The New Year really begins today. The whole first day provides for mental preparation to launch any new intentions. On this second day my want is to return to the way I was eating before the holidays. This desire should begin at breakfast.

Breakfast is “breaking the fast” from eating from the night before. Not only does this meal prepare the body for the day, but it allows for pausing to review the day’s activities. Take these moments to determine where life’s path for the day will lead you. Thinking about what is to come will make it easier to actually face the unexpected challenges that may come up.

So on this cold winter morning, I will break the fast. With the onset of winter here in Montana, my body craves comfort food, and yet at the same time, it yearns for fresh and light. I believe my husband has discovered the perfect remedy.

His daily breakfast is hearty, nutty oatmeal. He cooks steel cut oats in a big batch on Monday morning, stores it in a container and then heats up a bowl of hearty goodness every morning. He puts the oatmeal into a bowl, adds almond milk and nukes it for a few minutes. Then he stirs in homemade applesauce and fresh berries. This is the breakfast of champions.

From Yellowstone Valley Woman Magazine, “Better with Breakfast,” August 18, 2014

Oatmeal

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Steel-cut Oats: Also called Irish oats or Pinhead oats, steel-cut oats are cut into several pieces and steamed but not rolled. They have a chewier consistency. They take about 25 minutes to cook.

How to Make Oatmeal with Steel-Cut Oats

For four servings, in a large saucepan bring 3 cups water and pinch of salt to boiling. Stir in 1 cup steel-cut oats. Cover and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes or until the oats are just tender and the liquid is nearly absorbed. Hint: Store a batch of cooked oatmeal in the refrigerator and warm a bowl after the addition of a splash of water or milk in the microwave for a quick breakfast.

Old-Fashion Oats: Also called rolled oats, oats are steamed and flattened with large rollers into flakes. They take about 5 minutes to cook.

How to Make Old-Fashion Oats

For four servings, in a medium saucepan bring 3-1/4 cups water and pinch salt to boiling. Stir in 2 cups roll old-fashioned. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the pan from the heat. If desired, cover and let stand for 2 minutes before serving to allow oats to absorb any remaining liquid.

Quick-Cooking Rolled Oats: These oats are cut into pieces and rolled thinner so they cook in about 1 minute on the stovetop.

How to Cook Oatmeal with Quick-Cooking Oats

For four servings, in a medium saucepan bring 3-1/2 cups water and pinch salt to boiling. Stir in 2 cups quick-cooking oats. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Remove the pan from the heat. If desired, cover and let stand about 30 seconds before serving. This allows the oats to absorb any remaining liquid.

Instant Oats: These oats are precooked and dried before rolling. They can be rehydrated by adding boiling water. Instant oats usually come prepackaged so preparation is easy – open bag, pour into bowl, add boiling water, stir and eat, usually after adding some goodies.

Healthy Goodies to Add to Oatmeal

  • Dried fruit – chopped dates, cherries, raisins, currants, cranberries, chopped apple slices, and/or chopped apricots
  • Fresh fruit – blueberries, raspberries, sliced bananas, and/or sliced strawberries
  • Chopped nuts – pecans, pistachios, cashews, hazelnuts, walnuts, or almonds
  • Shredded or flaked coconut
  • Milk, yogurt, almond milk, rice milk, or soy milk
  • Pumpkin butter or applesauce
  • Sprinkle of ground cinnamon or ground nutmeg
  • Brown sugar, honey, or maple syrup