Friday, February 18, 2011

Actually, I Like Oatmeal!

Steel Cut Oats

As a little girl, I was unable to eat oatmeal or any whole grain hot breakfast like it. There was something about the slimey, lumpy texture that I physically could not swallow.

When I was 14 or 15, the drama club I was a part of took a trip to Estonia, a Baltic country in Eastern Europe. They had only gained independence from the USSR a decade earlier, and the oppressive atmosphere was still very present. 

As a poorer country, there were not many options as far as food goes. Luckily for me, we ended up eating oatmeal (the slimey kind) three meals a day for three weeks. You could dress it up with a tiny splodge of butter and a little salt. I rarely ate three times a day and only ate what I knew I could keep down. It was not much.

Earlier this year, my husband took the steel cut oats off the top shelf and announced, "I'm making oatmeal, want some?" I politely declined and he ignored me. He served up a bowl of hot steamy breakfast and said, "Try it. For me. Please?"

There it was, and I had to try some. 

I took one small bite with brown sugar and strawberries and cream and... it was amazing! It was likely one of the very best things I had ever eaten! How could THIS go by the same name as the slime I had choked down years ago?!

We now make wholesome oatmeal frequently in the winter and eat it with berries we froze last summer or with fresh ones later in the winter when they actually taste like berries. How do you make it? It's surprisingly simple.

Recipe: Hearty Oatmeal (serves 4 hungry people)

2 cups steel cut oats
4 cups water
1/2 tsp kosher salt

> in a medium sized pot, combine all three ingredients
> bring to the boil
> once boiling, turn the heat down to low and cover with a lid 
> after 20 minutes, stir the oatmeal, dish into bowls, and add the 'dressings'

Dressing Ideas:
- fresh berries
- jams or jellies
- papaya
- peaches
- bananas
- cherries
- brown sugar
- agave nectar
- maple syrup
- when you cook the oatmeal
    > raisins
    > apples
    > cinnamon (or pumpkin pie spice)
    > vanilla (or almond extract)

Leftover oatmeal can be saved and baked into cookies, cake loafs, spaghetti sauce, meatloaf, or just about anything else the following day for added fibre and goodness.

What do you put on your oatmeal?


  1. We love Bob's Red Mill steel cut oats, and scottish oatmeal. I like to add craisins. I dont just throw them in, I like to rinse them first with hot water a few times to get the "oil" off them , then add a bit of water to them in a bowl and nuke them for a couple of minutes to plump them up, then add them 5 minutes before the oatmeal is done. Once served I sprinkle with Maple Sugar if I have some, and surround it all with milk, or even better- buttermilk yum! PS I always finish cooking the oatmeal on top of a double-boiler because I am such a scatter brain it ensures it never gets stuck on the bottom or a burned taste if I run away from the stove for a few minutes. Also it stays warm for any other tardy people around here.. Cheers!- Alison

  2. Alison - that sounds yummy - craisins and maple sugar! And the double boiler idea is BRILLIANCE because I am scatter brained and burn my fair share around here!! Thanks for sharing!!