Like many Americans, I have a bad habit of not eating breakfast during the week. I’m usually busy getting both myself and the kids ready for the day, so any morning caloric intake is usually coffee and some milk at work… sometimes augmented with whatever crap I can find around the office. Not healthy, and I have no real excuse beyond laziness and lack of planning.
With the weather getting colder in a hurry, my stomach has been growling in the morning more often, so I decided it was time to get back into the swing of things and start planning out breakfast again. I’m one of those folks who can eat the same thing on a regular basis, so my morning diet is usually unvaried during the work week: oatmeal.
I go old-school for the oatmeal, using the plain old Quaker Oats or bulk oats from Trader Joe’s or similar places. None of this ‘quick oats’ or packaged stuff. I use the recipe found in Nourishing Traditions for basic porridge:
- 1 part oats
- 1 part warm water
- 1-2 tbsp plain yogurt
- 1 part cold water
I use 3/4 cup for the ‘part’ size… you can vary it depending on how hungry you are, or how many people you’re cooking for. If you’re cooking a large batch then I’d add a bit more yogurt, but not too much more.
Mix the oats, warm water and yogurt in a bowl or plastic container, cover and let sit at room temperature overnight. In the morning, bring cold water to a boil, add the oats mixture, and cook until ready, which should only be a few minutes. I then add some brown sugar or honey to taste and pour the mix into a pre-heated insulated food jar (like this one) and it stays nice & hot until I make it to work, even when it’s as cold as it is outside today (-5 F this morning) and I have to walk outside a fair distance to the building. Nourishing, simple and cheap.
I don’t have the book in front of me, but the active cultures in the yogurt neutralize some enzymes in the oats that block absorption of nutrients. That’s why it’s important to use warm (not hot) water with the yogurt and let the mix sit overnight. It also has the side benefit of reducing cooking time for the oatmeal significantly… it takes me maybe 3-5 minutes tops to cook it in the morning.
I’m a fan of traditional methods of cooking… the Nourishing Traditions book is put out by the folks at the Weston A. Price Foundation. If you’re interested in eating healthy in a way that doesn’t involve fat-free, heavily-processed or powdered crap that comes out of a box, check them out. It’s eye-opening stuff.
Anyone else have some good ideas for basic breakfast foods?