It’s Autumn, which means in most of the country, the temperatures are cooling, the leaves are changing colors and folks are pulling out a jacket now and then for the seasonal weather. I love this time of year! I always look forward to the fun that fall brings: football season, big pots of soup, pumpkins everywhere and comfort food. Starting our morning with a hot bowl of breakfast makes it a great way to begin each day. The options are endless really. Just a little creativity and the standard bowl of oatmeal can be an adventure each day!
The benefit of oats can’t be beat. Helping to lower cholesterol is a great attribute of having a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast. Don’t like oatmeal? Have your oats dry with fruit and a splash of non-dairy milk. This versatile grain can be made in hundreds of ways. Can’t do oats? There are many varieties of grains that you can substitute, read on for more info.
I use old-fashioned rolled oats as the base for most of the oatmeal that I make. Whether you prefer the thick cut rolled oats, steel cut oats or the quick cooking oats, they all make the basis for a great bowl of breakfast. Steel cut oats take the longest to cook, but they can be cooked on low heat in your crockpot for 7 hours. For crockpot steel cut oats, use 1 cup of steel cut oats and 4 cups water. Toss in diced apples, cinnamon and raisins to wake up to a ready made breakfast with leftovers for individual serving size containers for mornings when you are in a rush. Just grab them out of the freezer and microwave.
Other grains and seeds that make for a great breakfast include Bob’s Red Mill 10 Grain Hot Cereal, quinoa, corn meal, bulgar wheat and rice. You can even mix a few grains to make your own custom porridge. Choose the texture and consistency that you enjoy. My husband grew up loving Cream of Wheat, so a hot cereal for breakfast is his favorite. He has it almost every day. His favorite standard breakfast is old fashioned oats topped with bananas and frozen blueberries with a touch of unsweetened almond milk. If I made this exact bowl for breakfast everyday, he’d eat it, smiling all the while.
Me? I like to mix it up. Often, I prefer a savory breakfast to a sweet one. Oats don’t pair exclusively with fruit. Get creative and make some savory oats! Adding some steamed kale, salsa and a dusting of nutritional yeast can make for a fun and spicy breakfast. This is a great way to use up leftover veggies from last night’s dinner. You can add black beans and avocado with a few jalapenos or even add some marinara sauce and sweet peppers.
Some fun combinations to try include pineapple banana, sliced grapes with fresh cranberries, mango raspberry or diced pears with English walnuts. You might also enjoy Engine 2′s Hot Lap Bowl
made with quinoa instead of oats, or mixing some cooked rice with a 10-grain cereal to make a hearty and satisfying base for your favorite toppings.
It’s your breakfast – add your favorite items to it. Don’t like cinnamon? Try nutmeg instead. One of my favorite ways to flavor oatmeal is to infuse an herbal tea bag into the water first before adding the oats(or rice, quinoa, corn meal etc). My favorites include: apple cinnamon, rooibos chai, pumpkin spice and rooibos vanilla. Once the tea has steeped, add your grain!
Have fun with your breakfast! Mix it up and keep us posted about your oatmeal adventures!