Thursday, June 2, 2011


Oatmeal for Breakfast? 
Isn't that just for Gramps + Grams?
Yeah, I found myself thinking that too. 
But, then I got all nostalgic and remembered those sleepy mornings in college when I was living with my Gramps + Grams, and guess what...Oatmeal for Breakfast!
Brings a little tear to my eye (Miss you gramps).
Anyways, this Oatmeal isn't that stuff you buy pre-fabricated in a "Just add Water" box. It's the real stuff. The good, ol' warm-your-belly-from-the-insides stuff. The stuff that keeps you going long through the lunch hour and straight into dinner. That kind of stuff.
So let me tell you how I got here this morning. I blame (or 'thank' actually) FoodHappy. This incredible blog that I've been raving about since she opened with her flagship post a couple months back. So anyways {I get a little carried away when I really like something}, she did a post on Oatmeal and 7 simple variations to jazz up the old girl. Then after reading it in full, and gazing at her fun food pictures, she got me into thinking that this 'Oatmeal' stuff might actually not be so bad. 
Seriously, People. This stuff isn't actually that Bad!! There I said it! Now your turn!
See, I should have probably started out with why I didn't like the stuff {and 'Stuff' meaning Oatmeal, in case you didn't get that}. It stems back to living with Gramps + Grams....and yes, they did serve oatmeal for breakfast, but it was the basic cooked oats method. No added pleasures, unless you count the occasional milk and perhaps a little brown sugar indulgence {ohh, but that was only for when they where feeling a little risky!!}. So Oatmeal to me was, well, sorry to say, Blah.
But then.........FoodHappy showed up. 
With her awesome suggestions, and healthy eating. I was sold. And gave the old oatmeal girl another chance. 
Now, I also have to admit something, because I can guarantee Husband is reading this going, "Yeah Right, Erinn.....where's the catch? Just because it's Healthy? Please!", and he would be right. In FoodHappy's post she lists 7 awesome and delish ingredients to add to your basic oatmeal, and guess which one originally caught my eye? Yep, the one with the Strawberry + Hazelnuts + Nutella. And it wasn't the hazelnuts or strawberries that sold me. It was the Nutella. Really healthy choice right?
So there, the truth is out. 
I made it with the secret intention of drizzling my oatmeal in a bowl full of nutella, and well, after prepping my oats, and cutting my strawberries, I realized, I was out of Nutella. Seriously. It was like the "Peter God" was watching me the entire time and laughing. So having zero Nutella on hand forced me to try another one of her delish variations, and to be honest, I'm kinda happy it did.
I went with the Peanut Butter + Banana + Honey combo and gobbled the bowl right up!
Whew, can you believe this entire post was on Oatmeal, ohh where we find inspiration!
Here's FoodHappy's Basic Oatmeal Recipe exactly, with her added variations on flavors exactly.
{But go to her website and see her pic's yourself. It's a pretty fabulous place}
FoodHappy's Basic Oatmeal
Makes 1 serving (enough to get me through to lunch no problem) and can be easily scaled up to make more!
1/2 cup of quick-cooking oats (the 3-5 minute kind)
1 cup of water, milk or equivalent *
1 big pinch of salt
1) Combine all ingredients in a small pot and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring frequently (constantly, if you can).
2) Once at a boil, reduce heat to a medium-low and cook for 3 - 5 minutes, or until oatmeal has reached desired consistency, stirring frequently (constantly, if you can). Eat as is, or add in all kinds of tasty!
*You can use any sort of thin liquid, like soy, almond or rice milk - just remember to adjust the amount of sweetener (like honey) you add if you use a pre-sweetened liquid.
**You can make oatmeal in the microwave by combining all ingredients in a micro-wave safe bowl and heating it on high for 90 seconds, stirring halfway through. I think the stovetop method produces a nicer consistency, but the microwave method is great when you've got little time to spare!
Tasty Variations:
Nutella + fruit + hazelnuts
The idea: Is it dessert? Is it breakfast? It’s breakfast, I say!
The method: Stir 1 generous tablespoon of Nutella into hot, cooked oatmeal. Top with a generous handful of sliced/diced strawberries and/or bananas and small handful of chopped toasted hazelnuts.
Cinnamon + walnuts + candied ginger + brown sugar
The idea: Warm, sweet, crunchy - perfect for a chilly morning.

The method: Stir in 1/4 tsp of cinnamon at the beginning of the cooking process. Top cooked oatmeal with a small handful of toasted walnuts, chopped candied ginger, and a bit of brown sugar (honey or maple syrup would be great too!).
Cinnamon + raisins + egg + brown sugar
The idea: Kind of like custardy rice pudding, only way faster.
The method: Add 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon and 3 tablespoons of raisins at the beginning of the cooking process. When the oatmeal is 1-2 minutes away from being done, stir in a beaten egg. Continue stirring until the oatmeal has reached your preferred consistency (constant stirring will ensure that the egg makes the oatmeal silky and not scrambly). Top with a bit of brown sugar and milk.
Banana + nutmeg + brown sugar
The idea: One of my favourites! This one packs tons of flavour with minimal effort.
The method: Top cooked oatmeal with a sliced banana and a good grating of fresh nutmeg (grating is totally worth it!). Add a splash of milk and a bit of brown sugar (or honey), if you so please!
Peanut butter + banana + honey
The idea: Like the sandwich you ate when you were little (or, if you’re me, last week). You’ve got to try this one!
The method: Stir 1 tablespoon of peanut butter into hot, cooked oatmeal. Top with a sliced/diced banana and a drizzle (~1 tablespoon) of honey.
Chocolate + strawberry
The idea: Chocolate and strawberries? No explanation necessary!
The method: Stir 2 tablespoons of grated dark chocolate into hot, cooked oatmeal and top with a big handful of sliced strawberries (raspberries would be awesome too!).
Berries + cream + almonds
The idea: Fresh, sweet, and a little bit luxurious.
The method: Top cooked oatmeal with a generous handful of fresh berries, a tablespoon of cream, and a small handful of toasted slivered almonds. If your berries aren’t super-sweet, you may want add a drizzle (~1 tablespoon) of honey too!

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