Oatmeal. What do you think of? Soft? Mushy? Bland? I have thought all these things. Recently I wrote a post about the beginnings of my oatmeal journey and I thought it was time I check-in again because I have a few discoveries and secrets to share.
Oatmeal on it’s own is pretty uninteresting. There’s no real depth of flavor but it’s a breakfast classic. Most of the time oatmeal is pictured to be this bowl of mush. To make it more interesting all sorts of things have been done to it including packets of instant microwavable flavored oatmeal. I remember this stuff from when I was a kid and let me tell you there are basically no nutritional value left in the oatmeal by the time it was served.
Some places like Starbucks offer you all sorts of goodie bags of toppings to add to your oat meal to make it more enjoyable and I will say they are on a better track with it.
Playing around with my own oatmeal at home I found a few tips and secrets.
- Use Steel-cut oats, they won’t sog (I know sog isn’t a word but have you had soggy oats? Then I think you would agree sog should be a word.) and they offer a better texture.
- Mix in a second whole grain. It will offer a healthier option of carbohydrates and it will be added fiber. Also this is a great opportunity to introduce some flavor.
- AFTER the grains are cooked, stir in the spices and/or cooked fruits as this will allow their flavors to really shine thought.
- Make a big batch and freeze them in individual portions. Just set out the night before to thaw (or in the fridge for 2 days).
- Reheat in the microwave for about a minute and a half.
- Steamed Milk! This is HUGE! If you have a way to steam milk or one of those milk-frothers that will work too. If you can’t steam your milk at least warm it.
- Dry your own fruit. This can be done in a low oven but dehydrators are relatively cheap and don’t need any attention to be paid to them once they are going. The best part about drying your own fruit is not only is it significantly cheaper than buying dried fruit but there’s NO SUGAR ADDED. Add to that you can have interesting things like persimmons and pears!
- Raw natural honey. This is both good for you and going to add an extra flavor to the oatmeal. Now a days you can find bee keepers that will focus on single origin honey’s. These are honeys that is made form bees getting pollen from a single type of flower. This allows the flavor or the clover, lavender and many others to come through in the honey.
One last thing. I also add nuts. I know this won’t work for everyone but I find adding the crunch texture to the oatmeal really helps the whole thing come together. If you can’t have nuts try other things that might add some crunch.
A sneak peek: For winter I am thinking of changing up my oatmeal and using Teff instead of Quinoa, a dusting of cocoa instead of cinnamon, dried cherries instead of the persimmons and pears, and chestnuts instead of pecans. Keep checking back to see how that turns out!