It is hard to pick a favourite breakfast/brunch choice, but oatmeal is close to the top. This winter food warms the cockles of my heart and keeps me going for several hours. To those who claim “BORING!!!!”, have a bowl of my hot cereals and you will be hooked.
The options always start with oatmeal and one other grain, according to the mood of the day. I prefer steel cut oats for the texture. Of the other whole grains, barley, wheat and spelt berries take longer to cook than the oatmeal, so I cook those separately, freeze them in bags in 1/4 cup portions, and add them to the oatmeal, still frozen, at the beginning of the cooking process. The other grains or seeds cook for the same amount of time as the oats.
The dry fruit choice depends on what is available in the pantry on any given day. I have been known to throw in a handful of glacé fruit leftover from Christmas baking, to keep the festive mood alive.
Garnishes are the crowning glory of a bowl of oatmeal. The choices are endless. I am including the ones I have tried to date; as oatmeal is a work in progress, ask me at a later date and I will probably have other options. I tend to use fresh fruit, something crispy, something soft and a bit of sweetener. I get all the goodies mentioned, except for the fresh fruit, at the bulk store or health food store.
1 cup steel-cut oatmeal
- 1/4 cup other grain or seeds, such as amaranth, quinoa, teff, kinawa, chia or hemp seeds, millet, oat bran, wheat bran, pre-cooked wheat, barley or spelt berries
- 1-1/4 cups water
- 1-1/4 cups unsweetened almond or cashew milk
- A pinch of salt
- A small handful of dried fruit, such as raisins, cherries, apricots, cranberries, goji berries, prunes, dates, mangoes, apples, pears, peaches or barberries
- 2 tbsp. whey or vegan protein powder, unsweetened
- 1/4 tsp. vanilla, almond or banana extract, depending on the fresh fruit added as a garnish
Bring the oatmeal, other grain, water, milk and salt to a boil in a tall saucepan. Stir well, lower the heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Oatmeal has a tendency to boil over, so make sure the mixture is back down to simmering before putting the cover on. Stir once or twice while cooking. If the cereal seems too thick, add more water or milk. Once cooked to your liking, add the protein powder and extract and mix well. Garnish with any of the additions below.
Makes 2 generous bowls for brunch or 4 smaller portions for breakfast.
Think of anything and you can probably use it as a garnish for oats.
Just a bit of something sweet: maple flakes, maple syrup, honey, barley malt, agave syrup, date molasses, brown rice syrup, brown sugar, cane sugar, coconut sugar, stevia, jam, hazelnut spread, cranberry sauce
Something soft and silky: unsweetened Greek or regular yogurt, non-dairy yogurt, light or heavy cream, dairy or nut milk
Something crunchy: homemade granola, sliced toasted almonds, chopped nuts of any kind, toasted coconut flakes, chocolate covered puffed quinoa, All-Bran buds, dry commercial cereals with little or no added sugar like corn flakes or rice puffs, chopped crystallised ginger, cocoa nibs
Fresh fruit: any fruit in season like pears, plums, apples, berries, bananas, berry compote, applesauce, pear sauce, plum compote, fruit salad, papaya, mangoes, pomegranate