Monthly Archives: May 2012

Ode to Oatmeal

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Mmm, oatmeal.  I have been eating it since I can remember.  I particularly love the way my mom makes it- she cooks it in milk and lets it cook with a whole cinnamon stick simmering in the milk the entire time.  Oatmeal is a food that is extremely versatile, you can add whatever your heart and tummy desire.  I also love that it is easy to make and most importantly, super healthy!

There are different types of oats:

  • Steel-cut oats:   these are the entire whole oat kernel.  They are cut into two or three pieces using steel discs, hence the name “steel-cut” oats.  These types of oats are the healthiest of oats.  Since the bran is still intact, it contains the most fiber, vitamins and minerals, but make note that it will take longer to cook than rolled/quick oats. 
  • Rolled oats:   it starts off as the whole oat kernel, but then most of the bran is removed and are rolled flat to make them easier to cook. With the bran removed, they have less fiber than steel-cut oats.
  • Quick-cooking oats:  same as rolled oats, but cut smaller and thinner so that they cook even faster than rolled or steel-cut oats.   These type of oats are great for convenience and when you are pressed for time. 
  • Instant oats:  these are the oats that you would find in packets.  You usually can cook them in a microwave for a minute or two.  Although they are convenient and still a great source of fiber, I would limit the intake as these oats are known to be high in sodium and sugar if flavors are included. 

Why should you eat Oats?

  1. They are high in fiber.  Fiber is great for digestion and regularity, weight control, aids in controlling hyperglycemia and high cholesterol. 
  2. They are high in phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals such as: vitamin E, B vitamins (thiamine, folate, riboflavin)  selenium, magnesium, manganese, zinc, and so much more!  They are known for having cancer fighting properties, enhancing your immune system and overall health, cell regeneration and SO MUCH MORE!

Now its time for you to experience the wonder of oats for yourself.  I have a few simple recipes to share, each tried and true and are my absolute favorite, super easy to make and oh so yummy!

Bircher Muesli (a recipe from editor.nourishmagazine.com.au)

I have come across this meal while living in Australia.  There is no cooking involved (yay!) but you do have to prepare it the night before to allow the oats to soak and soften (boo! I only have a problem with preparing meals ahead of time because I am impatient and I want to experience the yumminess ASAP 🙂 but its worth the wait and a great time saver in the morning) 

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup fresh apple juice or orange juice
  • 1/2 cup yoghurt (sugar free is best), I recommend plain Greek yogurt
  • handful currants or raisins
  • handful chopped dried apricots (sulphur free is best)
  • a sprinkling of ground nutmeg
  • a sprinkling of ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 Granny Smith apple, GRATED (skin on) to serve
  • tablespoon melted butter, seasonal berries and chopped crispy almonds to serve.

Method:
Combine the rolled oats, juice, yoghurt, currants or raisins, chopped apricots, nutmeg and cinnamon in a large bowl and stir together. Chill overnight.

To serve, stir in the grated apple, melted butter, berries and almonds. 

Now, I’ve seen the chef add a few more ladles of yogurt right before serving to give it a creaminess type of feel.  It is so delightfully delicious and I look forward to every Tuesday morning so I can have a bowl…or two. 

Next recipe is my own, I adapted a version of the Bircher Muesli and my mom’s traditional oatmeal so I will call it….

Yank’s Morning Tea

  • one cup milk, soy milk, or rice milk
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 green apple, grated
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  1. Add milk , sugar and oats and bring to a boil.  Stir milk frequently to stop it from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  2. Once boiling, keep heat to a medium,  add shredded coconut and continue stirring.
  3. Once you reach a consistency of oatmeal to your liking (I like mine thick as opposed to runny), add almonds, grated apple and cinnamon.  Mix well and transfer to a bowl.

Final Product: 

Tasty Tips:  Use honey instead of sugar for a more natural approach to sweetening the oatmeal; top it off with some fresh or frozen berries for more cancer fighting antioxidants, vitamins and minerals!

Lastly, how easy is it to just add a dollop of yogurt, fresh fruit and honey on top of some good ‘ol granola?…Check out a picture my mother in law sent me of her breakfast one day (one of the benefits of having a Registered Dietitian as a daughter-in-law, nutrition advice at the touch of a button!)

 Guess who else loves oatmeal?