Sunday, February 3, 2013

If This Is Oatmeal, Give Me More!

When my doctor told me to eat oatmeal for breakfast as often as possible, I turned up my nose.  I don't like oatmeal. Never liked the texture. I like my cereal to be crunchy, a little bit sweet, and swimming in icy cold milk.  I was never one of those kids who warmed up to a bowl-full of steaming oatmeal, Maypo, cream of wheat, etc. Yuck. Never.  My kids, on the other hand, always loved it, so I didn't let my prejudices influence their breakfast options!  Still, I'd never eat it.  But, now that my doctor "ordered" oatmeal-for-breakfast now and forever, along with other dietary and life-style changes (yes, the baking/testing and overall love of good food has made its physiological impact known, not a shocker), I am motivated if not inspired to be a good girl and do exactly as the doctor orders.

So, the baker in me has reconciled that, if I must eat oatmeal, I'm going to eat it on my terms, make it interesting, and if possible, delicious.  I always keep a canister of old-fashioned rolled outs in my pantry (for cookies, of course).  But for breakfast, the choice is steel-cut oats which carry even more nutritious impact than the rolled variety.  Oatmeal as breakfast is going to be as un-processed as possible - no paper packets of flavored and sweetened quick oats can provide the health boost I'm looking for.  While the packets are convenient, making a pot of real oatmeal is not a big chore.  It's relatively quick, especially if you buy the steel-cut oats that come up to a boil and simmer for just 5-7 minutes.  The water-to-oats ratio is 3:1.  For a single serving, you'd use 1/4 cup oats to 3/4 cup water.  Since it will be breakfast for me most mornings, I made a larger batch with 6 cups of water to 2 cups of oats.  Now I have a VERY quick breakfast every morning -- just have to scoop out a cup and microwave for about a minute, and my morning will be off to a warm and hearty (and yes, delicious!) start!

This oatmeal recipe is so good, I'd even eat a little bit of this for dessert!  To the just-cooked oatmeal, I stirred in chopped walnuts, dried cranberries, brown sugar, and little bit of pumpkin pie spice. For six-plus cups of oatmeal, there's just three tablespoons of brown sugar, and I believe the fiber and protein of the oatmeal off-set this little bit of natural sugar.

Here's my recipe for a big pot of oatmeal and photos of how it comes together (very easy!):

STEEL-CUT OATMEAL
(serves 6-8)

2 cups quick-cooking steel-cut oats
6 cups water
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries or raisins
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon spice (I used pumpkin pie spice - you can use cinnamon)

In large pot bring oats and water to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 7 minutes.  Remove from heat and let sit for about 5 minutes. Stir in walnuts, cranberries, and brown sugar.

Serve warm, and if you are inclined, add a little spritz of whipped cream!








rolled oats (left) and steel-cut oats (right)






Taa Daa!

26 comments:

  1. I love oatmeal! Add a little brown sugar a couple raisins (well a few) and I'm good to go!

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    1. It's such a simple food, and it's my goal to get the most out of the most basic foods. Trying to "shop the perimeter" and stay away from the processed stuff. Thanks, Anne!

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  2. I have always loved oatmeal, and this version sounds fabulous.

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    1. I had it for breakfast this morning, and it is fabulous! I can't believe I've learned to love oatmeal!

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  3. love oatmeal too !! have to get the steel oats theyare so much better taste and for you!! love to add lots of different combo. like the pumkin spice idea! yummy Sharron Eddy Cataldo

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    1. Seems there are a lot of oatmeal fans out there! Thanks, Sharron!

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  4. I never liked oatmeal either, until a roommate said use half water and half milk when you cook it (the water stops the milk from scalding and the milk makes it taste better). I am a convert--though now use soy milk. Also, this time of year pomegranate seeds, cinnamon, and a little almond butter...breakfast of champs! No need for brown sugar with this mix--if sugar is an issue, too.

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    1. Ooh Marla, that sounds so good! Love the idea of almond butter! I've never had pomegranate seeds - will look for them. You need a hearty breakfast with those two little munchkins! :)

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  5. I am an oatmeal lover too, even love cream of wheat! I use the paper Quaker round container too, but forgo the stove and use the micowave. Much to Rod's chagrin I even eat it for dinner some nights! Yum!!!! Lynnie

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    1. People at work use the "just add hot water" containers too. I know it when I suddenly smell cinnamon or maple or brown sugar!

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  6. I too am NOT an oatmeal lover, never have been, keep saying I never will be. I don't even like the packets of sweet "oatmeal". Like you, my kids love the stuff. I will have to give your recipe a try -- certainly can't hurt an aging digestive system. Thanks for the delicious sounding recipe and I'll let you know if you have made me a convert. Sue

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    1. Sue, I think you and Pete would like this version. Give it a try and let me know!

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  7. Just love oatmeal! I make it with milk ,it makes it creamer. I like you version Jeanne !, now if I can convince John that oatmeal can have other things beside raisins and brown sugar in it ! He is so set in the way he likes certain foods,it drives me crazy..Good thing he DOSE NOT know I use milk instead of water when I make it! Oatmeal has been a quick meal many times other than breakfast in my house. CKJ

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    1. Cindy, this recipe doesn't need milk, though that might make it more opaque. But it's plenty creamy even with water. Had it again this morning!

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  8. i am also not a big oatmeal fan but when I do make it, I make it with milk so it is creamier and flavor it with vanilla extract and lots of Splenda to make it sweet.
    Melissa favors oatmeal with sugar free maple syrup, not my favorite, but I think you must do whatever you can to disguise the real flavor.
    I know it is good for you but it has to taste good as well
    Good luck with the battle

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    1. Thanks so much, Judy! Actually, the steel-cut oats have a nice flavor. My nutritionist said to add a lot of cinnamon - it's great for you!

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  9. This looks right up my alley cant wait to try it!
    Thank you for all the great recipes
    XO
    http://abpetite.blogspot.com/

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    1. Thanks Ashlee! It really is a great way to eat oatmeal! Appreciate your comment!

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  10. I love oatmeal and will try it now with cranberries,and walnuts- that sounds great. I've never used the steel cut oats, so will look for those too! Thanks for the idea.
    Susan M

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    1. My pleasure, Sue! Let me know how you like it!

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  11. I have oatmeal for breakfast Monday - Friday at work. I have the Quaker Weight Control packets and I have to say, I love them. Banana Bread, Cinnamon, Maple & Brown Sugar, what's not to love? They are warm, filling and smell so great. That being said...I'm going to pick up some steel cut oats and give them a whirl. I am definitely an oatmeal kind of girl!

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    1. Di - there's a great recipe for crock pot oatmeal too - if you have a crowd for breakfast, you set it up before you go to bed and let it cook all night. In the morning, there you are! If you search this blog for Alton Brown's crock pot oatmeal, you should find it easily!

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  12. Funny that you would bring up the crock pot oatmeal...I saw a couple of great recipes on Pinterest for this. I thought what a great idea for busy weekend mornings when everyone is up and going at different times.

    I used to stay far far away from oatmeal - loved my Cream of Wheat with the rivers of yellow butter floating away! But I have learned to love oatmeal and all the ways that you can change it up.

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    1. Oatmeal is the "new" old breakfast! Love it!

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  13. I'm intrigued...
    Does just the 1 cup fill you up enough?

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    1. Teresa, it really does. It's very satisfying, and I find that I'm not hungry around 10 am like I normally am with other breakfasts!

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