I never get sick of oatmeal. I might go through brief interludes of interest in switching it up with scrambled eggs or a breakfast sandwich, but for the most part oatmeal and I stick together like glue every morning. I switch it up with a cold variation like bircher-muesli in the summer, and in the fall and winter I love having a hot bowl in the morning, always with toppings. To me, it’s the perfect breakfast food. The health benefits are undeniable–oatmeal has been found to lower cholesterol, and provides energy in complex carbohydrates with lots of soluble fiber to stabilize your blood sugar. It’s also inexpensive–I like to buy a jumbo box of plain, old-fashioned oats, which has about 30 servings and costs around $3-4. None of the pre-packaged, sugary packets for me, thanks. My long-time standby mix-ins for hot oatmeal have included chopped apples, cinnamon, honey, and nuts.
Lately I’ve tried some other varieties that I thought I’d share. First off, I usually mix my oats with half milk and half water. I recently discovered the joy of using hemp milk from Trader Joe’s in this mix. Their hemp milk provides almost half your daily serving of Omega-3 ALA fats–those healthy fats you need for a healthy functioning brain and heart. The fat and protein the hemp milk provides makes for an extra creamy bowl of oats, and I find that it really helps to keep me full for longer.
Along with hemp milk I’ve tried a few new add-ins:
The Thanksgiving-season appropriate Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal, with:
- 1/4 cup canned pumpkin (plain, not sweetened)
- Pumpkin pie spices: ground ginger, allspice, nutmeg, and cinnamon, adjusted to your taste preference. I like a lot of ginger in mine.
- Drizzle of honey
- Chopped walnuts
I scoop the pumpkin in with the uncooked oatmeal and hemp milk and heat it up all together (about 4 minutes in the microwave), and then add on the toppings and an extra splash of milk once its cooled a little.
My other new favorite variety involves:
- 2 tbsp dried, unsweetened coconut flakes
- dried cranberries
- chopped walnuts
- drizzle of maple syrup
This variation came out of using what I had on hand in the pantry, and just happened to come together fabulously. It might be my favorite variety to date.