An Ode to Oats

dinoeggs

I think it’s fair to say we all remember those variety packs of Quaker Instant Oatmeal. The Strawberries and Cream or Peaches and Cream would of course be devoured first and then no one would want to eat the Cinnamon and Spice flavor. Luckily, my taste buds evolved and I discovered the goodness of oats, without the artificial pieces of fruit, heaps of sugar and dinosaur eggs. If you think oatmeal is just a mushy substance that has to be dressed up with a ton of brown sugar and raisins, you are missing out.

What to look for: Instant oats are fine and dandy for baking, but since they are more processed they are more quickly digested. If you want the “stick to your ribs” factor, old fashioned, steel cut, or oat groats are the way to go. Last year, I got hooked on Bob’s Red Mill oat bran. It has more of a Cream of Wheat texture and a good option to mix it up.

Here are some of my favorite ways to eat them:

 Overnight Oats

 Cold oatmeal might sound weird but the Swiss have been doing it for ages. One of the best things I ate in Europe was having Muesli every morning when I was visiting our family friends in Switzerland. The last few summers, my husband and I made overnight oats in regular rotation.

strawberries and cream overnight (1)

For one serving:

½ cup old fashioned oats (or oat bran)

1 Tbs of Chia Seeds

½-3/4 cup of Unsweetened Almond Milk (I usually add more in the morning as the Chia seeds absorb a lot of it)

2 packets of NuNaturals Stevia (or 1 Tbs sweetener of choice)

Cinnamon to taste

Cover the bowl (or a Mason jar if you’re feeling Pinteresty) and put in the refrigerator over night. In the morning, go to town with mix-ins. My favorite time to eat overnight oats is when August hits and the peaches are at their peak. I mix ½ a diced peach, toasted almond slices and unsweetened coconut flakes. Other ideas to throw in: strawberries, blueberries, pecans, walnuts, bananas, diced up apple, or protein powder. You can even add 1 Tbs of cocoa powder and peanut butter each to the oats before you put them in the fridge at night if you’re craving Reeses.

Steel-cut Slow Cooker Oats

Steel-cut Oats take forever to cook (I’m talkin’ 30 minutes) Ain’t nobody got time for that, especially on a weekday morning. I take my small crock pot (you have to use a plastic liner, otherwise you’ll be scrubbing your crock pot for hours), add 1 cup of steel cut oats, 4 cups of water, a dash of salt, and cinnamon.  Add sweetener and toppings in the morning. This makes 4 servings – just throw the leftovers in the fridge and heat them up the next couple of mornings after with some almond milk.

Apple Pie Oatmeal

½ cup old fashioned oats

Dash of Cinnamon and Apple Pie Spice

¼ of a apple, peeled and chopped

2 Tbs of Sugar Free Maple Syrup (or sweetener of choice)

Handful of chopped, toasted pecans (optional)

Heat ¾-1 cup of water in a small sauce pan, add apples and cinnamon (or apple pie spice) until apples start to soften (about 2 minutes). Add oats and sweetener; cook until water is mostly absorbed. Top with toasted pecans.

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