"The wise man should consider that health is the greatest of human blessings. Let food be your medicine."
- Hippocrates

June 6, 2011

Steel Cut Oatmeal, Two Ways

There's nothing like a warm bowl of oatmeal to greet you in the morning! Growing up, I loved the little bags of instant oatmeal that came pre-flavoured with maple and brown sugar. I'd go through phases where I liked my oatmeal thick and lumpy, almost dry; and others where I'd eat it almost like soup, sloppy and full of milk. Those bags of instant oatmeal are at one end of the "oatmeal spectrum" while at the other end, you'll find steel cut oats. Steel cut oats go through very little processing compared to the quick oats you find in the instant oatmeal packages. When cooked, they are naturally creamy and chewy, an absolutely scrumptious way to start your day! They really fill you up and keep you going until lunch too!

The only downside I've found to cooking steel cut oats is the cooking time...they take about 30 minutes to cook on the stove-top; and cooking in the microwave can be tricky as they tend to boil over and make a big mess. I've found two no-fuss ways to enjoy this grain that I know you'll love; one is super fast, the other, super slow...both are very easy and low maintenance though!

I like to top my oatmeal with some non-dairy milk, crushed walnuts and real maple syrup...also try fresh or frozen berries, any nuts, raisins, coconut, brown sugar, etc...

Super Slow Steel Cut Oats (in the slow cooker)
Serves 4
Cooking your oats in a slow cooker overnight is a great way to enjoy warm and creamy oatmeal first thing in the morning! Just turn on the cooker right before bedtime, and in the morning you'll have the sweet smell of cinnamon calling you from the kitchen; just scoop, add toppings, and enjoy! So easy!

1 cup steel cut oats
4 cups water
1/4 cup non-dairy milk, or more water
pinch salt
pinch cinnamon or nutmeg (or both)

Spray slow cooker with non-stick spray. Add all ingredients and turn slow cooker on low before bed...at breakfast, enjoy!

Super Quick Steel Cut Oats
Serves 1
These oats are blended to a flour-like consistency, so they cook really quickly (about 5 minutes)! The result is a smooth, almost cream-of-wheat type consistency. I like to blend a few cups worth and store the flour in an airtight container for a quick breakfast in the morning! Note: the recipe below is for one serving, just remember it's a 1/4 cup oat flour to 1 cup water, so you can make as many servings as you like!

1/4 cup pre-blended steel cut oats
1 cup water
2 tbsp - 1/4 cup non-dairy milk, or more water
pinch salt
pinch cinnamon or nutmeg (or both

In a blender, blend a few cups of steel cut oats until they reach a grainy flour-like consistency. Store extra flour in an airtight container.

In a saucepan, combine 1/4 cup oats, 1 cup water, salt, and cinnamon over medium heat. Whisk almost continuously, while mixture starts to come to a low boil. Reduce heat to medium-low as it is thickening and starting to bubble. Once thickened, whisk in a couple tablespoons to 1/4 cup non-dairy milk - until it reaches your desired consistency.

Serve oatmeal immediately, topping with another drizzle of non-dairy milk (as oatmeal will thicken more as it sits).

As a final note, here are some of the many health benefits to adding oatmeal to your diet:

Soluble Fiber: One of the best benefits of oatmeal is that it lowers cholesterol by removing LDL (bad cholesterol) while maintaining HDL (good cholesterol)

Insoluble fiber: Absorbs water which helps to speed the transit of food through the bowels; helping reduce the risk of some bowel related cancers (i.e. colon cancer)

Beta Glucan: A bio-defense modifier which means it will boost your immune system

Vitamins and Minerals: Including Iron, Zinc, Selenium, and Vitamin E

Phytochemicals: Plant chemicals that have shown promise in fighting and preventing cancer. For example, the phytoestrogens (lignans) found in oats help to fight hormone related diseases like breast, ovarian, and prostate cancer.

Happy breakfast!