My Better Breakfast quest continues – with Oatmeal! Mr Kellog may have had a point (we do need more fiber in our diets) but his refined cereals just don’t cut it as a morning meal for me. The carbs burn off and leave me hungry. The sugar makes me sluggish. I need protein! I need ‘no hunger’ breakfast recipes. I also need to lose weight. So here’s my latest Better Breakfast Recipe:
Oatmeal is good for your heart, good for your intestines, good for your brain (eh, I made that up), but almost never cooked in a way that makes it something you might actually want to eat. It’s the national breakfast of Scotland, but I never ate oatmeal (or ‘porridge’) until I discovered this method.
It might seem like more effort than cold cereal or toast, but once you have it down, it’s actually really simple. Start it before you make coffee or while you’re making a packed lunch or whatever else you do first thing. It takes a little over five minutes. Honest.
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
1 cup of water OR 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup milk (try it with just water first, and see what you think)
1 pinch of salt (this makes the oats creamy even if cooked only in water)
1. Boil the water and/or milk.
2. While that’s happening (or better yet, the night before), place almonds on a greased baking sheet and toast under the broiler. Hang around in the kitchen until you smell the first hint of delicious toasty almonds, then RUN to the oven and grab them before they burn. (If you do a whole bag of almonds today, you can put the rest in a ziplock back in the freezer for use on other days.
3. When the liquids are boiling, add the salt and stir.
4. Add the oats, stir once.
5. Reduce heat to a simmer. Cover.
6. Set a (loud) timer for 5 minutes. (This is where you can make coffee or go and yell at your kids to get up/dressed/showered).
7. When the timer sounds, turn off the heat and leave for 2 minutes, to absorb remaining liquid. (You can leave it for longer. It just gets thicker and thicker the longer you leave it. Honestly, you could go and have your shower and it’ll still be fine when you come back. You just might need to add some milk to thin it out a bit).
8. Crush the almonds a bit (with a spoon or your fingers if cool) and mix into oatmeal.
9. Add other toppings sparingly. Add a dash of milk, or half and half if you feel the need (This tastes really good with just a teaspoonful of a good fruit jelly or with fresh berries or dried fruit)
10. Fill the pot with water, to soak, while you enjoy your breakfast. There should be no sticky bits, but just in case…
 Insant or ‘easy’ or ‘microwave’ oats are the devil’s own breakfast. They cook up with no texture at all and will put your kids off oatmeal (AKA ‘lump-sludge’) for life. Using them also removes you from the register of People Who Can Claim Any Type of Celtic Heritage Whatsoever [*]
[*] This is not actually true. My mother uses microwave oats. In Scotland! I tell you, the woman is one breakfast guest away from an angry, pitch-fork-bearing mob…
 This is also not true. I use the microwave sometimes. It creates oatmeal with less texture (which you may/not prefer) and makes clean-up even easier, as you can make it right in your (large) cereal bowl. Just add the oats, liquids and salt, cook uncovered for 5 minutes on 50% power, and add toppings. It’s not quite as good but it’s not bad. Also it might be thicker. Or thinner. Depending on the day.