The Perfect Oatmeal

Imagine this: You’ve woken up extra early to go for a run on a beautiful Thursday morning. It’s summer, after all, so you want to take advantage of being outdoors as much as possible. You run along the lake as the sun rises over the water, with your favorite music clearing your mind and waking your senses. After this short but successful run, you return to a quiet house with everyone still asleep; it’s peaceful. After a refreshing shower, you brew a cup of coffee and begin to prepare your breakfast, flipping on the news for a little background entertainment. For breakfast, you need something hearty to restore your energy after your run and prepare you for the day, but you also need it to be simple and hassle-free, not to mention delicious. Enter: The Perfect Oatmeal.

Not only tasty, this surprisingly filling dish will stave off hunger pains ’til lunch.

It’s steel-cut oats cooked in a cup of milk, topped with raspberries and sliced almonds. The oats have the post-workout carbs your body needs, while loaded with good-for-you fiber. The creaminess of the milk adds decadence to an otherwise bland grain, and gives your muscles the protein they need to rebuild. The raspberries add tartness, sweetness, and juiciness, and the almonds add flavor and texture. And there you have it: The Perfect Oatmeal for the perfect breakfast on the perfect weekday morning.

What you’ll need:
1/2 cup steel-cut oats
1 cup skim milk
1 giant handful of raspberries
1 palmful of sliced almonds

What you’ll need to do:

Pour the oats and milk in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high for 2 1/2 minutes.

Once it’s done, add the raspberries and almonds then stir. Let it sit for just a minute to cool, and enjoy!

It’s important to use the regular, non-instant steel-cut oats. Until recently, I didn’t know how much of a difference they made. I find that the instant kind is mushy and bland. These babies have the texture and flavor that the instant oats are missing. Add the few other ingredients I’ve listed, and you have a 5 minute, heavenly delicious, super healthy breakfast. It’s my latest easy go-to during the week when I don’t have time to make my favorite omlette or pancakes, and it’s great alternative to my overnight oatmeal. Starbucks has nothin’ on this one.

Overnight Oatmeal with Bananas and Coconut Milk

Recently, I have become obsessed with coconut milk. Not only is it super healthy because it’s high in Vitamin B12, Vitamin D, and Magnesium (and surprisingly low-calorie, too!),but it’s also a great dairy-alternative. Coconut milk is creamy with a hint of sweetness, so it tastes like an indulgent treat. I can’t help but gulp down glass after glass of this stuff. I drink it plain, put it in my coffee, and even bake with it. So when I came across a slow cooker oatmeal recipe that uses coconut milk, I knew I had to try it.

The best part about this recipe (aside from the use of coconut milk): It takes about 5 minutes to prep before you to go to sleep, and then you have a hot, tasty breakfast waiting for you when you wake up in the morning. This oatmeal is perfect for an easy weekend breakfast if you have a busy day ahead of you, it’s great for a lazy day off of work, or it’s easy to take to work for a yummy breakfast on the run. Another perk? It’s another way to use up extra bananas that I always seem to have in my kitchen.  So eat up and enjoy this guilt-free indulgent treat.

Surprisingly, this is very filling, too! A little bit goes a long way, and it helps curb my typical mid-morning cravings.

What you’ll need:
2 ripe bananas, sliced
3 1/2 cups coconut milk (my favorite is So Delicious Coconut Milk, Original)
1/2 cup water
1 cup oats, not instant (Old Fashioned Quaker Oats, for example)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon margarine
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt

What you’ll need to do:

Spray your slow cooker with cooking spray so the oatmeal doesn’t stick. Add all your ingredients and stir. Set your slow cooker on low and go enjoy a long, restful night of sleep – the oatmeal takes at least 7-8 hours.

I was a little worried about it being too runny at first, but my fears were assuaged when I woke up to creamy oatmeal.

When you wake up in the morning, your oatmeal will be ready to go.

Look at those caramelized bananas. Such a sweet morning treat!

Scoop into a bowl, add any toppings that suit your fancy (but don’t add sugar or syrup, this is already really sweet), and enjoy! All for about 250 calories.

I added walnuts to the top of my oatmeal for a little texture (and because I had extras in my cupboard!). Pecans or raisins would also be a delicious addition.