In the beginning, there was a man named Mr. Quaker….
(Actually, I have no idea what his name is).
Mr. Quaker, My Friend
He convinced me to try out some “real” oatmeal… not that blah instant stuff. (Actually, KERF convinced me, but cut me some slack. I’m trying to tell a story here!)
OK, fine. This story is pretty lame. But as I mixed up this morning’s oatmeal, I thought I’d grab the camera and share with you how I put together my favorite breakfast of all times. We’re just about to the end of oatmeal “season,” when it gets too warm out to really enjoy a hot breakfast. (Alas, the photo of Mr. Quaker up there is actually an empty can – I made the last of my oatmeal rations today, and likely won’t restock until I move in August. *sniff*). So I’m glad to have captured for all eternity what might be The Last (Oatmeal) Breakfast of Spring 2011.
First up, here’s my typical ingredient list. I usually make 3 or 4 servings at a time so I have leftovers to enjoy all week. Total prep time is about 15 minutes. Here are the 4-serving measures:
Whipped Banana Oatmeal Base:
- Old fashioned oats – 1 1/3 cups
- Bob’s Red Mill hot cereal mix (I’m currently enjoying the gluten-free mix) – 4 heaping tablespoons
- Milk (I use vanilla soy or almond milk) – 1 1/3 cups
- Water – 1 2/3 cups (and extra third to make up for the addition of Bob’s Red Mill – decrease by a third cup if you don’t have any Bob’s cereal in there)
- Pinch of Salt
- 3 bananas (If I make 1 serving, I use 1 banana. 3 servings, 2 bananas, and 4 servings, 3 bananas. There’s no science to this).
- 4 heaping tablespoons ground flax seed
- A big pile of cinnamon (maybe a heaping tablespoon? I don’t measure this part!)
- 1 heaping tablespoon brown sugar or agave nectar or brown rice syrup (some kind of sweetener, but not much).
- 1 tablespoon nut butter (chocolate almond butter is my favorite with oatmeal)
Now, FYI, the Quaker package has instructions for 2 serving sizes: one that starts with 1/3 cup oats (which is what I use), and one that starts with 1/2 cup oats. That half cup serving size is BIG! I can’t imagine eating that much oatmeal, because even at the 1/3 cup size, I’m stuffed. But feel free to play around with it if you have a bigger appetite. It’s basically a 1-1-1 ratio of oats-water-milk.
Here we go! Oatmeal, under construction:
Oatmeal: In the Beginning...
We start out with milk, water, bananas, oats, and a pinch of salt. Turn the burner on medium heat and let this puppy sit for about 3 minutes to warm up.
Once the mixture starts to heat, you’ll begin stirring. Stir very frequently for 6 minutes or so.
Stir it up!
Now, you won’t ruin it if you just let it sit for that 6 minutes (though you might have some issues with the oats sticking to the bottom of the pan). I know, stirring for 6 minutes is labor-intensive. But this is where the “whipped banana” part of the recipe comes in. The more you stir it, the more those bananas will turn into fantastic little marshmallow-like banana puffs of goo. And who doesn’t want magic banana puffs of goo in their oatmeal?
Take a break mid-stir and cut up some fruit. My everyday go-to’s are strawberries and blueberries. Raspberries are a frequent contributor as well, along with the occasional kiwi. On Very Special Days, pineapple will star.
Strawberries. Must have.
After 6 minutes or so, your oatmeal should be well on its way. Cook a little longer if you like a thicker oatmeal, and a little shorter if you like a more liquidy oatmeal. Go by texture and just cook it till it looks good to you!
Next up: the Mix-in’s. I use ground flax seed, (a ton of) cinnamon, and a sweetener of some kind – usually brown sugar if I’m making a big batch (because it’s cheaper than agave nectar or brown rice syrup).
The Mix-Ins: Ground flax seed, cinnamon, brown sugar
Stir it all up, and you’ve got the perfect whipped banana oatmeal base!
Perfect oatmeal base
Portion it out into 4 bowls (or fridge containers) and get to work on topping that beast!
Proof that there’s really oatmeal under my fruit:
Proof that there really is oatmeal under there
4 corners of fruit…
Four corners fruit
The Secret Weapon: Justin’s Nut Butters. My favorite is Chocolate Almond Butter, which goes so well with the fruit. (My original version of this was Fancy Oatmeal, inspired by chocolate-dipped strawberries).
The Secret Weapon: Justin's Nut Butters
Take a big ol’ tablespoon of nut butter and dunk it in the middle!
Dunk a blob of Justin's in there!
Get ready to knock your own socks off, and serve:
And that, my friends, is how I make oatmeal.
Honestly, it took me longer to write this post than it does for me to make oatmeal.
It’s so good, and so good for you! Bob Harper says it’s the only cereal he’ll eat (and Bob is one of my life’s heroes, so heck yeah to a thumbs up from Bob!)
Even if you think you don’t like oatmeal, promise me you’ll try real oatmeal – just one time! I thought I hated oatmeal until I made it myself. Now, I can’t imagine how I lived without it.
Until next season, dear oatmeal – unless we shall sneak in a stolen moment in the heat of summer.