Did you know that eating oatmeal every day for a month has been shown to lower your cholesterol by 8 points? I've always loved oatmeal. Especially the flavored packets by Quaker Oats. Remember Apple Cinnamon, Maple Syrup Brown Sugar and Peaches and Cream? I've been experimenting with making my own flavored oatmeal, combining fresh fruit and healthy sweeteners. For me, these breakfasts are the absolutely best way to wake up and the possibilities are endless. (Image at right borrowed without permission from About.com. My digital camera isn't working right now... sorry guys!)
I swear by Old Fashioned Quaker Oats. I buy the huge box that has enough for about a month of breakfasts.
- 1/2 cup oatmeal
- 1 cup of water
- a dash of salt
Variations (this is where the fun kicks in):
For Peaches and Cream: Shred 1 fresh peach, skin-on with a grater, mix into oatmeal. If you want a creamy texture, add 1/3 cup milk or yogurt (with high fat content so that it doesn't curdle and make sure the oatmeal isn't too hot before you add it).
Ginger Pear: Grate 1 fresh pear and 1/2 teaspoon of fresh ginger of finely chopped (I use a lime zester). I have always wanted to try adding crystallized ginger but it's too expensive for me to buy right now. That stuff has a kick, let me tell you!
Almond Apple Cinnamon: Grate 1 fresh apple (I like Gala apples for this) and add a 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon. Crush a handful of whole almonds and sprinkle them on top for some added protein and calcium.
Peanut Butter and Banana: Pour the oatmeal over fresh banana slices. Stir in a teaspoon (or more) of peanut butter.
Chocolate, Peanut Butter and Banana: Same as above, but stir in some cocoa to desired darkness and taste. Cocoa is a great source of antioxidants!
Cranberry Citris: Before cooking the oatmeal, add about 1/2 table spoon of orange rind zest, 1 teapsoon lemon zest and 1 teapsoon lime zest. Cook as instructed above. Squeeze on some juice as desired. Sprinkle on dried cranberries or craisins and enjoy.
Those are my own concoctions. See below the recipe that inspired my oatmeal exploration:
From Mireille Guiliano, author of the book French Women Don't Get Fat
Grandma Louise’s Oatmeal with Grated Apple
"When we visited my grandmother in snowy Alsace, she used to serve us this delicious and filling breakfast rich in fiber and fruity nutrients. It is still one of my favorite winter breakfasts: true baby food for adults. My grandmother usually served her oatmeal variation with freshly baked brioche or kugelhopf (a wonderful cake with raisins and almonds that is one of the great specialties of Alsace). Today, I sometimes find it a filling meal unto itself and I skip the bread. If I want a little more protein, I have a bite of cheese or some yogurt."
1 cup old-fashioned oatmeal
2⅓ cups water
Pinch of salt
1 medium apple, coarsely grated
½ teaspoon lemon juice
⅓ cup milk
½ teaspoon butter
1. Combine the oatmeal, water and salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil.
2. Add the grated apple and lemon juice and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Add the milk and butter. Stir well and cook for 1 minute. Serve immediately, perhaps with a sprinkle of brown sugar or a drizzle of maple syrup.