|My new favorite oatmeal|
So before I get into the recipe I've concocted, I think it's important to understand that this "thick and rough" oatmeal is different than what you might be used to. This stuff is a LOT different than normal oatmeal - if it were the same of stuff, I wouldn't be raving about it, of course.
So let's have a little oatmeal lesson first (or you can scroll down and get straight to the recipe if you prefer):
Groats - this is the name of the oat kernel once the hard outer husk has been removed. All the variations of oats below are based on the groat.
Steel Cut Oats - also called Scottish Oats or Irish Oats - this is the groat kernel chopped into two or three small pieces and resembles small pellets rather than traditional oats we're used to seeing. They have a distinct nutty flavor. Cooking time is about 15-20 minutes and are great for recipes like Baked Oatmeal.
Old Fashioned Rolled Oats - these are made when the groat has been steamed and then rolled flat. The thickness of the rolled oat determined the final texture of the oatmeal. For instance Quaker Old Fashioned Oats have been rolled fairly thin, so it's what most people associate with rolled oats. But the thickness of the rolled oat varies based on the process used, so thick or rough oats will have a distinctly different texture than one that's rolled very thin. Cooking time is based on the thickness of the rolled oat and can range from 3 minutes to 10 minutes. See the recipe below for my new favorite breakfast!
I prefer the thick cut because the oatmeal doesn't have the traditional creaminess that thin oats has. I like that each individual rolled oat stands up on it's own and is firm in texture. Creamy oatmeal has it's place, but I don't like it when it's so cream it just slithers down my throat without the benefit of actually tasting it (get your mind out of the gutter people!).
Quick Oats - these are also made when the groat is steamed and then rolled flat. However, the original groat has been cut into smaller pieces and then rolled even thinner than normal - this allows quick cooking times. Depending on the brand, some quick oats lose significant fiber content during the more extensive manufacturing process. Cooking times range from about 1 to 3 minutes. This variety is best used in oatmeal cookies or recipes where little liquid is being used.
Instant Oatmeal - this is a highly processed form of oats and pre-packaged for convenience. The oats have been cut and rolled thin like quick oats, but then pre-cooked so the packaged oatmeal only needs hot liquid to re-hydrate. I often have Quaker Weight Control Oatmeal on hand for a quick breakfast at work or on the run. Most varieties have added salt and various flavorings already added. Be careful when choosing instant oatmeal as many brands have large amounts of added sugar.
Here's a photo that gives a nice visual of the difference between rolled oats and steel cut oats.
And now on to the recipe. I have plans to play around with this a bit, but for now, this is how I've been eating it for the past couple weeks. (I'm going to try baking it and making several batches at once so I can just heat and go in the morning - we'll see if that turns out.) The beauty of oatmeal is that it doesn't cause a reactive hypoglycemic crash for me, so it's an idea breakfast. I usually have a bowl of this oatmeal first thing - around 7:00 a.m. - then have some type of protein drink around 10:00 a.m. to round out my morning routine.
Pam's Thick and Rough Nutty Oatmeal
1 1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup Silver Palate Thick and Rough Oatmeal
2 tablespoons chopped nuts (I used almonds)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 glug sugar free vanilla syrup (Torani has a great price for a 3-pack right now)
Bring water and salt to a boil. Add the oats and cook over low heat for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring often. Just before all the water is evaporated, add the nuts, cinnamon and sugar free syrup (I like vanilla, but any flavor would work here). Let it cook for a minute longer until all the water is gone. Serve immediate and enjoy!
I like to eat it just like this. No extra toppings or dressings... just plain oatmeal with nuts and cinnamon. The SF syrup gives it just a hint of sweetness to make it perfect. I love the thick texture. But if you like toppings, some options would include: milk, Splenda Brown Sugar, berries, raisins or cranberries, sliced banana or apple.