Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Overnight Steel Cut Oats and My Favourite Healthy Breakfast

In the New Year, I thought it would be nice to make a better effort to eat less sugar and processed food.  I wanted to try make steel cut oats a part of my breakfast since oatmeal has so many health benefits.  

Steel cut oats are not rolled and they look like broken up bits of brown rice. They take much longer to cook than old-fashioned rolled oats but that is part of its beauty.  Since they are less processed, they take longer to digest and keep our blood sugar even.

According to the package, it takes about 10-20 minutes to cook.  Our busy mornings do not afford this time, so I make a few days worth the night before using an easier method. Whenever I have time (in the afternoons or right before bed), I take 1 cup steel cup oats and 2.5 cups of water.  I like the 1:2.5 ratio.  I like my oatmeal with a little bit of a chew.  

Bring to a boil, cover and simmer on LOW for only 5 minutes

Oops!  I didn't turn down the heat low enough and it boiled over.  

Just a peek at the oats after simmering for a few minutes. 

Turn off the heat and let it sit on the warm burner overnight or for several hours until cool enough to put in the fridge.  That's it!  I don't have time to wait for 10-20 minutes for breakfast in the mornings.  Reheat oatmeal in the microwave and eat it the same manner as regular oatmeal.  One serving is 1/2 cup cooked steel cut oatmeal.    

Note:  If you like the texture of your steel cut oatmeal to be a harder/chewier or softer/mushier, adjust the cook time and the amount of water to your preference.   

Steel cut oats have become my favourite healthy breakfast in the new year.  This is what I normally do:  I warm up some oatmeal with brown rice protein powder and nondairy milk in the microwave.  Then top with fresh or thawed frozen blueberries, a tablespoon of ground flaxseed, and sweetened with a teaspoon of raisins and a dash of cinnamon.  

I was able to find unsweetened brown rice protein powder as an alternative because I have an egg and dairy intolerance.  I am hoping this food intolerance is just temporary!  

Everything in my "breakfast bowl" can be swapped for different toppings and ingredients as desired.  This oatmeal provide a nice base for a healthy, sugar-free breakfast.  

The combination of protein powder and oats gives me the energy needed to get the kids out the door and my day started.  I found that just 1/2 serving of protein powder (half the amount to make 1 protein shake) was enough to give the oatmeal the last power til lunch. Without protein or some sort, I was ravenous within 2 hours.  

Overnight Steel Cut Oats

1 cup (8 oz) uncooked steel cut oats
2.5 cups (20 fl oz) water

Bring water and steel cut oats to a rolling boil.  Simmer on LOW for 5 minutes.  Turn off heat and leave on warm burner overnight or for a few hours until cooled.  Refrigerate.  Makes at least 3 cups of cooked oatmeal.  Reheat and serve like regular oatmeal.  

High Protein Berry Steel Cut Oatmeal

1/2 cup (4 oz) cooked steel cut oats
1/2 serving (15g)  protein powder (I use brown rice protein powder)
2-3 Tbsp milk as needed (I use rice or almond milk) 

1/2 cup (4 oz) berries (fresh or frozen and thawed)
1 Tbsp ground flaxseed
1 tsp dried fruit bits (cut dates, prunes, raisins, etc for added sweetness)
optional:  drizzle of maple syrup if not sweet enough

Mix 1/2 cup steel cut oatmeal with 1/2 serving protein powder and 2-3Tbsp milk, as needed to dissolve the protein powder.  Cover and reheat in microwave for 30 seconds or until warm.  Top with 1/2 cup fresh or thawed frozen blueberries, ground flaxseed, dried fruit and a dash of cinnamon.  

I know this is not the prettiest bowl of oatmeal, but it is so hearty and fills this busy mommy's tummy for the crazy day ahead!  

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