I have had a weird relationship with breakfast throughout my life. For many years begining in junior high, I never ate breakfast. I had no interest in it and disliked all breakfast foods including such delicious things as eggs, pancakes and especially oatmeal. I realize this sounds insane, but I was pretty nuts back then in a lot of ways…
Anyway, I didn’t start eating breakfast until my senior year of college. I was preparing to take the LSAT and was concerned that my inability to function before noon would impare my performance on a standardized test that’s administered at 7am. In stepped my knight in shining armor, Craig, who, under threat of great physical harm, volunteered to wake me up every day for breakfast.
Every single morning, Craig would come over to my dorm, take all the verbal abuse I yelled at him when he tried to wake me at the ungodly hour of 7am, and then march me over to the dining hall for breakfast. I would sit in a coma while he attempted to get me to eat things. Turns out, breakfast at the dining hall at 7am is kind of delicious. Especially because there were no other students there so the nice cafeteria workers would make me delicious omlettes and a fresh batch of pancakes.
I very quickly learned that breakfast is awesome! You can basically combine fatty meats and desserts and call it a meal! Add delicious coffee and it is basically the best part of any day. Lunch and dinner have boring foods like salad and pasta, breakfast has chocolate chip muffins and bacon. What more could a gal ask for?
In the nine years since this realization, I have been thorougly converted to a breakfast person. I crave eggs, oatmeal, crunchy toast and melon on a regular basis. I love going out to breakfast and brunch. When Craig and I are on vacation, I make a crazy list of breakfast places to try. Just last night, Craig made me banana walnut pancakes (recipe forcoming) for dinner. I am a breakfast nut. For this reason, cereal has never really done it for me.
A few years ago I discovered steel cut (or Irish) oats. Steel-cut oats are a nuttier, chewier alternative to traditional rolled oats. Steel-cut oats are whole grain grouts, which are the inner portions of an oat kernel, which have been cut into three pieces rather than flattened. Because they are less processed than rolled oats, they have more fiber, nutrients, flavor, and take longer to digest, keeping you feeling fuller for a longer period of time. They’re also rich in magnesium and selenium and help to stabilize blood sugar. Studies have shown regular consumption of whole grains is associated with a 26% reduction in the risk of Coronary Heart Disease.
Since they are so filling and tasty, steel cut oats have been my go to breakfast for some time. I usually cook a big batch on Sundays and put some in tupperware containers to take with me to work. I add things such as berries, walnuts and applesauce to spice them up.
I’ve seen a whole bunch of recipes for baked oatmeal online and have been interested in giving it a try. Unfortunately, it’s a big harder to bake steel cut oats, because they take so long to cook. So I played around and found a good way to acheive this. Instead of adding milk and butter for flavor, I kept it really simple and clean: just apples, walnuts, some spices and a bit of maple syrup for sweetness.
Throw everything together and bake and you have an incredible breakfast. I made this batch on Sunday, let it cool, and then packed individual servings for Craig and I for breakfast. Even with all this yummy stuff, a serving has only 251 calories! A perfect healthy breakfast ready to go out the door.
- 2 cups steel cut oats
- 2 cups boiling water
- 1 cup water (room temp)
- 2 medium apples, washed, cored and chopped (or shredded)
- ¼ cup raw walnuts, chopped
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- 1.5 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- Bring water to a boil
- In an 8x8 baking dish, cover oats with 2 cups boiling water and cover with aluminum foil. Allow to sit for 15-20 minutes, until most of the water is absorbed
- Preheat oven to 375
- Add all remaining ingredients to the oatmeal and combine thoroughly
- Cover with foil and bake for 45-50 minutes, until all liquid is absorbed