My Greatest Love, Oatmeal
As a child, I was obsessed with dinosaur oatmeal. I would eat two packages for breakfast, one after school, and maybe even one as dessert. I loved the little eggs, the sugary goodness as they hatched and exposed the even tinier red, blue, green, and yellow dinosaurs...
And then my mom stopped buying them, realizing that I was eating way too much of the stuff. I even remember throwing a tantrum (oops) about it, crying as she stopped shopping at Safeway to go to the brand new Whole Foods that would never even think of selling such a product. When I started college, it had been years since I'd last tasted the wonderful dinosaur oatmeal. I never even attempted to eat other oatmeal, because in my mind, nothing would live up to the taste and pure fun that came with rushing to stuff the eggs in your mouth before they melted into the oats. So when I got back to my room after class one day and saw a box of dinosaur oatmeal sitting on my mini fridge (!!!!) I almost fell down. My roommate, as it turned out, also loved the oatmeal and had ordered some on Amazon. I decided then that she was my best friend.
I quickly tore open a packet, turned on our tea-kettle, and made the instant oats. I was so excited to be reunited with my childhood love that I didn't even process the taste at first. But, after a few spoonfuls, I stopped. I looked down at the mug filled with the oats and was confused. Was this the same taste? Was this what I had been yearning after all these years? I put my spoon down and drank a big gulp of water.
The oatmeal was so overwhelmingly sweet and I did not have the tolerance for it. My tolerance for sugar had really diminished over the years, and I had never even stopped to think that would include dinosaur oatmeal.
A few days later in the dining hall, I saw the big pot of plain oatmeal. I hesitantly went up and stared at it for a moment, wondering why it was always guaranteed a spot at breakfast buffets. I moved out of the way so another student could scoop some into a bowl, and she topped it with nuts, brown sugar, and a splash of milk. I watched another top her's with some apple, a bit of peanut butter, and honey. The oatmeal suddenly became more than just a mushy thing in a pot- it was transformed into something sweet, something crunchy, something smooth... it became whatever they wanted it to be.
What better way was there for me to overcome my grief for dinosaur oatmeal than to create a version of my very own? I took what I loved and placed it all on top of a heaping scoop of the stuff. And I absolutely loved it!
Oatmeal is always a great base, as you can alter the taste so dramatically depending on what you cook it in or what you top it with. When I got home for break, I experimented a ton with what to put on my oatmeal, and eventually I figured out my go to oatmeal that I think tops dinosaur oatmeal any day of the week.
Now, I love oatmeal. Seriously. When I was in Copenhagen, I could have lived at Grød, their famous porridge restaurant. Thankfully, it isn’t hard to make. I’m a big fan of rolled oats versus quick oats, because they maintain many dietary benefits that quick oats get rid of in their processing. Yes, they take a bit longer to cook, but I really think the benefits outweigh the cons. Plus, it's easy to make a large batch during my weekly meal prep and eat it throughout the week. There are so many different things you can do with oats, hence why I own all the oats. You can make oatmeal, overnight oats, baked goods, smoothies, yogurt bowls, cereal, pancakes, flour, energy balls… the possibilities are endless!
Another great thing about oatmeal is that it is C-H-E-A-P. I have a massive canister that cost me $2.50! What can get expensive are the toppings you buy for the oatmeal. However, bananas are pretty inexpensive, peanut butter depending which brand you get is not too bad (or you can always grind your own!), and you can always make your own granola using the massive amount of oats of which you are now the proud owner.
My go to sweet oatmeal recipe is really simple and I especially love it because it incorporates many of my favorite organic, non-processed food brands that are on the market today. I can’t really take credit for this because the only thing I do is make the oats and then add all of the already made ingredients…
Have you jumped on board the oatmeal train yet? What are your favorite ways to use it?
- Rolled oats
- I like Purely Elizabeth because it has a low glycemic index, all natural ingredients, is gluten free, and isn’t too sweet
- Banana slices
- Berries of your choice
- Raspberries are my go to because I love how they add tartness to counter the sweet banana, and how they soften up in the dish
- All-natural nut butter
- I love Trader Joes's Crunchy Almond Butter (unsalted)
- Coconut milk
Follow directions of oats on stove top (or microwave if in a hurry) and then top it all with the ingredients!