It was fun yesterday, all the excitement of the last day of school. Swim practices. Drama parties. Ice cream at Brewster’s to celebrate the good grades. We had tacos for dinner, always a favorite and a “guaranteed eat” which is hard to come by in a house as full as mine. Tonight we are having Indian. Korma Curry and Tikka Masala, half veg only and half with chicken. Luckily the naan bread was on sale, and I know it isn’t legit, but I really like avocados with my curry. It must be the whole cilantro thing that makes me think avocados. Believe it or not, but Indian is another “guaranteed eat” in my family. Seems we love ethnic food, because Thai and Sushi, almost anything Asian also fall into that category.
Anyway, I digress, because what I really want to talk about is Oatmeal.
Not the kind that you add hot water to and voila, have oatmeal. The kind that you have to love. Stir. Be gentle to and coax into a creamy, gooey, chewy, sweet with just a hint of salt spoonful of goodness.
The alarm went off at 4:30am.
Why in the heck am I waking up at 4:30 on the first day of no school? Because it is also the first day of long course, summer session for my girls. Their alarms were set for 4:45 and I wanted to get up and have my first few sips of coffee in me before they came downstairs, sleepy and bleary-eyed, to eat. They get in the water at 6am and swim until 8:15. On Tuesday’s and Thursday’s its doubles, so they are back at practice for 2 more hours in the afternoon. They need good food, and lots of it. Sometimes is eggs over potatoes, sometimes peanut butter and jelly waffles, sometimes cheese grits that I sneak eggs into. This morning, Abby asked for oatmeal.
I love oatmeal. It’s infinitely versatile, you can put whatever you want in it, tailor it to however you want. It is portable. I buy the disposable coffee cups with lids, fill it and give her a spoon and she can nourish her body with whole grains in the car. It’s warm and makes your tummy feel good. And best of all? It is really, really good for you.
This morning I made Abby’s oatmeal with brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and sliced almonds for crunch. I knew it would give her what she needed to get through a two hour practice, and it only took about 7 minutes.
Let the morning practices begin!
Basic Oatmeal – 1 swimmer serving
1 cup milk (whole, skim, whatever you have)
2 tsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla
pinch of kosher salt
1 1/2 cups Old-fashioned Oats
Stir everything together in a small, heavy duty saucepan. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat and cook for 5-7 minutes until thick and viscous. Depending on your preference (thick or thin oatmeal) continue to cook if you want it thicker, or add a few more oats.
Top with whatever you like: raisins, cranberries, blueberries, pecans, granola, almonds, walnuts, honey, maple syrup, raspberry or strawberry syrup. Pumpkin would be awesome cooked in.
Sometimes I cut up an apple and cook with the oatmeal, sometimes I add nutmeg, you just never know!
The sky is the limit!
ps – Check out the Quaker site for more ideas, Oatmeal cookies with chocolate chips are my absolute favorite, but oats are good in everything from meatloaf to pies!