Monday, June 4, 2012

Oatmeal Options

I love breakfast. I’ve always loved breakfast. In Italy, my roommates made fun of me for being excited about breakfast the night before. In college, my friends laughed at the mounds of fruit I poured over my cereal. But, throughout my lifelong love affair with the first meal of the day, I’ve never been all that excited by oatmeal. And I never put fruit on oatmeal. In fact, I told my Dad (a lover of fruit-topped oatmeal) that the combination of fruit (wonderfully fresh fruit) and mushy oatmeal was just wrong. Sorry, Dad. It turns out you were right on this one.

I’ve been on an oatmeal kick for the last few months. Here’s my favorite variation:

1/3 cup Gluten-Free Quick-Cooking Oats (Gluten-Free Rolled Oats are perfectly fine too)
2/3 cup water
maple syrup
shredded coconut (unsweetened)
dried cranberries
sliced almonds, toasted

1. Cook the oatmeal. (I zap it in the microwave for two minutes.)

2. Top with yumminess.

My friends Lisa and Lisa (not Lisa Lisa) have also become fairly oatmeal-obsessed. Here are their concoctions:

Oatmeal:  Banana Oatmeal Cookie Style
1/2 cup oats (multi grain, porridge style, or Irish oatmeal are all delightful)
1 cup water
Small banana cut up into small bite size pieces or mashed*
Honey or agave nectar
Chopped walnuts
Chia seeds (optional)

Put the oats and water in a saucepan and cook on medium-high heat for 3-4 min (or as the container of oats suggests). When done, turn off the heat and add the banana, a generous squirt or two of honey or agave (depending on preferred sweetness/calorie level), and a few chopped walnuts.  Sprinkle in some cinnamon and nutmeg according to taste preference, but go heavier on the cinnamon and lighter on the nutmeg.  Add some chia seeds (whole or ground) for some added nutritional benefit.  Stir it up and enjoy!!

*This is also delicious with a large handful of frozen raspberries (or mixed berries) in lieu of bananas.  Frozen is better than fresh in my opinion.  As the berries heat in the cooked oatmeal, they add additional juiciness (not to mention a fun color) which only adds to the decadence.  If you go this route, I would suggest not turning off the heat entirely as you stir in the frozen berries and other ingredients so that the oatmeal stays sufficiently warm prior to indulgence.

Cranberry-Maple Slow Cooker Oatmeal (makes 8 servings)
Non-stick Cooking Spray
4 ¾ cups water
1 ½ cups steel-cut oats
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup golden raisins
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup chopped dried pears
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla
½ tsp. salt

Combine everything in a 3 ½ -4 quart slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for posting and what great timing! In my quest for greater nutritional benefit, I have recently graduated to steel cut oats. In fact, just last night I made a full 4 serving batch (1 cup steel cut oats/4 cups water)on the stove and then added in the other ingredients in the berry version of the banana oatmeal style recipe. Basically, merried the two Lisa recipes together! Absolutely delightful, plus I have breakfast already prepared for the next 3 mornings... it's all about efficiency and healthy yumminess:) Cheers!
    Lisa L.