Before my ode to oatmeal, I want to share a (stupid) little experiment I’ve decided to indulge in – try every kind of apple available in the Athens area.
Shouldn’t take too long, but I want to do it anyway. I realized while reading through other food blogs that I’ve been fairly conservative in my apple consumption – I really only consistently eat Red Delicious, Gala and Golden Delicious. Personally, I like Golden Delicious the best. It’s very sweet and softer than other apples…I’m not a big fan of sour fruit. Anyways, the experiment began last week when I tried a Fuji apple for the first time, and when I say the first time, I mean that I actually knew I was eating a Fuji apple. Apparently we’ve had Fuji apples in this household before, according to Shelley.
Anyways, I really REALLY liked the Fuji apples. Not only were they HUGE, but they were also really sweet, but crunchy at the same time. I realize this is all dependent on the specific batch of apples we chose from, but I’m just going to make some general assumptions to keep it simple.
This week we have Granny Smith and Braeburn. I’ve never liked Granny Smith – they’re just too sour and the skin is too waxy. My taste test today reaffirmed my indifference to Granny Smiths, although I have to give them props for how pretty they look. Tomorrow = Braeburn day. FYI.
Okay, now to OATMEAL. My one true love.
Similar to bananas, oatmeal didn’t really sit well with me for a long time. In high school, Mondays were always oatmeal day. Instant Maple and Brown Sugar and a piece of toast. Every Monday, I went to school with a raging stomach ache. Do you see why I didn’t like oatmeal back in the day?
Oatmeal days were eventually switched to….I don’t know. Probably something significantly healthier, like Strawberry Toaster Strudel (oh, how I miss them). In college, I still avoided oatmeal like the plague for the most part. Actually, I didn’t know oatmeal existed at breakfast until I read the labels and realized that the extremely lumpy, porridge-like substance was oatmeal. I had no idea oatmeal could look like that, or taste like it did, for that matter. The oats were HUGE and chewy and full of awesome texture. Unfortunately, I did not take advantage of those awesome oats during my time on the meal plan.
I regret it every morning now. Those oats are a mystery to me. At first I thought they were steel cut oats…nope. Steel cut oats are indeed delicious, but the size of the oats paled in comparison to the oats in the dining hall oatmeal. Now here’s the part where you see how big of an oatmeal loser I am….I called the food service dietitian to find out what kind of oats they used.
Apparently they use mush-resistant oatmeal specifically made for cafeterias, etc. Devastation. But I digress…
So anyways, apparently the one thing dietitians and I have in common is a disturbing love for oatmeal. They come up with these wacky (but delicious) oatmeal recipes that probably seem disgusting to the general public.
I am not the general public.
Last week I had four different kinds of oatmeal. FOUR. DIFFERENT. KINDS. WHO SITS IN CLASS AND THINKS ABOUT A NEW WAY TO MAKE OATMEAL THE NEXT MORNING?!! Uh, me. Whatever. So anyways, I am an enthusiastic supporter of oatmeal and I encourage you all to try one (or more) of these variations. And FYI, the secret to great, creamy oatmeal is to not wait for the liquid to boil before adding in the (OLD FASHIONED) oats. Also, use half milk, half water. Or all milk if you’re feeling especially fancy.
Oatmeal with Banana, Peanut Butter and Raisins
This is my classic, go-to oatmeal. The secret is to thinly slice the banana and add the slices to the pot before the liquid starts boiling…that way the banana kind of melts and you get really creamy oatmeal. Mix in raisins, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and a bit of brown sugar as the liquid starts to boil, then cook for five minutes. After pouring into a bowl, drizzle melted peanut butter and maple syrup over the top, with a small splash of milk. I also add granola to the top of mine for crunch.
Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal
Follow the directions above, except omit the banana. Add pumpkin pie spice. Once the oatmeal is about done cooking, mix in pumpkin puree and top with maple syrup and granulated sugar – the sugar crystallizes and creates a crunchy coating.
Prior to making the oatmeal, heat 1/2 cup frozen blueberries with 1-2 tbsp honey. Once the blueberries defrost, add a mixture of 1/4 cup water with 1 tsp of cornstarch (mixed very well). Let the mixture simmer until the liquid forms a thick syrup. Fix oats, omitting the banana and raisins. Pour oats into a bowl and mix in a tablespoon of blueberry preserves, if you have some. Then top with the blueberry syrup, granola and nuts.
This is one of my favorites…I love the blueberry syrup!!
Cook oats, no banana or raisins. Melt a tablespoon of peanut butter then drizzle over the finished oats then mix in a tablespoon (or two) of your favorite jelly. Add granola to the top. This might sound gross, but it’s seriously good. On a side note, does PB&J ice cream sound gross? I think it sounds absolutely splendid, but everyone at Bruster’s scoffed at me when I suggested it as a new flavor to try out.
Oatmeal with Banana and Nutella
Cook oats with a sliced banana, omit raisins. Add some cocoa powder if you want…I don’t know how it would taste, but it just popped in my head so I thought I’d add it…But yeah, stir in the Nutella after the oatmeal is done, then add something crunchy on top. Or strawberries. Actually, mixing in some raspberry or strawberry jam might be good…SEE, THIS IS WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT!! It’s not the most attractive bowl out there, but it’s like dessert for breakfast, soooo…yeah.
Oatmeal with Banana, Figs and Maple Syrup
Oats + banana, add 2 chopped figs after cooking, along with a big drizzle of maple syrup. Figs are delicious. Today was the first time I’d ever tried them. So many possibilities – homemade fig newtons, pureeing them for brownies, etc…
So yeah, that’s all I have so far, although this week I’m thinking blueberry cheesecake oatmeal, pumpkin+Nutella, overnight oats (1 container yogurt mixed w/ 1/2 cup oats, refrigerate overnight – apparently the oats get really puffy and delicious), aaand apple crisp oatmeal.
So there you go, I am oatmeal obsessed. GO TRY IT!