A bowl of oatmeal has been an almost constant breakfast companion for over ten years now. While I am clearly a creature of habit, my bowl has evolved over the years. Here’s a quick look at my oatmeal evolution, followed by a recipe for the current iteration.
2006 — instant oats cooked in the microwave, topped with peanut butter, bananas, cinnamon, [sweetened] soy milk, and a bit of brown sugar
2009 — switch from bananas (distinctly not local) to locally grown fruit, when in season (primarily apples), or dried fruit (primarily raisins)
2010 — switch from instant oats to rolled oats, still cooked in the microwave
??? — ditch the added sugars by switching to unsweetened soy milk and eliminating the added brown sugar; dried fruit makes for plenty sweet oatmeal
2012 — start making an extra-thick, stove top version with rolled oats that works as finger food for G when cooled; make in big batches
2013 — when G moves on from the finger food version, I continue making big batches of stove top oatmeal for both of us; I serve G’s really thick to help it stay on the spoon; bananas reappear as a “sometimes” food
2014 — start using a mixture of rolled + steel cut oats, with an overnight soak
2015-2016 — experiment with adding in other grains, including millet, quinoa, brown rice flakes, and amaranth
Each of these iterations took the flavor, texture, and nutrient variety up a notch. The amaranth is the most recent addition, and it almost didn’t make the cut. It’s seedy taste really stood out in the first batch, and I wasn’t a huge fan. By the second batch, I had adjusted to the flavor, and now I’m really enjoying it.
The overnight soak helps the longer-cooking grains, like steel cut oats, cook quickly in the morning. It’s still more of a time investment than microwaving instant oats, but it tastes better AND you’ll have breakfast for several days. The recipe below makes about four days’ worth of one parent- plus one child-sized portion.
Recipe by Melissa
2 T. amaranth
1/2 c. steel cut oats
1/4 c. millet
1/4 c. quinoa (rinsed)
1 c. rolled oats
3 1/2 c. water
1 1/2 c. unsweetened soy milk
Measure grains into pan and pour water over the top. Let sit at room temperature overnight. In the morning, add the milk, bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce heat and simmer for 8-10 minutes. Can be served immediately, or turn off heat and let sit, covered, for an additional 5-10 minutes.
Add [soy] milk to thin to desired consistency, and top with cinnamon, fresh or dried fruit, and nut butter of choice. Additional toppings: hemp seed, chia seed, chopped walnuts, nutmeg.
After the first morning, reheat in microwave with milk. For a take-to-work version, place oatmeal, additional milk, and toppings in a wide mouth, pint size jar and reheat at work.