Everything is more beautiful from sunrise to nine in the morning. My mind is made up on the matter.

From as far back as I can remember I’ve been an early riser. As long as there is even a hint of sunlight I’m content to be outside — typically strolling, sometimes biking, rollerblading, hiking. Alone with my thoughts and nature, experiencing the world in a way most others aren’t awake for. The sights, the sounds, the smells, every sense hyper-engaged. It feels almost like that morning was made just for me.

Whether I am out of doors doing something physical, or at the very least doing yoga by the window as morning’s first light pours inside, I feel positively energized and rejuvenated afterward. Ready, hungry for an equally as nourishing breakfast.

Occasionally it’s sauteed greens and mushrooms smothered in yolk from a lightly poached egg. Other times it’s toasted slices of homemade bread topped with peanut butter, sliced dry figs and a drizzle of honey. Often it’s my favorite recipe for toasted muesli with mixed nuts and seeds.

Muesli — have you had it? The simplest definition would be a sort of cold, uncooked porridge originating in Switzerland. It consists of untoasted rolled oats mixed with milk or yogurt, and is usually topped with fresh or dried fruit, and nuts. A terrific thing about muesli for me is that it can play multiple roles: serve it hot or cold, eat it as a nutritious snack, mix it into yogurt or other cereals, or use it in baking.

My version of muesli is healthy without being boring. Packed with wheat germ and wheat bran, and a hearty, flavorful combination of toasted oats, nuts and seeds, it leaves you satisfied without weighing you down, and is nourishing to the body.

Why not greet the sun one of these mornings? Or even if you can’t pull yourself from under the covers until after nine, make it a great day with toasted muesli with mixed nuts and seeds.

And to those of you who, like us, met irascible Irene: I hope you and yours are well. You are in my thoughts.

Toasted Muesli with Mixed Nuts and Seeds [makes approximately 3 1/2 cups]

Printable recipe

This recipe is easily doubled, and extras can be frozen in tightly sealed containers or bags. Try variations of nuts, seeds and grains as you like. If you need GF, omit the wheat germ and bran.

3 c old-fashioned rolled (not quick-cooking) oats

1/2 c raw whole walnuts

1/2 c raw whole almonds

1/4 c wheat germ

1/4 c wheat bran

3 T raw pepitas (green pumpkin seeds)

3 T sesame seeds

3 T raw shelled sunflower seeds

2 T flax seeds

1/2 c lightly toasted unsweetened coconut, optional

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Spread the oats out on a large jelly roll pan and bake 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned and toasty. Keep a close eye on this, as it has the potential to burn the instant you walk away. Remove from oven when done, pour into a large bowl and set aside to cool.

Spread the almonds and walnuts out in a single layer on the same pan used for the oats. Keeping the oven at 350° F, bake 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown. Remove from the oven, add to the bowl with the oats and set aside once more.

In the meantime, warm a large skillet over medium high heat. Toast the pepitas, sesame seeds and sunflower seeds until golden. Toast several minutes, tossing frequently, until lightly golden and aromatic.

Combine everything, including the wheat germ, bran and flax seeds, in a large bowl or jar and mix well. The germ and bran have a tendency to settle, so give it a good stir or shake before dishing out.

Serve with a handful of dried or fresh fruit that has been coarsely chopped or grated, a drizzling of honey or maple syrup, and — to bring it all together — yogurt or milk. To achieve a porridge-like consistency, stir together the muesli and yogurt or milk in a bowl, and allow it to sit, covered, in the refrigerator overnight; heat in the microwave or enjoy cold.

(Shown above: section of fresh papaya topped with homemade whole milk yogurt, muesli, squeeze of lime juice and a squidge of honey.)

Adapted from Jen at delightful delicacies

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