Wednesday, February 12, 2014

A hearty bowl of oatmeal

For the longest time, I was on a kick of having greek yogurt with fresh fruit and homemade granola - every. single. day. I would start my morning with a homemade breakfast sandwich, then I had my yogurt mid-morning. Once the summer was over, fresh fruit was less exciting. It was more expensive, and it definitely didn't taste as good. Then the weather started getting colder, and I started craving something hot. This is where I switched to oatmeal. I have had a big bowl of microwave oatmeal every day for the past few weeks, and I'm still loving it. It comes together really quickly, and it just tastes so good. It also fills me up really well.

This isn't really a recipe, but I'll tell you what I've been doing.

For one (large) serving, I mix 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup almond milk in a medium microwaveable bowl. I add 1/2 cup quick oats, and a few shakes of my favorite seasonings - lately I've been using lots of cinnamon, and a pinch of ginger and pumpkin pie spice. Next, I add in a small handful of dried fruit - I've been using raisins and/or dried cranberries most days, but sometimes I mix it up with either chopped dried figs or dried cherries. I like adding the dried fruit in now, so it can soften and plump up while cooking. Once everything has been mixed together, I microwave for a total of 2-3 minutes. If the almond milk is cold from the fridge, I'll start with 1 min 30 seconds, then I'll do another 45 seconds after that. If all of the ingredients are room temp, I'll start with 1 minute and then will continue with 30 second blasts. Stir everything up between microwaving. Once it is at the desired consistency (remember that it will thicken as it cools), I pull it out, stir in some sweetener (I usually use 2 splendas), and top with fresh chopped strawberries.

You can customize this to however you prefer your oatmeal. Prefer oatmeal that's really creamy? Replace some or all of the water with milk, and don't microwave as long. You can even stir in some half and half at the end to make it really decadent. Switch up the fruit you use - you could use any fruit you would like, as well as any spices you like. Use brown sugar instead of white sugar to give a richer flavor. You could even add some sliced or chopped nuts for texture. If you want some chocolate for breakfast, try adding 1/2-1 tbsp of cocoa powder!

I haven't tried yet, making a big batch, and reheating throughout the week. It's so simple to make an individual portion with quick oats, that I don't think I would want to make a big batch. I will however, at some point, make a big batch of steel-cut oats. Those take a lot longer to cook, and can't really be cooked in the microwave (at least not easily and quickly).

This certainly isn't the most beautiful picture, but this is the oatmeal I was eating while writing this post. I hope you enjoy, and let me know if you make this (and any variations you use)!