Oatmeal + Change = Nutritious Novelty

Oatmeal as a nutritious breakfast should not actually be a novelty, but when you grow up in a house with the most delicious oatmeal on earth made by mom, complete with heaping amounts of brown sugar and buttered toast, it is. I loved my mom’s oatmeal growing up, and I never thought I would be able to handle it any other way. I mean, at the end of the day, it’s a bowl of mush, so it better taste good.

I’ve been eating mega-healthy this week, dropping most oils, processed sugars, cheat treats, and a few other choice items. I feel fabulous, but limiting my intake has meant I’ve had to be creative with what I have. I’m so grateful for all the vegan bloggers I’ve been following because I’ve learned so much about how to make ridiculously healthy food taste ridiculously delicious.

My latest pet ingredient has been chia seeds. I’ve been adding them to everything, and my oatmeal is no exception. You can check out their extensive health benefits here. I do think they help me stay fuller longer because they gel up and expand, which I think is a pretty awesome trick. Nice one, Chia Seeds.

I’ve been determined to snaz up mom’s oatmeal, making it nutritious and still homey and scrumptios. I finally got what works for me, but what is really wonderful is if you have some favorite spices, you can mix this up however you want.

I start with a cup of water and a quick pour of almond milk (probably about 1/6 cup). I lightly salt the water and then add in the following: about 1 – 1.5 teaspoons of cinnamon, 1 teaspoon of agave nectar, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract, and sometimes a dash of nutmeg. I let this come to a boil before adding 1/2 cup of rolled oats. Stir occasionally until the liquid is nearly absorbed. Add in 2-3 teaspoons of chia seeds and transfer to a bowl to let the oats finish absorbing the liquid. Now, this alone truly does pass a taste test, even for the brown sugar oatmeal-scarred, but adding fruit makes it all the better.

This morning I mixed in strawberries after pouring the oatmeal into my bowl, but I more typically add apple cubes or, lately, peaches. If I’m adding a harder fruit or an under-ripe fruit, I put them into the saucepan just a bit after I add the oatmeal, giving them a chance to soften up. If you are using berries or bananas, I find it best to put them in just before eating or serving. I dropped the toast all together, and came to terms with the fact that I may never eat brown sugar oatmeal again, but that’s okay because this is a flavor-packed nutritious option that still offers a sweet bowl of breakfast goodness without the guilt and weigh down morning sugar brings.

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