In Love and Oatmeal

There are very few things, especially when it is cold outside, that will willingly get me out of bed at 6:30 a.m. — on a Monday, no less. I think I can count the things on one hand:

  1. The smell of delicious coffee
  2. Travel
  3. The promise of something amazing for breakfast
  4. ????????
  5. ????????

It’s amazing how your outlook and general sense of wellbeing can improve by simply going to sleep earlier and, thus, waking up earlier. I have done so the last week and I can say that I feel like I have my life together, more or less. So rather than stay under my toasty heated blanket and five other blankets I sleep under (I get cold easily) when my alarm went off early this morning, I was eager to jump out of bed and get ready because I had something delicious in mind.

Now, I should come clean about something. I, Danielle Waldron, have gone through 21 years of life without having tried steel-cut oats. That came to a screeching halt this morning and I could not be happier about it. Lately, I have been a little  absolutely obsessed with Lauren’s blog, The Oatmeal Artist. I’ve already written about two of the recipes I have tried of hers (the first one I tried was her Pumpkin Pie Baked Oatmeal and then I tried the Cherry Cashew Oatmeal). Neither of these concoctions have steered me wrong, so I went full speed ahead for the steel cut oats this morning. And to be quite honest, there is something about making a delicious breakfast before an 8:30 a.m. theory class that makes you feel unstoppable.

Enter Brownie Batter Oatmeal. I know what you might be thinking: Something so sweet for breakfast? I was skeptical at first, as well. However, there is no added sugar in this oatmeal — the sweetness comes from the banana. I used unsweetened almond milk and it yielded a fantastic result.

I know it isn't the most photogenic food ever, but it was entirely delicious.

I know it isn’t the most photogenic food ever, but it was entirely delicious. I wouldn’t lie about this!

As soon as I added the cocoa powder, my apartment smelled fantastic and the oats thickened up just like brownie batter. These oats are really rich and very filling, but not rich in the way that make you feel like you are going to be in a sugar coma. The bar for steel-cut oats has been set and it has been set rather high. I can’t wait to try them out with other ingredients.

Steel-cut oats with almond milk on the stove.

They cook a bit differently than rolled oats do, however. First, the ratio of oats:liquid isn’t the same. For rolled oats, the ratio is 1:2 and for steel-cut, it is 1:4. Moreover, steel-cut oats don’t really swell up as much as rolled oats do. Take care to stir steel-cut oats constantly. As they were on the stove, I was curious if the nutritional profile of steel-cut oats was superior to rolled oats, so I did some research.

Prevention Magazine has a great infographic comparing steel-cut and rolled oats and what they found wasn’t all too surprising. Oats are oats are oats, and as long as they are minimally processed, they are all pretty comparable. Sweet!

I guess you could say I have been on an oatmeal kick lately, because I tried another one of Lauren’s recipes last week: Lemon Coconut Oatmeal. Last Friday, my early class was canceled so with an extra hour, it was my duty and obligation to eat a slower breakfast rather than throw down a kale smoothie and run out the door.

A little taste of summer in a cold morning.

I can’t explain how great this recipe is to use up ripe bananas without having to throw them out. I followed the recipe and used fresh lemon juice rather than concentrate. For coconut flakes, I suggest you try to use raw, minimally processed flakes rather than the oily ones you can easily find in the baking aisle. Once again, Lauren’s recipes have yet to disappoint me and I have made this recipe at least three times since Friday — no shame.

Winter is on its way to the midwest — my sister, who lives in Chicago, sent me a photo of her car covered in snow. Where I live, we are slated to get some snow tonight, so I foresee more warm, delicious oats in my very near future. Because of the impending snow and cold, I took my run outside last night to enjoy the last bit of warm weather and watch a beautiful sunset to close another week. I got a few good miles in before dinner with a great view.

I don’t care how old I am — I will always go out of my way to step on crunch leaves, even in the middle of my run.

It was just what I needed as another week goes whooshing by and I prepare to take on another week to close out this semester.

Before I head out for the day, I want to take a second to acknowledge Veteran’s Day and thank those who have made sacrifices to safeguard the things I hold dear. As a writer and newsie, I am constantly reminded how special the First Amendment is to be free to speak and write freely — and that is so important. Furthermore, I am free to exercise my personal beliefs as a vegan. I didn’t have the pleasure of knowing him in my adult years, but my Grandfather was in the Navy during WWII and my memories of him are good ones. He was the definition of salty and seaworthy and I’m glad to have known him when I was much younger. Now that I’m older, I appreciate these things a bit more so I have thought about this guy quite a bit today:

My Grandfather circa WWII — wasn't he dapper?

My Grandfather circa WWII — wasn’t he dapper?

Happy Veteran’s Day to those who — past, present or future — safeguard those things that so often we take for granted.

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2 thoughts on “In Love and Oatmeal

  1. I have the same breakfast nearly everyday. Oatmeal with sliced bananas with cinnamon – somedays peanut butter somedays none – and it still gets me going!!

    • Oatmeal is one of my favorites! I usually did a few raisins but I am really enjoying getting more creative with it. Perfect breakfast each time! 🙂

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