Monday, February 28

Steel cut oats

Sometimes (especially around this time of year) the school semester starts to pick up and things get a little bit hectic. It seems that I have weeks where I have more meetings than hours of sleep and meals can be a bit of a rush. This is particularly challenging when you are choosing not to eat packaged foods. However, that is not to say it can't be done; a little creativity is just required!
There are several go to foods that I make when I know I am going to have a busy week and won't have quite as much time to cook as I would like, during the week. First off, my number one staple in the wintertime especially, is chili. It is so simple to make a big pot of chili on a Sunday afternoon, that will last through the week (though this is often not the case... we usually can't keep it around for longer than two or three days! we really love chili.) and gets better with age. Chili is wonderful for this, though it is not the perfect breakfast option (this is not to say that chili has never been eaten in the garden unit for breakfast).

Enter: steel cut oats. Steel cut oats are an easy fix and when prepared just right, can be stored and enjoyed for the week. This recipe is modified from a recipe that Oly, our local oat supplier from the farmer's market, provided us with! Just when you didn't think your mornings could slow down, this recipe will allow you to enjoy a home cooked breakfast on even the busiest of days.
Baked steel-cut oats
2 cups of steel cut oats
2 tablespoons of milk or yogurt
2 cups of milk or apple juice
Raisins (or other dried fruit or an apple!)
Brown sugar

1. Place oats and 2 tablespoons of milk or yogurt in a medium sized saucepan. Cover by about 2 inches of warm water. Cover and allow to set over night. 

2. In the morning, drain the oats and add 2 cups of milk or apple juice. Add about 4 cups of water. Add a dash of cinnamon to taste and a dash of salt to bring out the flavors. Add dried fruits. 

3. Allow to cook until the oats are tender but not mushy, stirring about every few minutes for about 15 minutes. Some liquid might remain. Remove from heat and place in ramekins or small oven-proof dishes. 

4. Sprinkle each bowl with about a tablespoon of brown sugar and place under the broiler for a couple of minutes until the sugar caramelizes and forms a little crust. 

You can either enjoy this right away or store some for the following mornings (assuming your roommates don't eat it all!) Such a treat, and really, it doesn't take too long. 

Hopefully with recipes like this, you can allow yourself to slow down, if even for just one meal. I know for me, being able to sit for meal time makes all the difference, even when I am hustle bustling around town, from class to meeting to work, etc. And it is especially nice to start the day out on a slow pace, with a hearty, healthy and tasty breakfast!

Happy eating! 

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