How do I love thee, oatmeal? Let me count the ways.
Oatmeal is a staple in my diet. It’s a great place to hide ground flaxseed to ensure that us non-animal-product-eating peeps get the necessary omega fatty acids. Not only that, oats are pretty cheap (especially when bought in the bulk section of your local grocery store), they’re a great source of fiber (the serving I ate today provided 1/5 of my daily fiber intake–and that wasn’t even counting all the fixins I added to it!), and as such, oatmeal is also quite filling. Most importantly, the serving options are endless! You can dress it up or dress it down. I love a solid oatmeal with a pinch of brown sugar during the week, but when I’m feeling adventurous and I have a few more calories to spare on the weekend, it’s great to dress it up with whatever I have on hand. Oatmeal has no prejudices: it gladly mingles with granola, nuts, fruit, almond/soy/whatever nondairy milk pleases you most. The opportunities are endless.
I have rekindled my love for oatmeal due to a few rushed mornings this week. I didn’t have anything on hand to bring with me for breakfast so I stopped down at my office cafeteria to pick up some oatmeal. I don’t often visit the office cafeteria because a) the vegan options are limited and b) it’s a $$$$ drain. 95% of the time, I bring my breakfasts and lunches from home. The office cafeteria, funny enough, was the first time I ever tasted steel cut oats (this was a few months ago). Steel cut oats have become my oatmeal variety of choice ever since. My two oatmeal mornings during the week left me really craving what I’m going to fondly refer to as fancy oatmeal this morning. This variation was simply divine.
1 3/4 cups water
1/3 + 2 tbsp steel cut oats (I have Quaker on hand but once I run out, I plan on experimenting with other brands)
1 tsp earth balance
1 tsp virgin coconut oil (you can skip this part, this was really just for fun as I haven’t found a reason to use my coconut oil yet)
1 splash vanilla extract
1/4 cup walnut pieces (or nuts of you’re choosing)
1 tbsp ground flaxseed
a few teaspoons brown sugar
shredded coconut to taste
Get your water boiling on the stove and then add oats. The measurements I provided were straight from the Quaker label–if you’re using a different brand, your measurements may vary. After you add the oats, it’ll take about 25 minutes on the stove top for the oatmeal to cook. Stir occasionally.
In the meantime, slice your banana into small pieces. Toss with a tsp or two of brown sugar. Melt earth balance (and optional, coconut oil) in a frying pan and add bananas. Fry for 3-5 minutes until bananas have caramelized. **as mentioned, I don’t really know if this is an appropriate use of coconut oil, but I have yet to use it in the kitchen and I wanted to experiment. It certainly didn’t hurt matters and it added a little bit of a coconutty taste to the bananas. Plus, it smells like the tropics and that is a fabulous smell in the kitchen of a midwestern apartment-dweller.
When the oatmeal and bananas are done, add the rest of your fixins: flaxseed, brown sugar, shredded coconut, walnuts, vanilla, and finally, bananas. Had I any fresh nondairy milk on hand, I’d have added a splash to the finished product. This is especially nice if you overcook the oatmeal because it adds a little moisture. This oatmeal has a wonderful medley of flavors that can totally stand on its own two feet without the addition of milk, though.
you might want to engage in some light morning stretching before digging in
Enjoy, and reap the rewards of its energy-inducing properties immediately. Happy Saturday!