When I was recording what I ate to document my month of being a vegetarian, I got a little sick of writing down what I had for breakfast each day. I kept thinking that anyone reading would think that I have the most boring, repetitive start to the day. Muesli & yoghurt, yoghurt & muesli.
But the thing is I love my breakfasts, especially my muesli. I look forward to it every morning. While in writing it may sound like the same thing day in, day out, in reality it’s a new experience every time because I play around with the details.
So I thought I’d share with you a few tips on adding excitement to breakfast. But I’m always on the lookout for new ideas, so please feel free to share your secrets.
9 tips for adding excitement to your breakfast
1. stew some apples
My latest addition has been the redisovery of stewed apples. My mum used to make them all the time but I don’t think I had ever stewed my own. That was until a colleague of my Irishman’s kindly passed on a swag of golden delicious which inspired me to try it out. I’m loving the soft, not-too-sweet fruit with my muesli these days. So comforting and good.
2. add a sprinkling of bran
We all know the importance of fibre in our diets but it can be a bit daunting to sit down to a whole bowl of all bran. So I choose to sprinkle a little over my muesli (and apples). Oat bran is another good thing to include as it’s high in soluble fibre which has been linked to reducing cholesterol levels.
3. warm milk
Such a simple thing, but it makes a whole world of difference to your cereal experience. The dried fruit seems plumper and more flavouresome and everything is just a little toastier and warming. Just the thing for wintery mornings.
4. vanilla yoghurt
While I love the tartness of natural yoghurt, sometimes it good to sweeten it up. I find commercially flavoured yoghurts tend to be on the fake vanillin end of the spectrum, so I’ve started making my own. Just make a strong sugar syrup and steep some vanilla beans in it, then cool and mix though your natural yoghurt.
5. reworking leftover desserts
If there’s leftover dessert in the fridge, it can be hard to resist. So I like to add things like rice pudding, rhubarb crumble, or poached apricots in with my muesli & yoghurt for something a little different.
6. play cereal mix & match
When I worked for a cereal company, one of the ‘perks’ was free breakfast. It always surprised me how many people would be happy to have just a bowl of one type of cereal each morning. I loved being able to mix it up and customise my breakfast.
7. add a little crunch
A handful of toasted almonds or some toasted muesli can add some welcome textural interest.
8. try a different serving vessel
For some reason I prefer to eat my muesli out of a glass. I suspect it’s because you get to see the pretty layers of muesli and yoghurt and fruit. And you can fill it right to the top without it being too much. But every now and then I have it in a bowl and it feels like a whole new breakfast. Maybe I am a bit crazy, but I feel the same way about eating with teaspoons and dessertspoons.
9. switch to savoury
A naughty mid-week bacon sarnie every now and then can make you appreciate the simplicity of your morning muesli all the more.
For more breakfast ideas check out the post I wrote last year – 7 secrets to a healthy breakfast.
stewed apples as good as nannas
I’ve used both cooking and eating apples for this. Each gives a different texture with the eating apples holding onto their shape and resisting the urge to turn into mushy stewed apple goodness more than their cooking cousins.
I like to leave the skins on because I’m very lazy when it comes to peeling things and the skins add an interesting texture. But feel free to peel if you are delicate about these things.
You don’t really need a recipe. It’s more of a chop up the apples, bung them in a pot with a splash of water and some sugar, simmer until cooked enough for you, taste and add a little more sugar if needed and you’re done. But I thought I’d give quantities just in case.
If you’re worried about your apples browning and you’re a slow chopper, you can either splash a little lemon juice over the cut apples as you go. I prefer to get the first few apples cooking and add to the pot as I chop. Heat deactivates the browning enzyme and avoids the problem of having lemony apples.
6 apples (approx 1.4kg or 3lb)
Cut apples in half lengthwise then chop each half into 2 or 4 depending on how big the apples are. Cut out the core bit.
Pop them in a saucepan with the sugar and water and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook over a medium high heat at a brisk simmer, stirring occasionally for 15-20 minutes or until some apples are mushy but a few are still holding their shape – or however you like them.
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