Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Keeping fit the pleasant way...

I've been looking forward to June all year.

My very frugal, retro Kellogg's calendar bought in the January sale mostly has pleasant but slightly saccharine pictures for each month. Blonde, curly haired children tucking into bowls of rice crispies and 1950s housewives serving up wholesome trays of breakfast.

But June features this babe.

She makes me smile every time I look at her. I can identify with that mad-eyed stare and rictus grin. And next time someone tells me about their latest half marathon I'm looking forward to telling them all about how I keep fit the pleasant way...(followed by a pincer fingered tweak of my collar).

Actually I'm not very keen on bran flakes. Nor anything Kellogg's style that goes gooey in milk. (Please don't tell the totally high on fibre Kellogg's lady). No, at the moment we're keeping fit...the pleasant way...with overnight oats.

We were reminded of these by my sister, who'd found them on Pinterest or Instagram and had been salivating (probably with a look on her face just like the Kellogg's lady) over glorious images of overnight oats tastefully layered with fruit and homemade yogurt in mason jars.  

It's another name for the original Bircher muesli, which consisted of oats soaked in yogurt with nuts and grated apple. Whatever you call them they're a great way for keeping fit pleasantly, and soaking up all that nasty cholesterol when it's too hot for porridge.

We don't bother with aesthetic mason jars, but soak our oats in individual bowls overnight in the fridge. This accommodates different family tastes. Some like nuts and seeds, some don't.

The recipe is one third oats, one third milk and one third natural yogurt but it's not a fine art and can easily be thrown together with a bit of guesswork. You can add nuts, seeds and fruit (dried or fresh) according to personal preference, either in the evening when you soak the oats or in the morning. 

I like a drizzle of runny honey on mine. After all it is such fun keeping fit!


  1. That calendar drawing is hilarious! And I'm sure you tie your hair up so tidily each day, as well!

  2. Wait... so you don't cook them at all? Just soak them? Are these rolled oats or steel cut oats?

    OK... sorry to pummel you with questions, but you're intrigued me!

  3. Bircher muesli! Thanks for reminding me. We used to make this regularly when the children were little. They would make it in the evening before bed. Sometimes they would grate apple in as well, then in the morning they could get up, let us sleep in, and breakfast would be all ready for them in the fridge. Apparently it makes the oats much more digestible to soak them overnight, so good for little tummies.
    We always used quick oats, as they made a nice sludge, but I believe steel cut oats are the bomb for this - they soak better than rolled. What did you use Sarah?

  4. I was trying to come up with a new way of eating oats! This is a great idea, thanks...oh and I love your calendar page.

  5. My 9 year old will often choose to have oats and milk (with cinnamon and nutmeg) for breakfast, just as they are. I haven't made Bircher muesli for years, we're on a bit of a homemade granola kick at the moment.

    I'd say they look like rolled oats in the photo (second guessing Sarah) and I'm not sure I've ever seen steel cut oats for sale in England. A bit of oatmeal, but pinhead and other steel cut oats tend to be a Gaelic thing, I think. Also (sorry, taking over the comments now) rolled oats are actually partially cooked during their processing, unlike the cut ones, so perhaps that predisposes them to uncooked recipes like this? It's how Connie manages to eat them straight from the packet for breakfast :-)

  6. To respond to all the comments so far...there is truly no cooking involved Cat! These are just oats soaked overnight. Hazel's right with her second guess - I used Aldi everyday rolled oats because I'm a cheapskate and we happen to have a big bag in the cupboard. I'm not entirely sure what steel cut oats are but Jo's very trustworthy so I'd be happy to give them a go too. I'll get round to giving jumbo oats a try some time. I do have pinhead oatmeal in the house but I'm not sure that would work such a treat. Like Hazel's 9 year old, my 10 year old will eat porridge oats straight from the packet, plain with milk, but likes overnight oats. What I forgot to say in the blog post was that the oldest person in the house likes them very much because they are easier on his dodgy tooth than neat muesli!

  7. What a great idea. I eat porridge or oatbran most of the year, then tend to switch to muesli in summer, but this sounds nicer. I soak the oats for 5 minutes before I make porridge, because this reduces the cooking time, which saves energy and reduces the stirring time (every second counts in the mornings!). No cook oats sounds even better - I will try preparing some tonight:)

    I put all kinds of things in my porridge to make it different each day. Finely diced over-ripe pears and mixed spice is great and they have more flavour when they are soft and juicy, but spotty bananas and pecans, dried cherries and flaked almonds or blueberries (dried or fresh) and pumpkin seeds are equally as good. Any slightly aged fruit goes straight in.

    1. That's a good idea about soaking the oats pre-porridge cooking. I love the sound of the things with which you accessorise your porridge, although I'm a big fan of plain porridge with milk and brown sugar...

  8. In Oz we sometimes soak in orange juice overnight and this makes for a softer oat. Add the yoghurt in the morning with honey and fruit, seeds and nuts. Yum Yum. First time i had it was at a big 5 star hotel in the city and it was devine.

  9. The face of that lady is quite...frightening :) I haven't made muesli in a while. Thanks for the reminder. So easy and tasty.

  10. I'm going to suggest this to my son. I think he would really like to do this.