Scientifically, granolas or mueslis are often recommended as the breakfast of choice because their long, slow release of energy keeps you active and alert. In addition, I often use a small pack of granola enhanced with a few M&Ms as a snack or a treat along the way. The chocolate gives you a short burst of zing – just the thing when the hill in front starts to look a little steep.
I usually make my granola at home and take it with me as a cereal in small serving-sized sealed bags. The bag can be used as an alternative to a bowl by simply cutting off the top and adding either UHT milk, UHT yoghurt or pureed fruit (in the squeeze bag). Granola does have a long cooking time, but you don’t really need to do anything labour-intensive apart from a little mixing from time to time.
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 90 minutes to 2 hours
You can mix and match the seeds and nuts in your granola to cater for different tastes and flavour combinations. Dried unsalted pumpkin seeds are a good alternative or an “as well as” to the seeds portion of your granola. I get my own out of pumpkins that I grow at home; sun-drying works well. To give a colourful boost (and some instant energy) to your granola or appeal to younger travellers (or even the not so young ones), try adding some Smarties, M&Ms or mini marshmallows. This is after baking and cooling of course. Or you could try adding dried fruit, chopped or whole, such as raisins, sultanas, apricots, mango or apple just before serving.
250gm rolled oats
100gm unsalted sunflower seeds
100gm unsalted cashews
3 tablespoons sesame seeds
100ml sunflower oil
4-5 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat your oven to 140°C/275°F.
Mix together the rolled oats plus the seeds and nuts in a shallow roasting tin.
In a small saucepan, heat the sunflower oil and honey for a few minutes, stirring well. Add the vanilla to the saucepan and mix. Pour the honey mixture over the oat/seed/nut mixture and mix thoroughly. A clean pair of hands is a good tool for this.
Bake at 140°C, stirring occasionally, until the granola mix is golden and crunchy. Allow the granola to cool and then store in an airtight container.
Pumpkin seed muesli
As with the previous recipe, the dried fruit that you use in your muesli is your choice. I am a huge fan of dried mango and raisins, whereas my husband prefers apricots. I have added the dried apple in the ingredients list for this muesli as an addition to the other dried fruit. The dried apple adds a beautiful flavour and texture to the muesli.
Be aware that some store-bought dried fruit may include chemicals that can bring on medical conditions. Best to dehydrate your own.
50gm unsalted pumpkin seeds
50gm sunflower seeds
50gm slivered or flaked almonds
200gm rolled oats
2-3 tablespoons shredded fresh coconut
100gm dried fruit, roughly chopped
50gm dried apple, chopped
Pop the pumpkin and sunflower seeds in either a food mill or food processor and pulse until they are roughly chopped. You can keep pulsing until the nuts and coconut reach a consistency that you prefer. Now place the chopped seeds as well as the coconut in a dry frying pan over a low heat. Heat until the seeds and coconut are very lightly toasted.
Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl and stir well. Store your muesli in an airtight container or in airtight or vacuum-sealed bags until ready to use.