the top should resist your finger a little when done. You can use a toothpick to test doneness, but the bars are moist and you don’t want to bake until they are dry. The toothpick might fool you.
- Cool in pan; then cut bars in the pan or turn out the whole thing onto a cutting board and cut into bars.
We go to the cabin this weekend for the first day of antlered deer season on Monday and I didn’t want to fuss with bowls and spoons and almond milk to eat the muesli that I eat for breakfast every day, so I’m putting the muesli in bars. I’m still making the muesli that I posted so long ago, but have switched out the high GI (glycemic index) raisins for moderate GI figs. Then, ironically, I’ll be holding the bar ingredients together with mashed bananas, which are high GI. What can you do? I’ll be working it off walking in the woods, so I’m not too worried about it. If you’re interested in the glycemic index, you can find more information about it and look up foods here: Montignac Method.
I’m modifying this recipe from The Kitchn, adding more fruit and seeds than called for, and then putting it all in a smaller pan so they are thicker. I’m skeptical that the bars will hold together, but I want to give the recipe a chance. I’m hoping that using more dried fruit helps them hold together, but even if they don’t, I can eat them in pieces with no problem.
Ample fruit and nuts
Almonds, figs, and apricots
Bananas liquified in processor
Pressed in pan
Baked with browned edges
They turned out great and held together well. They’re a chewy bar, which is what I wanted. One of the reasons I like muesli for breakfast is all the chewing activity you get from the seeds and oatmeal, so these bars will make a great breakfast substitute. There is a slight banana taste, but it’s not overpowering, and the figs and apricots keep the bar moist. Try it with your own variations.
Preheat oven to 350°; butter a square baking pan or dish, 8″ or 9″ square. My dish is 8″ square.
2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup dry roasted almonds
1/2 cup dried, unsweetened apricots
1/2 cup dried unsweetened figs
1/4 cup dry roasted sunflower seeds
1/4 cup dry roasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
2 ripe bananas
1 teaspoon vanilla
- In a food processor, process the almonds, figs, and apricots until they are in small pieces, but not ground to a paste. I had thought about leaving them larger, and that might be a good option.
- Add the fruit and nuts to a large mixing bowl with the oats and seeds.
- Liquify the bananas in the food processor with the vanilla. Pour over the bar mixture and stir to combine.
- Press the mixture into the greased pan and bake for about 30 minutes or until the edges begin to brown. Watch carefully.
- Rest to cool on rack. Cut into bars when still slightly warm, but not too soon. Let cut bars continue to cool in pan before removing to rack to cool completely.
- Wrap bars individually in plastic or wax paper to take in lunch.