As our mothers and doctors have always told us, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” I’m probably like a lot of other people who, during their college years, really didn’t keep this advice in mind. Coffee was my breakfast. However, I’ve come to really enjoy a great breakfast in the morning. One of my favorites, no matter what time of the year it is, is oatmeal. When I’ve told friends that, some of them cringe as memories of nearly solid, flavorless bowls of oatmeal return to their minds. I’m definitely not talking about that kind of oatmeal. One of the types of foods that I can’t stand are the instant packets of oatmeal that you can purchase in the store. What these packets lack in nutrition and true flavor, they make up for in the amount of sugar, salt, and other additives that they contain. If you’re a believer in these packets, I don’t mean to offend you, but there is a better way.
This past winter I began to experiment with trying to make my ultimate oatmeal. When I was a child, my mom would make oatmeal with lots of golden raisins and brown sugar. Looking back, it was delicious, but the sugar content was immense. I mean no disrespect to my mom, who taught me a lot of what I know about cooking. I wanted to make a bowl of oatmeal with a huge amount of nutrition, tons of flavor, and as natural as it could be. After trying, trying, and trying again, I finally came up with the recipe below. I know what you’re thinking, “I’m very busy during the week and I don’t have that kind of time.” I can say without a doubt that you can make this on a work day, because I have. If you have about 15 minutes, you can have a delicious, nutritious breakfast that will stick with you all the way through lunch.
Another great thing about this recipe is that it can be increased to feed two or three people. Just in case you feel like making oatmeal for a crowd one morning.
My Ultimate Oatmeal
- ½ cup oats (I like Bob’s Red Mill Extra Thick Rolled Oats, but any extra thick oat will do)
- 1 cup milk
- A pinch of salt
- 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- A small handful of dried cranberries (try to find ones with very little added sugar)
- 1-2 Tbsp. pure maple syrup (amount depends on your desired sweetness)
- 2 Tbsp. wheat germ
- In a small pan, stir the milk, salt, and vanilla extract together. Bring these just to the beginning of a boil over medium heat.
- Before the milk boils (if it does, it will overflow quickly and you will have a mess to clean up) pour in your oats and stir. Adjust the temperature so that the mixture doesn’t overflow. Remember to stir this occasionally to prevent the mixture from sticking. Different oats will cook for different amounts of time. It should take about 8 minutes or until the mixture is creamy, but not sticking to the bottom of the pot.
- When the oats are ready, remove them from the heat and set them aside.
- Take you cranberries and put them into your bowl. Pour your maple syrup over them and now add your oats. Lastly, put the wheat germ on top. Now you mix all of these ingredients together until they are all combined and creamy.
- Get your coffee and enjoy this delicious breakfast.
As I said, this recipe came from a lot of trial and error. You just have to remember that if you’re making this recipe for multiple people, each person’s bowl should be separately setup with the cranberries, maple syrup, and wheat germ. You shouldn’t mix these all together before putting them into the bowls. I tried this and, for some reason, it just wasn’t the same.
Now that you have this recipe, I hope that you’ll take some time one morning and give it a try. I think that you’ll enjoy it and find out that oatmeal isn’t as bad as you might remember.