Posted on 29 Comments

A thing about oatmeal

September: A Month of Mornings: 15/30

I have this thing about oatmeal.  I’ve never cared for it, and yet every few years I find myself in the grocery store, picking up a box of the stuff.  The first time I tried it, many years ago, it was plain instant oatmeal, and it was like eating a bowl of mushy cardboard.

A few years later I thought to myself, “maybe it would be better if I tried the flavored kind.” As it turns out, eating instant peaches & cream oatmeal is like eating a bowl of mushy cardboard that you’ve stirred with a peach-flavored lollipop.

Time went by, oatmeal again crossed my mind, and I thought perhaps I had just picked up the wrong flavor before.  Another box of instant oatmeal found its way into my shopping cart – this time, a multi-pack.  I tried the cinnamon.  Guess how that turned out.

You can probably see where I’m going with this.  Yes, the old familiar feeling has returned.  Could it be a Fall thing?  Maybe the chillier mornings have me dreaming about warm and cozy breakfasts?  I really don’t know.  I’m not a big breakfaster under normal circumstances.  A cup of coffee and a Luna Bar will do it for me – or a homemade muffin, if I’m lucky enough to have stocked the freezer with some of those.

Thing is, my eating habits are not what they were last time the oatmeal thing happened to me.  I am not as much about the “instant” as I was.  I’m looking at labels more, trying to avoid the pre-packaged, and I spend more time in the kitchen doing the from-scratch thing and being creative.

If I was going to succumb to this silliness again, it could not be with a box of instant oatmeal this time.  Nope.  I would want to try it with real ingredients.  So I spent last night cutting up a local apple, scooping oats, and measuring muscavado sugar.  I filled up my slow-cooker, put it on Low, and went to bed imagining how fabulous it was going to be to wake with the smell of cinnamon hovering over my pillow.

It would be a quintessential Fall morning, with glorious scents emerging from the kitchen, and eager children holding out their bowls, requesting a taste of the deliciously warm and healthy nourishment I had prepared for us. *contented sigh*

The reality was a somewhat different story.  The cinnamon never did waft up the stairs, but I did get a whiff entering the kitchen.  I thought it smelled lovely, but the boys both wrinkled their noses and informed me they wanted no part of whatever was in the crock pot.

That’s alright.  There would be more for me, then.  This lovely concoction, which was going to blow the instant stuff right out of the water, was all for me.  I took my first spoonful.

Well, wouldn’t you know it? It was just like eating cinnamon-flavored mushy cardboard with a dollop of applesauce.

Darn.  Have I learned anything from this little exercise?  If history is any indication, not likely – ask me in three years.  How much simpler things would be, if I could just accept that I don’t care for oatmeal!  I have no problem saying I dislike peas, or cooked carrots.  Why is this so different?

Ah well.  The silver lining in all of this is that just as I am no longer an “instant oatmeal” kind of girl, I am also no longer a “throw it away” kind of girl.  At least not until I have investigated other possible uses for it first…

Like, say, an ingredient in a muffin batter?

When life hands you leftover oatmeal...

Ohhhh, yes, that’s much better: a dozen slightly-over-gingered but not at all like cardboard, Cinnamon Apple Oatmeal Ginger Muffins, which I may just share with those pesky nose-wrinkling kids if they ask me nicely 🙂

Posted on 29 Comments

29 thoughts on “A thing about oatmeal

  1. Ahh, I love oatmeal, the cereal that is. I make it with vanilla rice milk or almond milk because the water gives it no flavor. I also add pecans and dried cranberries or blueberries. Into the microwave in a glass covered pyrex for 2-3 minutes, stirring once. Once it is cooked, I add a teaspoon of brown sugar and let it cool. It is a tasty treat.

    Your version looks scrumptious.
    .-= See Rosa’s latest blog post: Thrilled . . . =-.

    1. With a description like that, you make me want to try it again. I think that’s what does me in every time – seeing that other people enjoy it so!

      1. This is a elly old post, but I’m hoping that you’ll still get to read it. You may not be an oatmeal person and that’s fine. I commend your resourcefulness. I’ve use leftover oatmeal for all kinds of baked goods. It not only adds moisture, but fiber too! This might be a goof time to start incorporating it into your baked goods on a regular basis, given the recent medical issues. It’s very good for heart health. Before you give up on eating it straight, I have another option. Dominican-style oatmeal (avena). It’s prepared in the normal way (spices added like cinnamon, nutmeg, whatever you like), and sometimes, it’s made with coconut milk or coconut water, yum. Once fully cooked, it goes into the blender and gets processed until completely smooth. You can thin it out and drink it, like a shake or leave it at a thicker consistency and have it like a warm pudding of sorts…so good. Oh, and the only oats that are really oats, in my opinion, are steel-cut. My $.02.

        1. Thanks for the additional information. We may yet give it another try. I have the steel-cut variety, but I have yet to do anything with them!

  2. OMGosh! I do the very same thing! When I was little, my older brother ate oatmeal and toast just about every morning, and since I idolized him, I wanted so badly to like it. I didn’t then, and every time I think I do now, I don’t. Luckily for me, my 2 oldest boys do, so it doesn’t go to waste!
    .-= See Denise’s latest blog post: Wearing Dinner Linens and Stuff =-.

    1. Isn’t that funny? I guess it’s just one of those things you think you *should* like, and so you keep checking, just in case, LOL!

  3. I’m also an oatmeal lover, but I’m not a big fan of rolled oats. Did you use rolled oats or steel cut? I use steel cut, which has a totally different texture. It’s actually chewy. I make it with 1/2 milk and 1/2 water, and add brown sugar, cinnamon and dried fruit. Oh, and don’t forget to add a bit of salt. It’s so much better, just like cookies are.
    .-= See Sarah Jackson’s latest blog post: crazy procrastinator =-.

    1. I used rolled oats. Guess I have to try the steel cut! I do wonder if maybe I’d like it better with something crunchy in it, too, like granola.

  4. I’ve found that most people cook oatmeal to a gloppy, disgusting mush.

    As a kid, my grandma would make oatmeal on the stove and then put a large spoonful in a bowl, put a heaping tablespoon of brown sugar to melt on top, and then cover it all in milk. The oatmeal wasn’t cooked to a mush, so some of the pieces would separate in the milk. The cold milk cooled the nuclear heat of the cereal, and the brown sugar melted deliciously into the milk. A good bowl of oatmeal is all about this layering. Most of the time I have to add more milk and maybe even some brown sugar as I eat to keep from eating the oatmeal by itself. It’s really more of a dessert than a healthy meal. lol

    The instant stuff is nothing like a good bowl of oatmeal.

  5. I, too, am not an oatmeal person. The instant stuff is boring and the old fashioned rolled oats are meh. I, too, would get the craving about once a year, thinking that I liked it again, right around this time, when my body wants warm comfort food, and I would make it and be reminded that I don’t like it.

    HOWEVER! Once I tried steel cut oats, it was a WHOLE different story. It’s a whole different thing from rolled oats, and if done right, can be so flavorful. More like eating rice or some other grain.

    I use Alton Brown’s recipe:
    http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/steel-cut-oatmeal-recipe/index.html
    Definitely toast the oats as the recipe calls for, it adds more flavor. And the buttermilk adds a nice layer of flavor, too.

    He’s got a crockpot recipe, too, that I haven’t tried yet, but am sure is good as well:
    http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/overnight-oatmeal-recipe/index.html

    Try it, I hope you come to love oatmeal as I have.
    .-= See Tracy’s latest blog post: A whole lot of baking (and links) =-.

  6. I am not an instant oatmeal person – I agree that it’s like cardboard. I don’t even normally do oat flakes any more. I use steel cut oats. In a double boiler, I cook 1 cup of steel cut oats with 2 cups skim milk. Don’t let it get to the glue stage. If you want to add apples and cinnamon, you can do that too. I add whatever fruit is in season or in the freezer or dried if no fresh/frozen. I have some when I make it, put the rest in a glass jar and reheat in the microwave with a little bit of milk.

  7. hmm,I’ve never heard of steel cut oats but I do mix mine with wholegrain oats which give them a lovely nutty flavour, cook in the microwave with milk and brown sugar, delicious! Think I might need to try those steel cut oats though as well.
    .-= See Emma’s latest blog post: Tuesday Baking =-.

  8. I have to jump on the bandwagon here and say Stay away from Rolled Oats!! Definitely give the steel cut oats a try. They do take longer to cook on the stovetop, but you can make a batch and keep in the fridge for the week. Then, just microwave a portion for breakfast and top as you like. You can also use apple juice for part of the water in the cooking process for more flavor.

    Give them a try and you’ll never go back! And this is coming from someone who NEVER ate oatmeal until living in Ireland and had the “real” thing 🙂 Enjoy!
    .-= See MelissaS’s latest blog post: Baby Baby =-.

  9. The smell of cooking oatmeal literally makes me ill (which makes chilly mornings interesting when my son wants a bowl). I’m a fan of Bob’s Red Mill 10 grain hot cereal. A little honey, some fruit or applesauce, and I’m a happy camper.

    And the muffin recipe on the back of the bag is pretty good, but I’ve doctored it up some to make it fabulous (if you ask me,lol).

    Hmm…maybe I should blog it?
    .-= See Barbara Forbes-Lyons’s latest blog post: Lift-n-Lok by PDY Systems =-.

  10. Another vote for steel cut oats here. Warm, laced with brown sugar & topped with cold milk (or cream, if you’re feeling decadent), and it’s a great start on a chilly morning, not to mention a good source of that oat fiber they keep telling us we should eat more of.

  11. here the cardboardstuff is called porridge, I am just munching a big bowl full of this wonderfully warming cereal as we will spend the day on a boat hopefully whalewatching.
    .-= See Eliane’s latest blog post: schwitzhütte | indian summer with sweat lodge =-.

  12. […] knew that the key to getting a good conversation started around here was to talk about breakfast?  I’ll keep that in mind for the next slow spell. Heh.  And I guess, based on what […]

  13. My mother-in-law loves oatmeal, very thin and cooked very slowly overnight. Her kids all said it was too slimy for them. One morning oatmeal was the required breakfast and my brother-in-law, who was told he had to eat it, went to the drawer and got out a huge berry spoon. He ate the whole bowl in two monstrous bites. He still hates oatmeal and the spoon will forever be known as, “Harold’s oatmeal spoon!”

    Hubby actually likes oatmeal now and eats the instant stuff three or four times a week.
    .-= See Marty’s latest blog post: Aprons for Mommy and Me =-.

    1. Oh, how funny! And it’s interesting the way our tastes evolve and change. It’s one of the reasons I think, that I keep trying it.

  14. I make a batch of baked oats every Monday. It is delicious, like eating an oatmeal cookie. Your muffins look delicious.
    .-= See shelle’s latest blog post: star struck =-.

    1. Oatmeal cookies are definitely something I can get behind 😀

  15. Try this one:-

    Dried Pineapple chunks (small handful)
    Pecan nuts (small handful, crushed)
    Sunflower seeds (small shake!)
    Soaked raisins – as many as you like depending on sweetness prefered 🙂
    Add the oatmeal and milk and bring almost to the boil, then serve into a bowl.
    Squeeze a ‘dollop’ of ‘runny hunny’ on top and off you go.

    This also keeps you going all morning without needing to snack before lunch – energy and slimming, all in one (so long as you don’t go too crazy on the nuts etc!!)

    1. That sounds interesting! I wouldn’t have thought to have it with pineapples, but I like the idea. Thanks.

  16. How funny! I’ve always liked oatmeal just fine, but I’ve done the exact same thing as you with Cream of Wheat. I think maybe my mom made it for me when I was a kid? Just like you, I would occasionally crave the stuff (probably when the cold weather made me crave comfort food), but every time I bought it, I hated it. Finally gave up a few years ago.

    BUT, after my C-Section in February, Cream of Wheat was the first solid-ish food they let me have. And it tasted SO good. Later I wrote it off to being so hungry, anything would’ve tasted good. But when I got a coupon for a free box, I decided I’d give it another try. Turns out I *do* like it now. Weird. I don’t know if I’m making it differently now — the hospital stuff was saltier & more buttery, where I think I’d tried making it sweeter before — or if it’s just the positive experience that made the difference. Either way, it’s all good now.

    Glad you shared your story. I always thought I was a little crazy for the whole Cream of Wheat thing… but maybe our cravings are just a little “off” sometimes.
    .-= See Angela M.’s latest blog post: Polymer Clay Clocks Class =-.

  17. I used to hate oatmeal (aka porridge Down Under) as a kid until I started making my own from scratch. Try making it on the stovetop, you get that lovely homecooked satisfaction too. I make it with the following proportions, 1/3 cup rolled oats (not instant or quick), 1/3 cup water and 1/3 cup milk per person. Add a pinch of salt and a spoon of brown sugar and stir over low heat until thickened. My kids like to add a little bit of maple syrup on the top, plus some extra milk. mmmm yummy!
    .-= See Leoni’s latest blog post: Scrub-a-dub-dub =-.

  18. Oatmeal is great if you substitute apple juice instead of water in preparation. It makes it very paletable!!!!I have never been an oatmeal lover until recently when I tried this.
    .-= See barb’s latest blog post: My Walking World =-.

  19. Any chance you might share the recipe?

  20. I had the same problem! If I like oats, why not oatmeal? Try this: dump some old-fashioned oats into a bowl, toss in some cinnamon and brown sugar, or maple syrup and then pour some boiling water over it. Not enough to make soup, just enough to soak it. and give it a minuite to suck it all up. Then it’s oat-y but not soupy. more granola-ish. almost.

  21. […] but I am thinking that maybe it would make a good stir-in to plain yogurt. Or maybe I’ll even attempt oatmeal […]

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