I have never liked eggs, I actually can't stand them. I make an effort to try them every once in a while just to make sure, it usually ends in gagging and watering eyes. I think it is pretty safe to say that after almost 32 years of trying, eggs and me are not going to be friends. This leaves me in a little of a breakfast predicament. Take out eggs and take out a lot of variety. I am always looking for something to spice up the first meal of the day.
Hot cereal has always been a favorite, with steel cut oats leading the pack. They are made by cutting the whole grain into a few pieces instead of being rolled. The result is oatmeal with more texture, less mushy. The downfall is longer cooking time. I tackle this by making a bigger batch on a less busy morning and then portioning into containers for following mornings. Steel cut oats can be found at most grocery stores.
My favorite way to prepare steel cut oats is:
1 tablespoon margarine or butter
1 cup steel-cut oats
3 cups boiling water
½ cup dried fruit and nuts
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup skim milk
Melt margarine in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Add oats to marg and stir for 2 minutes, until lightly toasted.
Carefully add 3 cups boiling water to oats in saucepan. Stir and reduce heat to simmer. Simmer gently for 25 minutes, stirring once or twice. Add dried fruit, nuts and cinnamon.
Stir 1 cup milk into oatmeal. Continue to cook for another 8 to 10 minutes, or until most of the milk has been absorbed. Stir once or twice during this time to make sure oatmeal is not sticking to the bottom of the pot. Remove oatmeal from heat. Cover and let stand for 2 minutes. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to three days. To reheat, stir in a little milk and heat on high in the microwave for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring midway through. (Adapted from e-how)
Toasting the oats gives the oatmeal an amazing nutty flavour and makes your kitchen smell like popcorn (and you know how much I love that). You can add any dried fruit you like, this morning I added unsweetened cranberries, blueberries, apricots and raisins. I put in a few pumpkin seeds, hazelnuts and cashews, but almonds and pecans are excellent too. Sprinkle with a little brown sugar and you are in business.
What about the nutrition you ask? Well oatmeal is an excellent source of soluble fiber, 4 grams per 1 cup serving (bonus fiber in the dried fruit and nuts too). What’s so great about soluble fiber? It can help lower total cholesterol and bad LDL cholesterol in addition to stabilizing blood sugar levels. Perfect.
I have so much more to say about fiber so stay tuned…
Tiffany McFadden, RD