What better breakfast to enjoy on a cold Winter’s morning than a hot bowl of oatmeal? We certainly do enjoy our oatmeal around here, and with Spring on her way, I know our oatmeal mornings are numbered – my kids prefer cooler breakfasts when the weather turns warm. So, we’ve been gobbling up plenty of oatmeal lately, savouring it while the weather is still somewhat cold.
The thing with oatmeal is that is can be totally BLAH, or it can be completely awesome. Anybody can throw some oats in boiling water and have a plain and boring bowl of oatmeal within a few minutes. But with a little extra effort, that boring bowl becomes a delicious way to start the day.
We soak our oats overnight. I originally started doing this in an attempt to neutralise the phytic acid in the oats, to make them more nutritious and digestible. Several sources had recommended this. Then I read an article from the Weston A Price Foundation that enlightened me – oats are relatively low in phytic acid to begin with, compared to other grains, and soaking them does little to reduce the phytic acid that is present. Still, we continue to soak our oats. Why? Soaked oats cook MUCH faster and have a nuttier flavour to them. The resulting oatmeal is smoother. Also, we add kefir (cultured/fermented milk) to the soaking jar to infuse the oats with probiotic cultures that our bellies and immune systems just love.
In this house, I almost always add freshly-ground flax seeds to a nearly-finished pot of oats (always use flax freshly-ground; it rapidly loses nutritional quality and becomes rancid soon after being ground. We use a coffee grinder). I also add several heaping tablespoons of hemp seeds after I have turned off the heat. In addition to these things, I will sometimes add chopped apple & cinnamon; sliced peaches; mashed banana; raisins and pre-soaked cashew pieces; some mulberry preserve from the summer; or other yummy things as they are available. Each bowl gets a swirl of raw honey on top before being served, which the kids delight in mixing in themselves.
On mornings when we are in a hurry, I stick to the basics – flax & hemp seeds with raw honey on top. Basic, yes, but still deliciously yummy.
Oh, and I’m sure you’re admiring the beautiful wooden bowl in the photo. Our oatmeal bowls are from The Wood Garden, a local family who creates beautiful wooden toys and dishes. Check out their Etsy shop!