Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Fast and Fabulous Oatmeal

Guest post by Fran Blank, The Country Cousin at The Kitchen Cousins

Cold mornings are here and I love a hot breakfast that warms me up and keeps my stomach happy until lunch. Traditional recipes for cooking oatmeal have always left me with a bowl of pasty, gluey gruel AND they took time AND stirring. I thought I would share two ways to make oatmeal worth eating. The first recipe gives you a bowl of chewy, yummy oatmeal AND takes less than 10 minutes AND you only have to stir it a few times - just to mix things up. The second oatmeal recipe has NO cooking, is put together before you go to bed, AND is company "brunch" worthy.

Both recipes start with regular whole oats, NOT instant oats.

1. The Best Oatmeal I Have Ever Eaten!
This recipe makes two generous servings.

- Mix together in a small saucepan and bring to a boil:
1 1/2 cups water
1/3 to 1/2 cup of dried fruit - raisins, cranberries, cherries (my favorite), bananas, etc.
pinch of salt

- When the water boils pour in:
1 cup regular oats and stir to moisten

Put on a lid and take the pan off the heat. Allow the pan to sit, off the heat, for 5 minutes. Remove lid and give things a good stir. Spoon oatmeal into a bowl and then get creative. Top with your favorite sweetener: honey, raw sugar, real maple syrup, brown sugar, ?? Toss in a small handful of walnuts, half of a banana, sliced, or half of an apple, chopped, or any fresh, frozen, or even canned fruit - whatever you have. Pour in a little milk and YUM!! The bowl of oatmeal pictured below has dried cherries, sliced bananas, walnuts, maple syrup, and milk. Now that is oatmeal worth eating!

2. Breakfast Parfait
This is soooo simple and soooo good! The recipe is from my friend, Linda, and we used it for a healthy eating program we did for our local after-school program. The children LOVED it! They came back for seconds!

- Before you go to bed mix regular oats and apple juice half and half. Cover and refrigerate over night. The amount is measured by the number of servings you will need. For example, one cup oats to one cup apple juice should be enough for two generous servings.

- The next morning dish up a portion of the apple juice/oats mixture and top with vanilla yogurt and fresh fruit in season (strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, ???), or frozen or canned fruit when fresh is not available. You can also layer this in a parfait glass - oats, yogurt and fruit and it is company worthy. The pictured parfait was topped with frozen blueberries and mango chunks.

I have made this with canned pineapple, peaches or pears. Use the juice from the can to mix with the oats and the fruit for the topping. Then - - add extra toppings that accent the juice and fruit. For instance if you use pineapple toss in some coconut. Use your imagination.

A healthy breakfast is like a hug from Mom. Not a bad thing for any of us.

Hey from the farm,
Fran The Country Cousin