2 simple secrets to great oatmeal

2 simple secrets to great oatmeal

One glance down the cereal aisle at the grocery store, and you know that oatmeal is far from the most popular kid on the block. In fact, oatmeal accounts for a tiny percentage of foods consumed at breakfast. And that’s really sad because oatmeal is versatile, delicious, inexpensive, and good for you.

It costs far less per serving than a bowl of commercial cereal, is completely natural, and has no sugar in it, making it much healthier. Sure, you say, but it tastes like a pile of paste! Well, if that’s what you think, you haven’t had real oatmeal, and you haven’t used your imagination.

What’s real oatmeal? Most of the oats sold in stores are rolled oats, whether old-fashioned or quick. There is a third category called steel cut oats, which have been cut into smaller pieces rather than rolled flat. Perhaps the rolled oats became more popular because they cooked faster, but the steel cut oats win hands-down when it comes to “mouth feel.” When you eat a bowl of steel cut oats, it feels like you’re actually eating something, rather than just moving it around in your mouth before swallowing it. It feels like you actually need to chew it.

Because steel cut oats take about half an hour to cook, I like to soak them overnight to shorten the cooking time a little. Overnight soaking also saves time in the morning. I just walk over to the stove and turn on the burner. And if you want to wake up to a pot of warm oatmeal, just use your slow cooker with a timer on it. Set the timer so that the slow cooker will turn on a couple of hours before you wake up. I love waking up to a warm breakfast, especially during the cold winter months!

Fine, you say, but the taste is so bland! You say, “bland,” I say, “consider the possibilities!” There are so many things you can add to oatmeal to make it just as tasty as those higher priced cereals. Just think about some of your favorite flavors. If you like fruity, add a tablespoon of jam. If you just like sweet, add some brown sugar and maple syrup or honey. You’d be amazed at how sweet it tastes after adding only a teaspoon of maple syrup or honey. I like to add a tablespoon of peanut butter for protein and about eight or nine chocolate chips to complement the flavor. Peanut butter and honey is also a nice combination. The photo above shows a recent bowl of oatmeal with walnuts and maple syrup. Use your imagination to come up with your own personal favorite flavor that can’t be found anywhere else!


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5 thoughts on “2 simple secrets to great oatmeal”

  1. We love oatmeal. It's the only cereal we eat. When my boys were young I started cooking oatmeal in milk instead of water…more calcium that way. We love steal cut oats. Cooking it in milk can make a mess if you don't watch it constantly so I started putting the pot in a pie pan with water. That way the milk doesn't burn. Takes longer to cook but at least I don't have to watch it. Love it with blue berries as well.

  2. I discovered steel cut oats some years ago and really liked them. Like you, I thought regular oatmeal was kind of mushy and Didn’t care for them at all. I use honey and brown sugar or wild blueberries on mine but the peanut butter and chocolate sounds very interesting

    • You’re welcome! It’s important to know when you have steel cut oatmeal because it would not be good if it was undercooked.

  3. I love steel cut oats AKA porridge. I always cook with milk and like it with brown sugar. To me it almosty has a “bouncy” texture, which makes it fun.


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