Tuesday, July 24, 2012



About six years ago, P and I used to zip off for weekends in Athens, Malta, London, Lyon.  There was a springtime trip to Zurich, Switzerland for a few days. A great chill filled the air once night would fall and we'd duck inside a cozy restaurant for some beer and sausages.

Seeing myself these days, overtired, heavy into the third trimester with my second baby, I have to squint to see remnants of the old me.  I imagine a day might come again there is some balance in my life and some of the old me creeps back into this new version.  Surely there must be room for both.

I like to peel back the layers to get to that girl on Lake Zurich who had the luxury of just being a tourist with no real agenda.  Those were the days.  That was when I first tasted muesli.  Creamy with whole milk, an added spoonful of yogurt and so many shredded and mashed fruits inside to discover.  The crunch of a walnut, the surprising sweetness of a dried date.  We both filled our bowls that weekend.  The old me is still there after all.  She's the reason why muesli is not just a breakfast dish.  


Nicole in Zurich

Adapted from a Jamie Oliver recipe
Jamie uses dried apricots, which I omitted, but you can add whatever type of dried fruits you like.  I couldn't resist adding flax and chia seeds for a healthy dose of Omega 3's and 6's in the morning.  Make sure you read the recipe all the way through, since muesli is best when soaked in milk overnight before serving. 

8 handfuls of organic rolled oats
2 handfuls of ground bran
1 handful of chopped dried dates
1 handful of chopped walnuts
1 handful slivered almonds
2 large spoonfuls ground flax seeds
2 large spoonfuls chia seeds

Combine all of the above in a large bowl stirring well.  Store in an airtight container.  It will keep for several months.

Additional ingredients for making and serving:
Milk (at least 2 % or partially skimmed)
Berries or other seasonal fruits

The night before you want to eat it, place the amount desired in a bowl and cover with milk.  You can make more than you want for the next day and eat it over several days.  Grate in around 1/2 an apple per person and stir immediately to keep the apple from discoloring.  Cover and place in the fridge.  

The next morning, remove the bowl from the fridge.  The muesli will have softened and thickened, so add a little more milk.  Add a banana, sliced or mashed.  You can add honey to taste, if you like.  Serve in a bowl with a dollop of yogurt (optional) and some mixed fresh berries in summer.  Pear would be delicious in the winter.

Swan in Zurich


  1. Of course the old Nicole is still there--but now blended with the present-day Nicole. Your homemade museli looks just perfect topped with summer fruits. Hope you are enduring the NYC heat.

  2. Beautiful photos and you look so relaxed posing by that bridge!

  3. So this is how you prepare muesli. I've never really looked into it. I think my husband will love this. Thanks! And I like how content you look in this photograph. I just watched The Private Lives of Pippa Lee and have been thinking about the way it often feels we have lived various lives within a single lifetime. I hope I'm only about halfway there and, like you, I feel I've already lived a few.

  4. Nicole: each "life" (to use Denise's wording) brings new gifts, and sometimes they only show up after "soaking" a bit overnight...like your lovely muesli. You look adorable in this picture: free, content, open to the world.

  5. I love the swan picture, stunning. You will get back to your old self, I promise. Now that my youngest just turned three, I feel like I am at a turning point and getting back a part of my old life. Not that every moment in between wasn't lovely, you just have to push aside some of the fatigue and frustration to be able to enjoy it: it really does go faster than it seems. However, looking forward to meeting the new you!

  6. the currents of time ever-moving, we look back and it seems we've , lived other lives--so vastly different (and maybe less complicated?) from what is now. inevitable change can be tinged with a little sadness or regret.
    for that, I'm grateful for memories. But I'm glad to here-and-now, and looking for the adventures ahead.

    I have never made muesli, and why not?

  7. Nicole, all your posts are amazing, but this one struck a cord with me, as I also feel I have had multiple lives inside of one! I love reading all of them, and although I'm not a big cook in the kitchen, your writing and photos have inspired me! I can't wait to hear if Roman has a baby sister or brother in the fall!

    1. Suzanne, Thanks so much for your kind comment, it is very much appreciated. And thank you for reading!!

  8. I share your memories of Europe. Swiss muesli was our staple when we lived there - bircher muesli. I think my kids were born from that :)

  9. Nicole, I feel like I could have written this post (if you know what I mean). It made me so happy to read it--you have to squint a bit to see it there don't you? I have also been looking for a good muesli recipe to try--my husband has it every morning and rather than buy it from the bulk bin, I've been wanting to make my own mix. So thanks, two times over. And I'm thinking of you in your third trimester this August!


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