Friday 16 October 2015

Tahini, quinoa and apricot toasted muesli and World Food Day

I never understand people who don't eat breakfast.  I never leave the house without breakfast.  Even if I go out for brunch.  However I ricochet from dish to dish when it comes from what to eat for breakfast.  This year it is has been muesli.  The toasted kind that Americans call granola.  I've been eating chocolate muesli every morning.  All year.  So recently fancied a change.  Cindy raved about tahini muesli so I tried that.  And agreed with her.

The tahini gives the muesli a rich satisfying aroma, though the taste is not overwhelming.  This was enough for me as I like my tahini in small amounts.  I have been making muesli regularly all year but putting this together was fairly straightforward, as I have my method honed to suit me.  While I have found that cranberries are fine to add midway through baking, the apricot was a bit chewy when added in this way.

I had found myself happy to eat the chocolate muesli with plain yoghurt.  With the tahini muesli I am eating more yoghurt and less muesli so I find that I need a drizzle of yoghurt as well.  I also like to add some fruit if I have any about.  The muesli came with us on holidays and was a fine travel companion.  Easy to transport and a great way to start the day.  Especially when served with a peach and mango yoghurt.

Muesli is a fitting recipe to post on World Food Day.  It is one of my strategies for using up bits and pieces of nuts, seeds and dried fruit that otherwise would go to waste.  In fact, sometimes it seems anything goes.  I put some dried quinoa in this muesli (thanks Joanne) and also have recently seen Jules using psyllium husks in hers.

World Food Day is an opportunity to reflect on food waste and sustainability.  The food waste is staggering (for example see the infographics on Helpling or Food Wise).  In Australia on average, each household throws out 345kg of food per year.  Food waste means more carbon emissions, more landfill and unnecessary resources being used to product food.

I have reflected on my week and it is not all good.  I bought watermelon a couple of weeks back and went to use up some of it only to find it was covered in a yellow slime.  A couple of tomatoes I was about to use had gone mouldy.  The remains of a bunch of parsley was yellowing at the bottom of the fridge.  It can be a challenge to find the balance between eating enough good food to encourage us to eat well and not so much that it finds its way to the bin.  Not to mention the food Sylvia rejects.

But it is not all bad.  I have also found some ways that I have rescued food before it got to the bin.  I have:
  • used up old eggplant in a vegie and lentil stew
  • used up some stew leftovers for lunch
  • used up more stew leftovers by mixing with pasta
  • used up opened avocado in a rice salad
  • used up parsnips I'd bought on sale and the glace ginger from Christmas in a cake (recipe soon)
  • used up an over-ripe pear in a smoothie
  • used vegie scraps from my freezer stash to make stock

I am sending this muesli to Kimmy for Healthy Vegan Fridays, to Kate (on behalf of Elizabeth) for No Waste Food Challenge, and Mandy for Cook Blog Share.

More posts on Green Gourmet Giraffe about reducing food waste:
Back when we had a compost bin
Making nut balls using leftovers from crumbing tofu
The herbs and citrus in my garden
Making vegetable stock using vegie scraps
A soup using neglected greens

Tahini quinoa and apricot toasted muesli 
Adapted from Where's the Beef and Green Gourmet Giraffe

4 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup raw cashews, roughly chopped
1/2 cup raw quinoa
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup seeds (I used a mix of sesame, sunflower, linseed and hemp)
1 tsp mixed spice
pinch salt
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup rice bran oil (or other neutral oil)
1 cup chopped dried apricots

Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Lightly whisk together maple syrup, tahini and oil in a large jug until smooth.  Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until well mixed.  Tip into two large lined roasting tins.  Bake at 180 for 20-25 minutes, stirring halfway through.  Stir in dried apricots and leave to cool.  Store in an airtight container.

On the stereo:
My Head is an Animal: Of Monsters and Men


  1. I need to step up my game as this week I had to throw away a few mandarines. I'm always shocked when I read about food wastage statistics and make a vow not to contribute but I definitely need to organise my veggie drawers more effectively!

    1. Thanks Faye - it is shocking to read food waste stats but always feels like someone else is doing it so it is even more shocking to realise it is all of us. I do make an effort - I think I made that stew on Monday and finished off the pasta on Friday! We must have eaten it almost every day which is not a bad effort - but then I find I get these meals that last for days and I don't use the vegies I bought for other meals!

  2. I am a total tahini addict so I am definitely adding this to my list of things to try. It sounds amazing. I'm wondering what makes this muesli and not granola though...? Thanks for linking up with #CookBlogShare this week x

    1. Thanks Mandy - Granola is the term that Americans use for what we call toasted muesli in Australia - it is just a regional difference but it is always "muesli" to me because that is what I grew up with.

  3. Hehe for me it depends on what is on offer for breakfast but normally I eat it quite late. I love breakfast food but just can't eat it early in the morning. Lots of people lecture me about it and it gets tiring very quickly :P

    1. Thanks Lorraine - it is odd that I have never been a morning person but I do love to have breakfast when I get up - having a child about has made me able to go longer without food in the morning but I still need to eat before I leave the house. Seems not everyone is made the same way as me!

  4. I'm so glad you gave this a go! I'll have to try quinoa in my next batch.

    1. Thanks Cindy - I was more impressed with the addition of tahini than I expected. I was curious about adding quinoa and it is like one of the seeds - adds some nice extra protein and crunch.

  5. This muesli sounds rather nice. I would sub the quinoa for something else as quinoa and I are not on speaking terms, but I am sure there are plenty of things I could substitute. My next breakfast challenge is savoury porridge - not quite there yet!

    1. Thanks Cakelaw - the quinoa is not at all necessary - I just added it because I was curious but any other seeds would do in its place or you could just leave it out. I'd love to try a savoury muesli - have a recipe bookmarked so maybe one day.

  6. I love the concept of muesli but have never really embraced it - but definitely like the sound of this one and it sounds like a great way to start the day.

    1. Thanks Kari - given your love of cereal, I am surprised you are not so into muesli as it is good to snack on at any time of day. I think you would enjoy a muesli with a touch of tahini - I go on and off muesli but at the moment am eating it quite regularly.

  7. It's incredible to think each family throws away so much food! I do hate it when I see things I've paid good money for, going off in the fridge. I am trying to be more conscious of using things up and because I work from home, I've decided my lunches will consist of leftovers xx

  8. Oh wow that looks and sounds like a great way to start the day! I love tahini and quinoa so this is a must try! x #CookBlogShare

  9. I have been meaning to make your chocolate muesli for ages.... seeing this reminds me that I really should (no.... MUST) try making my own muesli at home. It sounds like the perfect start to the morning. I too love to add yoghurt when I eat it.... so much tastier than milk!
    Loving your photos too!!

  10. I also do not understand these non-breakfast eaters. It's giving you your first chance at fuel for the day! It's so important.
    I think I need to try harder at not wasting food. I know I'm much better than I used to be, but each week, I still tend to find things that need to be thrown out which is too much. It's a good reminder to work on this.
    Your muesli sounds delicious! I make parfaits a lot, so I'm keen to try a baked version.
    And I also enjoy listening to Of Monsters & Men =)

  11. Tahini muesli is a great idea!! Sounds amazing and I love how it uses up bits of nuts and seeds - a perfect entry for the No Waste Food Challenge!


Thanks for dropping by. I love hearing from you. Please share your thoughts and questions. Annoyingly the spammers are bombarding me so I have turned on the pesky captcha code (refresh to find an easy one if you don't like the first one)