Last night we met up with Pete’s best friend Clint at JPaul’s in Georgetown. I had two vodka sodas and two Shocktops. When I got home I dug into the remnants of this bag…
There were basically only crumbs left, but I was thinking of saving them to make a taco salad or tortilla soup this weekend. Guess my plan was foiled!
Yesterday my friend Dana (check her out at http://danantics.wordpress.com/) left me a comment asking about my morning oats, and I realized that I haven’t been very clear about how these bowls are put together. Most everyone has had instant oats before, but many people haven’t had stove-top oats. Let me tell you, this difference is amazing. Oats, in their minimally processed form, are a near perfect food. They’re a whole grain with tons of fiber, complex carbs, and protein! I like to think of my morning oats as a blank canvas for whatever flavors I’m craving that day.
Step One: Start with your base. I prefer old-fashioned oats. Steel cut oats are good, too, and have even more fiber, but they take longer to cook. You can also go with oat bran or oat groats, which are raw, for a new twist. If you choose old fashioned oats, use a 1:2 ratio of oats to liquid. You can choose any combo of water or milk (any type of milk works). I sometimes go with half milk and half water, but usually I save calories and go with all water.
Bring your liquid to a boil (maybe add a pinch of salt here to bring out the flavors), and then add your oats and reduce heat to a simmer. Stir constantly while oats cook. They should be done in about five minutes.
Step Two: Add your mix-ins.
Turn the stove off and add whatever you want to mix in. I like mashed banana a lot. Some people add their banana while the oats are cooking, which is tasty. I’m trying to incorporate as much raw produce as possible into my diet, though, so I add my banana at the end. I also add one tablespoon flax, a dash cinnamon, and a dash of skim milk. Popular things to add here include cottage cheese, canned pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice, chopped apple (maybe microwaved first to make it mushy and apple pie like), protein powder, etc. Go crazy and get creative!
Step Three: Finish with some toppings.
Now, you could stop here and have a delicious, oaty bowl. But you can also add some toppings to take your bowl to the next level! Consider things like chopped nuts, dried fruit, nut butters, cooked wheat berries, shredded coconut, granola, mini chocolate chips… whatever you want! The world is your oyster, my friend. Go nuts. Add your sweetener here (honey, agave, stevia, brown sugar, etc) after you’ve tasted your oats so you know how much you actually need. You’ll be surprised how good the natural sweetness of fruit is, though. I rarely add any sweetener to mine. Today I went with a tablespoon of almond butter.
I know that you may not have the time in the mornings to make oatmeal. I love it and it keeps me full for hours on end, so I try to make time for it. I have been known to put my oats into a travel mug and take it on the train with me when pressed for time! However, to get in some extra Zzzz’s in the morning, you can make most of your oats the night before and nuke them in the microwave in the morning. Just cook your oats in water and add a little bit of milk or water to your tupperware the next morning before you nuke em. You can add most of your mix ins the night before, but I’d avoid adding your fruit until the next morning so it doesn’t get soggy. Don’t add your toppings until the next morning either!
I hope this helped! I stick to a lot of the same combos with my oats, but check out some other bloggers (KERF!) who are more creative than I am for some great ideas!