With February drawing to a close, I’d been feeling pretty good about not having dropped into too much of a funk during this the dreariest of months. But it occurred to me today that I actually am a little less “myself” than usual, and it’s only really obvious in the kitchen. I’ve fallen into a food rut, and I’m finding it difficult to get out.
I normally get a kick out of perusing my cookbooks and planning a good meal, but lately I’ve been making the same (boring) things over and over, and I haven’t had any desire to experiment or spend time puttering in the kitchen (okay, except for the marmalade, which I think was a desperate attempt at self-soothing).
So this afternoon I decided to try and snap myself out of it by flipping through one of my favorite cookbooks.
The Hollyhock cookbook is a collection of recipes that are served at the Hollyhock Retreat Centre on Cortes Island, which is a remote island that lies halfway between BC’s mainland and northern Vancouver Island. The recipes in the book are largely vegetarian (with the occasional seafood dish thrown in), and strike the perfect balance between decadent and healthy – spa food at its best. What better way to shake me out of my winter doldrums?
After glancing through the recipes for awhile, I was feeling relatively inspired and decided to whip up a batch of muesli for tomorrow’s breakfast. Muesli is a Swiss invention consisting of oats, grated apple and dried fruit, which is often soaked in fruit juice or yogurt overnight to soften the mixture. It’s hearty and very satisfying, and pretty much the only way I can get my daughter to eat oatmeal.

Muesli with Dried Cranberries and Coconut (from Hollyhock Cooks):

  • 1 cup whole rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup dry unsweetened cranberries (I often use dried cherries instead)
  • 1/3 cup toasted slivered almonds (I usually don’t bother toasting them; other nuts can be substituted)
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced dried apricots
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 2 cups plain yogurt
  • 1 cup shredded apple

In a large bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients well before mixing in the yogurt and apple. Refrigerate overnight and enjoy the next morning. Add more yogurt each day if you want to keep it really moist. The oats will continue to soak up all the moisture.

We usually stir in a little extra yogurt while serving to freshen it up a bit, and then top it off with a drizzle of honey. Fresh fruit can also be added. I’m hoping that this fortifying breakfast will give me the extra little push I need to get through the last day of February, helping me to start March off like a lion.

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