“How do you feel about oatmeal, buddy?”
“I feel yes about oatmeal.”
“You mean you want some right now?”
“No, I mean oatmeal is yes. Especially with a little syrup. And it’s warm and makes my stuffy nose clear up.”
So there you have it folks, the word from the experts on oatmeal is YES.
For the last day of the pre-Easter season, I want to return to Sugar Busting that breakfast bowl. Have you re-visited oatmeal yet? REALLY? In my last oatmeal-related post, I pointed out to you that oatmeal is WAY cheaper than boxed breakfast cereal, that it packs much more of a nutritional wallop, and that it is WAY lower in sugar than most options. What I failed to point out explicitly is that a serving size for oatmeal is also much smaller because of the whole expandy thing when cooked with liquid. So when the serving size on the carton says 1/2c, that is actually a reasonable quantity for a person. Boxed cereals often say 1/2 to 3/4c, which as Big Sis pointed out the other day, is not enough cereal for most reasonably hungry people; I’m pretty sure that’s not even enough for my 5 year olds. So all of the nutrition and price differences are actually that much bigger. One serving of oatmeal is a true serving, with less than one gram of sugar. One serving of Frosted Flakes, on the other hand, is only 3/4c, and has 11 grams of sugar; so if you eat more than 3/4c, like say 1.5c, that’s 22g of sugar. That’s just 1g shy of a Nestle Crunch Caramel bar. How’s that for a nourishing breakfast?
Not sure you eat that much cereal? I wasn’t either until several years ago when my husband and I were both following a Weight Watchers program. Nothing gets you honest about quantity faster than measuring every flipping bit. I’m not going suggest that you do that, because frankly, it’s annoying, but just for the sake of reality, you may want to measure that morning cereal just ONCE to see how much you are really eating. Then take a look at that label and see how it pans out for you. If it’s more than 5 grams of sugar (a serving of oatmeal with one teaspoon of brown sugar), then perhaps the time has come for an oatmeal revelation.
Here I am making the case for oatmeal again, and this is when you say: “It takes too long,” which is where we left off last time. I pointed out that it takes between 5 and 12 minutes to cook oatmeal. To which you say: “You don’t understand what it’s like around here in the morning.” And I say: “But wait, there’s another answer… how’d you like to wake up to breakfast that’s already made?” Five minutes of nighttime prep and you can be in low-sugar oatmeal heaven in the morning. How, you say? Our old 1970′s friend, the Crock Pot. Oh yes, the Crock Pot.
For hot overnight oatmeal, I prefer to use steel cut oats as they hold up to the long low heat better, in my opinion. Steel cut tend to be slightly more expensive than rolled oats, but if you DON’T get the ones in the fancy can (which is lovely, I agree), the price difference is less. I can buy them in bulk for the same price as rolled oats, so if you have a store with a bulk section, this might be a good option for you as well. There are also plenty of folks who used rolled oats in crock pots and recipes online abound. For either type, basically you mix it all up the night before and give it 7-8 hours to cook and voila, it’s hot and delicious, waiting for you. You can’t get much easier or faster than that, friends.
SIMPLE OVERNIGHT STEEL CUT OATS
- oil for pot
- 2 cups steel cut oats
- 8 cups liquid – I mixed mine half water, half almond milk
- cinnamon or nutmeg to taste
VERY lightly oil the bowl of the Crock Pot. Add ingredients. Stir. Cook for 7-8 hours on low. When you open the lid, it may not look like yummy oatmeal, but this is a result of the long low cook. Give it a stir, and voila, there’s your hot oatmeal, ready to go. Serve with preferred oatmeal toppings. Here’s where you say: “THAT’S IT?!” And I say, “Yes, that’s it.” Many people like to cook apples, dried fruit, nuts, whatever, in with their oatmeal. We tend to like the texture that these items add when put in individual bowls in the morning. This also allows for more individual choice (pretty much a necessity with two five year olds). Delish.
A Note On Crock Pots: There are a variety of Crock Pots and slow cookers on the market and you can spend very little or a whole lot. There are also LOTS of people who have Crock Pots in the back of their cabinets that they don’t use. Ask around, see what you can dig up. But wait, you say, the new ones have timer functions and all sorts of other cool features. To which I say, yes, they do and you will pay for it. Unless you’re planning on doing a WHOLE lot of Crock Pot cooking (which I do), I’d like to suggest that you consider my ridiculously simple solution: the cheapest Crock Pot you can find with one of these little numbers. Four dollar wall timer. Worked like a charm. So if you have an old Crock Pot, your Aunt Martha has an old Crock Pot, or if you’re lucky like me and attended a White Elephant holiday party with a bunch of younger folks who couldn’t imagine the utility of a Crock Pot, slap that timer on there and you have breakfast in bed (because you could actually cook it in your room, you know) ready to go. Hot Diggity!