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Foodie Fridays: Easy Spiced Oatmeal
Posted by Guest in Foodie Fridays
Breakfast: the most important, and often most unappreciated, meal of the day. I'm usually the first to bring out the old excuse that I "don't have time" to cook myself a decent breakfast during the week. Too much going on, too many hits applied to the snooze button, too many people to get out the door, whatever. All empty excuses. Because what you see pictured above is a more than decent breakfast, and it only takes 15 minutes to make. Slow-cooked does not always mean time-consuming and labor-intensive, and trust me when I say that this is oatmeal is light years better than the instant, add-water-and-nuke variety that comes in a rip-open packet.

Even if you don't have an extra 15 minutes during your weekday mornings, I know you have at least that much time over the weekend - the perfect opportunity to make a double batch! Though best freshly made, this oatmeal keeps fine in the fridge (we portion ours out into individual "grab and go" servings), making it just as easy as anything else you could choose for breakfast. It's also versatile for those of us who get bored easily. You can switch up the fruits, the sweetener, the flavorings and the nuts to suit your mood or, if you're me, what's in your kitchen.

No more excuses for skipping breakfast when there's such an easy, filling solution that also packs a great one-two punch of fiber and protein. Join us in the comments section and share your favorite ways to customize your bowl of oatmeal!

Spiced Oatmeal with Fruit and Nuts
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
3 1/2 cups water
1 cup raisins, dried cranberries, dried mixed berries, etc.
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of ground nutmeg
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar, firmly packed
1 cup low-fat milk, divided
1 cup pecans or almonds, toasted and roughly chopped, divided

Combine oats, water, fruit and salt in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. When mixture reaches a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 4-6 minutes, until oats are tender. Remove oats from heat and stir in vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and brown sugar. Once spooned into serving bowls, top each with 1/4 cup milk and 1/4 cup nuts. Sprinkle with a little more cinnamon if desired and serve immediately.

Yield: 4 servings

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