The weather is cooling down in Melbourne. I turned my heat on for the first time last week (I thought my adventures with appliances were over after living in my apartment for six months, but after several attempts to turn the temperature up and still have the air con spit out streams of cold air, I ended up searching online for the user manual and discovering there was a whole section of the remote control I didn’t even know existed! One press of a button and presto – heat! So simple.). The change in weather likewise brings changes to my diet. Two weeks ago I made chili. Last night I made Mexican-inspired tacos using this recipe from Ambitious Kitchen. I now keep soup stocked in my cupboard for those days I don’t feel like cooking and need something healthy to eat.
And so it goes for breakfast. What is better than waking up on a chilly morning and consuming a warm bowl of gooey oatmeal and a cup of tea or coffee? The fact that oatmeal is quick, easy, and healthy makes it even better! After years of making oatmeal in the microwave, I recently uncovered the deliciousness of cooking oats on the stove. I don’t know what happens on the stove vs in the microwave, but the resulting texture is creamy, thick, smooth, and simply amazing.
I have a formula for oatmeal: oats + fruit + nuts + spice = delicious! I normally use half soy milk and half water for the liquid, but you could use regular milk, almond milk, or all water as well. You will also notice that cinnamon is in every single recipe. I love cinnamon. I go through more cinnamon that any other spice – even salt. But it is especially great with oatmeal. Here are my three favorite combinations:
Peanut Butter Banana: Mix ½ cup regular (not quick) oats with ½ cup soy milk and ½ water in a small saucepan. Turn the stove to medium heat. When the mixture begins to boil and thicken, turn down the heat and add 1 sliced banana, 1 heaped teaspoon peanut butter, ½ teaspoon cinnamon, and a dash of salt. Add more liquid to reach desired consistency.
Blueberry Banana: Mix ½ cup regular oats with 1 cup water and ½ cup frozen blueberries in a small saucepan. Turn the stove to medium heat. Similar to the first recipe, when the mixture starts to thicken, add ½ sliced banana, ½ teaspoon cinnamon, and a dash of salt. Add liquid as desired and top with toasted slivered almonds.
Apple Raisin Spice: This is my favorite! Mix ½ cup regular oats with ½ cup water, ½ cup soy milk and one diced apple in a small saucepan. Make sure to chop the apple into fairly small pieces if you want them to be soft in the final product. As the mixture starts to boil add ½ teaspoon cinnamon, a dash of allspice, and a dash of salt. When your oatmeal is ready, stir in 1/8 cup raisins. Top with chopped toasted walnuts and relish every bite!
I highly recommend that you cook oats on the stove (it only takes about 2 minutes longer than the microwave and is SO much better), but if you’re really in a time crunch, any of these recipes can be made in the microwave. If using frozen fruit or an apple be sure to cook them with the oats and liquid for four minutes to ensure they are hot and soft. I recommend stirring in the banana at the halfway point in cooking otherwise it will become complete mush. But please try the stovetop method – you will be amazed at the difference and want to eat oatmeal every morning!