Does everyone use the expression “feeling your oats” or was it just my family growing up? Nutritionally, it makes a lot of sense. Oats are full of complex carbohydrates which give the body a slow release of energy for hours. They are one of my favorite breakfast foods, especially when it is cold outside. What could be better than a hot, steaming bowl of oats?
Carbohydrates have gotten a bad rap in the past couple of decades with the surge of low-carb diets. It made me want to cry to hear people on low-carb diets talk about whole grains as “fattening,” or even avoid healthful fruit and vegetables like bananas and carrots because they were trying to lose weight! I think if anyone who is overweight really examines their diet, they’ll find that no, the culprit of their weight gain was not that they ate a few too many carrots! 😉 And it was not that bowl of oatmeal they had for breakfast, either.
One of my favorite kinds of oatmeal is steel cut oats. Have you tried these chewy and creamy oats yet? Ever since I discovered them about a year ago, I have to say, rolled oats just don’t do it for me anymore. With rolled oats you have to make a choice: do I want them creamy, or do I want some texture? For creamy oats, stir the oats into the liquid when it is still cold, and stir throughout cooking. For textured oats, bring the liquid to a boil, add the oats and give them a quick stir, and then leave them alone while they cook.
Enter steel-cut oats. Bring water to a boil, stir in the oats, and then let them simmer for a good half an hour, stirring intermittently. The slow cooking time releases all the starch to create the creamiest bowl of oats you can imagine, but the grains are still chewy. Yum, yum, yum!
Now comes the fun part – toppings! Here’s where you can really get creative. I always add some sort of nuts to my oatmeal. Today I used raw walnuts, which are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. Often I use a healthy dollop of peanut butter, grabbing a tiny bit on my spoon with every bite. (My husband stirs it right in, which to me just ruins the creamy texture and dilutes the taste of the peanut butter, but hey, different strokes for different folks!) Dried fruit is another great addition. Today I added these lovely dried cranberries from Eden foods. I love that they are sweetened with apple juice concentrate. And then of course, the sweetener. Some people don’t use anything (like my husband), but I like just a drizzle of maple syrup on my oats.
If you really want to jazz up your oatmeal, check out one of my favorite food blogs, Kath Eats Real Food. She is the blog world’s queen of oats! I’ve tried her whipped banana oatmeal (with nondairy milk, of course) and it is wonderfully delicious and creamy. Check it out!
What is your favorite way to eat oatmeal?