Thursday, November 5, 2009

Kat: The Morning After

This post is my love song to oatmeal.

I discovered oats as a breakfast choice about a year ago. Actually, "discovered" is the wrong word. I ate my fair share of those single serving sugar-drenched oatmeal packets as a kid; I vividly remember fighting over the strawberry packet from the variety box with my brother, and wanting to die when there was only banana or blueberry left. Nowadays, I don't think I could digest that much sugar in one sitting, and I think those things should not even be considered food, but I digress.

Oatmeal is by far my breakfast of choice. I eat it almost every morning and love every bite. My boyfriend looks at me like a crazy person when I dive into what he considers the exact same breakfast day after day. I think he is crazy for underestimating the possibilities of this warm, nutritious, and delicious food.

I generally rotate between three varieties of oats; steel cut (Irish), quick-cooking (Old Fashioned), and oat bran. Each have different textures and cooking times. Here's what I have learned from my Year of Oats:

Steel Cut
The inner part of the oat kernel and the least processed of the oats, making them chewier (in a good way!) and lengthening the cooking time
15/20 minutes to cook

Quick Oats
The oat is flattened, giving the kernel more surface area, thus shortening the cooking time
About 5 minutes to cook

Oat Bran
The finest texture of all three; produces what I consider a porridge-like consistency
Takes 5/10 minutes to cook

I use the same formula for cooking no matter which oat I choose:
1/2 c. oats
1/2 c. soy/rice milk
1/2 c. water
1/2 banana, thinly sliced

Bring water, milk, & banana to a simmer. Stir in oats. Simmer until grain is cooked to taste.

After the cooking is done, the creativity begins! When I first began eating oats this way, I had to mix in a lot of fruit, pumpkin pie spice, and vanilla in it to make it sweet enough (like training wheels!). Now, I usually don't put much more than almond butter and a sprinkle of chia seeds or ground flax. Here are some variations:

The basic: steel cut oats topped with ground flax and a spoonful of almond butter

Steel cut again with frozen raspberries (my trick is to put 1/2 cup still frozen berries on the bottom of my bowl, and then pour the hot oats on top...this instantly thaws the berries and cools the oats down enough to start eating!), chia seeds, and almond butter.

Oat bran with ground flax and pecans

My all time favorite...pumpkin oats! Right before I take the cooked oats off the stove, I stir about a 1/2 cup of pumpkin and heat through. This is topped with chia and pumpkin seeds.

Oh, and I almost forgot, oats are good for you too! They are a great way to lower bad cholesterol and are good sources of both fiber and iron.

Bon Appetit!


  1. Since the weather turned cold I've suddenly been craving oats! So much that I just bought a huge 50 ounce container of them. Love your ideas. I've been putting a scoop of PB, a spoon of fig jam, oat milk, cinnamon, honey, and flax meal in mine.

  2. oooo. fig jam. where did you find that? Sounds amazing in oats!

  3. I like the oat lesson and the variety is fantastic!

  4. Err... I don't eat oats unless it's the only option I have. However, I do add it into bread and bake them for my sons and mom regularly because I do agreed that oats are healthy:)