Although Hannah has generally been a much easier little bub to date (translate that as "Mummy and Daddy knew what to expect this time round") I have definitely found this stage of sleep deprivation more difficult to manage. I think that is simply because I don't have the chance to nap or rest when Hannah does. Between pre-school runs, swimming lessons, trips to the park, some part time work from home, and general housework all in addition to the demands of a new bub, this Mummy is definitely feeling burnt out. I also realised that in my rush to make the mad dash out the door on those busy mornings, I would often arrive at our morning activity to find that I had fed everyone else, but totally forgot breakfast for Mummy. And so began the horrible cycle of a hungry and tired Mummy reaching for snack food or anything to tie me over until proper food could be found.
So, I decided I'd try to commit to having a healthy, nutritious breakfast, figuring that a good start to the day would put me in good stead. I had a look at "health" cereals at the supermarket, but was shocked at just how expensive they are, and how little nutritional value a lot of them seem to have. I also noticed that most supermarket muesli's have those small round balls of evil (commonly known as sultanas or raisins) that I simply cannot stand the taste of. So I decided to try out my own concoction.
Amazingly, this is really simple to make, super-yummy, very nutritious, and I have found that I feel so much better generally. I'm still not getting much sleep, but this brekkie seems to have given me a kick of energy to get through the day better. It also keeps me fuller for a lot longer, and therefore stops me from reaching for those snackfoods. The pay off for my munchkins is that they have a Mummy who has lots more energy, and is much more tolerant with them, and is therefore generally much more fun to be around. I have found that I get my brekkie ready, and pour the milk on before I go to get Hannah up, then once she's had her morning breast-feed and is in her highchair, I spoon Hannah's food into her mouth, alternating with spooning mine into my mouth, and voila....multi-tasking at it's best, and Mummy has time to eat before the craziness of the day.
Here's what you need to try Wen's Homemade Toasted Muesli:
- 2 cups Rolled Oats (you can use quick-cook oats, but I personally like the whole ones)
- 2 cups processed bran / All-bran
- 1/2 cup dried apricots
- 1/2 cup whole raw almonds (with skin on)
- 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
- 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
- 1/4 cup maple syrup (the real stuff is always the best)
- 1/2 cup fruit juice (I have tried it with apple, orange and apple black-currant so far, and all worked great)
Ok, so I realise that with the maple syrup, it's not totally guilt-free, but if you divide the 1/4 cup of maple syrup between the approx 10 servings or so of muesli, it's really not too bad, and the toasted maple flavour is awesome!
You could play around with some other ingredients too ... I think dried cranberries and coconut would work brilliantly!! And if you're not at all like me and actually somehow like the taste of sultanas I guess I'd forgive you for adding them in too!
Now, I found that if you buy the no frills brand of these ingredients, and you buy them in large packets, it's really A LOT cheaper than the supermarket muesli's.
Here's how to make it:
Roughly chop your apricots and almonds. You still want biggish chunks, but just want to have some edges to get nicely toasted in the oven.
Add the maple syrup and mix really well to ensure it's well-combined. Then add the juice and mix it well too.
Spread the whole mixture over a large oven tray - I used a lamington / slice tin.
Put it in the oven at about 180 degrees celcius (I think that works out to be about 360 farenheit). Leave for about 10 minutes, then check it, give it a bit of a mix around, and put it back in for another 10 minutes. Continue this process until your mixture is totally dried out...you don't want any moisture left or it won't be crunchy. Also, it's really important to keep checking it and mixing it every 10 minutes or so, because the top bits can burn very easily and quickly. This whole process should take about 45-50 minutes. Wait for it to cool, then store in an airtight jar or container. It should last at least a couple of weeks. I serve 1 cup of muesli with 1 cup of cold skim milk, and of course that compulsory morning coffee!
Now I have to admit that I'm definitely not all the way there yet in terms of being the healthiest Mummy I could be (definitely a chocoholic), but this is a great start and I have loved how much better I feel. What an incentive to keep the health-kick going!
Here's to all the Mummy's who are trying desperately to stay sane whilst getting very little sleep! Happy Muesli-ing to you!!