Sunday, November 15, 2009

The World's Stupidest Post (or how to pontificate about a breakfast food)

As I've been writing every day for NaBloPoMo, I've realized that it's a bit trickier to blog every single day. Not that I run out of things to say, I just run out of things that I think people will actually want to read. =] I mean, there are only so many times you want to read about Jackson climbing on the counters and getting into stuff.

So I'm going to write about something totally random: Oatmeal. I spent a lot of time thinking that oatmeal was a sort of lower life form where breakfast foods are concerned. I remember my grandma making really yummy, creamy oatmeal on the stove, but it never seemed to turn out the same when I made it myself. Just gooey, tasteless, pasty mush.... Sure, it will keep you alive if you have to live off your food storage, but if you have a choice whether to eat it? Um, no. Keep some on hand for oatmeal cookies and call it good.

When I was an intern during the summers between college I discovered the beauty of instant oatmeal: if I kept packets of it in my desk I could use the hot water dispenser to make some when I got to work. It was ready instantly and I could eat it while I worked at my desk and not have to eat breakfast before I left, saving whole minutes of my life! Score! But while it worked fine for sustenance, it still was more of a low-tier, survival sort of food and dropped out of my diet once I returned to school and didn't have a hot water dispenser.

Oatmeal again entered my life when I tried to lose weight after I had Camryn. I discovered an easy Weight Watchers recipe that was an easy, filling perfect breakfast: Applesauce Cinnamon Walnut Oatmeal. It was a total of 4 points and filled me up so I ate it literally almost every day for more than a year. (The recipe, by the way, is really easy: You microwave 1/2 cup of quick-cooking oatmeal with 1 cup of water. Add 1 tsp. brown sugar, 1/2 cup applesauce and sprinkle it with cinnamon and 5 walnut halves, broken up. Mix together and voila! Incidentally, my kids love this recipe and it is the only way they will eat oatmeal.) But all good things must come to an end and eventually I tired of my applesauce oatmeal kick and moved on to other breakfast foods.

When I first moved here to the Northwest, I went to an Enrichment meeting on nutrition. The lady giving it talked about how you to be REALLY nutritious you don't want to eat horrible, inferior quick-cooking oatmeal: you have to cook the old-fashioned slow cooking kind. And if you REALLY want to be nutritious, then you need to cook steel-cut oats (which take 20 minutes to cook!). I was irritated that anyone could dis my once-beloved quick-cooking oatmeal. But my curiosity was piqued and I decided I had to try it. I went to Safeway and looked but couldn't even find steel-cut oats. I finally went to a specialty grain store and bought some. I made a truly life-changing discovery. Steel-cut oats truly take oatmeal to a new level. No longer do you have tasteless, mushy paste for your breakfast. It is creamy but chewy with a real oat-y flavor to it. If you add sliced bananas or Craisins with walnuts and evaporated milk, then you have a truly delectable breakfast experience, fit to drive off the damp chill of a Northwest winter morning.

But being the lazy person that I am, I am not about to wait for 20 minutes every morning for my oatmeal to boil (actually it's only 15 but that is still way too long). So I cook a big pot on Monday morning and then microwave a little each morning for my breakfast. I always have canned milk, brown sugar, cinnamon and walnuts, but I vary the fruit.

Of course I eventually get tired of it and move on to some other breakfast food kick, but when the chilly, damp November mornings hit, inevitably I get hit with an oatmeal craving. Yum!

P.S. Today was the Primary program at church. All of the kids from age 4-12 do the entire church program, singing songs and speaking lines. I have been the music leader for the primary program four times and I know how much work goes into it. The kids did a fantastic job (not to mention the leaders who put it all together).Great job, Jared and Camryn!!

P.P.S I can't believe I really wrote an entire post about oatmeal. OK. It's time to get my scanner working again so I can scan some old pictures and write about something more interesting.


Ranell said...

We ate instant oatmeal this morning and I was feeling good about myself because it was a healthier than our normal breakfast. I have tried steel cut oats and they are yummier.

Also, I will always be interested in anything you write! But one post about oatmeal is probably enough, ;)

Lara said...

I actually loved reading this. I've been wanting to try steel cut oats, but they are hard to find. You make me want to up my search.

K kid said...

What?!! You don't want multiple posts about my choices in breakfast cereal? ;) BTW, I think that instant oatmeal is just great. Steel cut oats are yummy but they take so much longer....

janeannechovy said...

I haven't found steel-cut oats to be hard to find; you just need to know where to look (there are at least two kinds at my local Fred Meyer, I know for sure). You can usually find McCann's Irish Oatmeal by the Quaker Oats, in either a box or a su-weet reusable metal tin. Or there is Bob's Red Mill steel-cut oats, which you can find in the Bob's display (often in the natural-foods section), and sometimes in the bulk foods section. I bought the McCann's tin the first time, and then since have refilled it with the Bob's.

Not that I make it that often. Usually when I have houseguests, since I'm the only real oatmeal fan around here. And then I use my mini slow cooker so I don't have to get up earlier than my guests to get it ready. Works like a charm.

Emily Laing said...

I love oatmeal. I learned how to make my own "instant oatmeal" packets this fall and my husband and I eat it all the time. And my little ones too.