Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Super Oats (Traditional Oatmeal, Baked Oatmeal, Toppers for Oatmeal, Maple-Oat Bread)

Okay, I'm not going to go on and on about my love affair with fiber.  I promise not to discuss any "bathroom issues" here on the blog. (But I'm happy to discuss them with you in private if you want.)  If you've ever met me or eaten anything I've cooked, then you probably already know I love fiber.  My friends jokingly ask for Nanette's Colon Cleanse Muffins.  Funny, but fiber is a serious subject.  When you don't get enough fiber, your body works very hard to digest foods and move them through your system.  That makes you grumpy and tired.  When your kids are a bit cranky and lethargic, grab a high-fiber muffin and some prunes and watch their attitude brighten right before your eyes.  But instead of waiting for that to happen, why not prevent it in the first place?  Adding oats to your daily routine is a great way to boost your fiber intake and your attitude.

Have an open mind and just try it.  Really.  It doesn't have to be that grey glob of mush that grandma used to make.  Don't buy the little instant packets that are full of artificial flavors, sugars and colorings.  Buy real oats (even quick oats) and cook them on the stovetop instead of the microwave.

According to the Mayo Clinic website:
*  Oats the number one food that helps to lower your cholesterol numbers,
*  Oats helps to lower blood glucose levels,
*  Oats reduce the risk of heart disease,
*  Oats help to normalize your blood pressure.

We all know in our brains that oatmeal is a good, healthy food option.  It doesn't have all those fake colorings (another pet peeve of mine) and you control the sugar content.  And I happen to love it.  I eat oatmeal most mornings, either in a bowl or baked like a coffee cake.  I love oats and add them to muffins, pancakes, waffles, and even some soups.  Oats are fast and cheap, so there's really no excuse to not eat them.  I just love a warm bowl of creamy oatmeal for breakfast.  It's comfort food for me.  I always add cinnamon (it's a natural way to help balance your blood sugars--highly recommended for diabetics).  One hint for those who don't care for the chewy texture of dried fruit: put it in with the milk and let it simmer a minute or two to soften the fruit a little before adding the oats. 

1 c. almond milk
dash salt
1/2 c. quick oats
1/4 t. vanilla
1/2 t. cinnamon

Bring the almond milk and salt to a slow boil on the stove top.  Add in the oats and stir for about 1 minute.  It will thicken as it cools. Stir in the vanilla, sprinkle with cinnamon.  It's plenty sweet and yummy just like this, but feel free to serve it with toppers of your choice.

Pick one, or mix and match!  Go crazy!

Dried fruit bits, raisins, craisins, dried apricots (chopped) and/or dried apples
Nuts like almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, pecans
Brown sugar
Agave Nectar
Maple Sugar (real or sugar-free)
Jam or Jelly
Fresh berries, peaches, or mango

BAKED OATMEAL (from an previous post)
2 cups oatmeal (I use quick oats)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup apple — shredded (with peel)
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup rice milk or soy milk
1/2 cup blueberries, raspberries, peaches, or fruit of your choice.

Mix wet ingredients into dry ingredients, gently fold in fresh fruit. Spread into an 8 x 8″ baking dish sprayed with pan spray. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 – 30 minutes. Cut into six rectangles and serve.
1 ½  c. whole-wheat flour
1 c. rolled oats
½ c. white sugar
2 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
½  t. salt
1 T. corn starch dissolved in 3 T. cold water
¾ c. rice milk (or soy or almond)
¼ c. vegetable oil
½ t. vanilla extract
1 c. mashed bananas

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Combine flour, oats, sugar, baking powder, soda, and salt. In a large bowl, beat the egg lightly. Stir in the milk, oil, and vanilla. Add the mashed banana, and combine thoroughly. Stir the flour mixture into the banana mixture until just combined. Divide batter into sprayed or papered muffin tins. Bake for 18-20 minutes for normal size muffins, or 12-15 minutes for mini-muffins.

NANETTE’S MAPLE-OAT BREAD (from a previous post)
3 c. whole-wheat flour
1 c. quick-cooking oats (plus a couple tablespoons for sprinkling on top)
¼ c. sugar
3 t. baking powder
¾ t. salt
1 Egg substitute (I use 1 T. cornstarch dissolved in 3 T. water)
1 ¼ c. soy milk (vanilla or unflavored)
½ c. sugar-free maple flavored syrup (plus a little more for drizzling on top)
3 T. vegetable oil

Combine all dry ingredients in one bowl and all wet in another.  Stir wet into dry just until moistened.  Spread into a greased 9” round (or 8” square) pan.  Sprinkle with about 2 T. oats and drizzle with a little more syrup.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.  Serve warm.  Wrap the leftovers in plastic wrap and keep refrigerated.  Warm up for a few seconds in microwave to serve.

The Peanut Butter Surprise Muffins that I posted on April 13th are also made with oats.

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