As the weather gets cooler and fall approaches, I’ve been craving hot oatmeal. Yes I can hear you laughing because summer ain’t even near over for a lot of you. But I happen to live in beautiful Colorado where even summer mornings are crisp and cool. So much so that it’s often difficult to drink a smoothie because it’s too chilly!
banana oatmeal topped with peanut butter, granola and fresh, sliced strawberries
I typically don’t love hot oatmeal. I prefer overnight oats or a cold muesli-type dish but lately I’ve been having hot oatmeal for breakfast more often than not. And not just boring plain oats that you have to choke down, but some really amazing and satisfying combos.
banana oatmeal topped with frozen blueberries, peanut butter, granola and pumpkin seeds
In the spirit of the fact that I have been on my oatmeal game, I thought I’d share with you my tips for making yummier oatmeal. After all, oats are a great source of fiber, protein (yes protein!), and iron and studies show they can do everything from lower your cholesterol to help control blood sugar in diabetics and reduce the risk of heart disease. Plus they are pretty much the cheapest food you can buy (by volume).
banana oatmeal topped with raisins, cinnamon, almond butter and shredded carrots
Tips for really good oatmeal
Sweeten with banana – this is a yummy trick I picked up from Anne at Fannetastic Food. She even has a super easy microwavable banana oatmeal recipe on her site for those mornings when you’re short on time. (I do love to stand over a stove and stir my oats though.) In this case the more ripe your banana, the better. I typically do not like really ripe bananas – give ‘em to me green – but they are perfect for oatmeal.
Don’t let it get too thick – I take my oats off the stove when they still have a soupy consistency. Oatmeal thickens as it cools so if you wait too long you’ll have a hard time choking them down. I pull them off the stove just as the liquid starts to bubble and the oats still seem a little runny. By the time I top them and take a picture for instagram ;) they are perfect. Of course, this is all personal preference.
Vary your toppings/add-ins – For the life of me I cannot understand people who eat plain oatmeal. Throw some fun stuff on that bowl! Berries, granola, nuts/seeds, nut butter, dried fruit, fresh fruit like apples, and even veggies are great toppings for oats. Just check out Angela’s Savory Mexican Oatmeal, a recipe I’ve been enjoying for a few years now.
And always include some hearty fats – Man cannot live on carbs alone. Though I try, I really try. Always include a hearty fat like peanut butter or hemp seeds to up the protein and satiety factors.
Use frozen berries – As a topping, not as a stir-in. This is a new trick I just discovered. All I had were frozen blueberries so I just topped my oats with those and WOW! I loved the combination of hot and ice cold and how they slowly melted as I ate. I’ve made oats with frozen blueberries about 10 times now and just tried frozen strawberries too, yum.
When all else fails, use oatmeal as just another vehicle for chocolate – ’nuff said
banana oatmeal topped with chunky almond butter, frozen strawberry pieces and dark chocolate chips