Tuesday, August 7, 2012

PB&J Oatmeal

For the past couple of months I've been on a bit of a breakfast smoothie kick (See: Green Berry Smoothie and Eat More Kale for reference).  However, this kick has fizzled out these last few weeks, and I've found a new obsession - oatmeal.  I feel like oatmeal gets a really bad rap.  Most people think of oatmeal as grey, mushy, and bland, but I'm here to tell you, that's not the case.  Oatmeal is the perfect blank canvas that you can color with the palate of your fridge and pantry to create something beautifully delicious.  The possibilities are endless - cinnamon and honey oatmeal topped with fresh blueberries, zucchini bread oatmeal (here's a phenomenal recipe from Oh She Glows), strawberry blueberry oatmeal,coconut ginger lime oatmeal, chocolate banana oatmeal, sweet curried oatmeal (yes, curry and it's amazing), any and every combination of ingredients you could possibly think of.  Still think oatmeal's bland and gross?

...You do?  Well, that's why I'm going to give you the recipe that will change your mind about oatmeal forever - peanut butter oatmeal with a strawberry blueberry compote.  I mean, who doesn't love peanut butter and jelly?  By taking the peanut butter off the bread and into the oats, and by elevating the jelly to a simple compote, this sandwich transforms into a soul-satisfying, childhood-reliving, smile-inducing way to start your day.

Note: There are different types of oats that you can use to make oatmeal - rolled, steel-cut, and quick oats are the most common.  I usually use rolled, since they are fairly low maintenance and cook quickly, without getting mushy like the quick oats.  I recently discovered Old Wessex 5 Grain Cereal that's a mixture of oats, rye, triticale (a wheat-rye hybrid), barley, and golden flax - it cooks just like the rolled oats, but has a heartier texture and a slightly earthier flavor that I've found I really like.  I also add chia seeds to my oatmeal 1) because it's ridiculously good for you - protein, fiber, and essential minerals like calcium and magnesium - and 2) when soaked in liquid, they get a gelatinous coating around them, which not only thickens the oatmeal, but gives it a pudding-like texture that I love.

PB&J Oatmeal
makes one serving

⅓ rolled oats
⅔ almond milk (or whatever type you'd like)
a pinch of salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp chunky peanut butter
1 tbs chia seeds
4 fresh strawberries, quartered
2 hand-fulls fresh blueberries1 tbs honey

+ Put milk and oats in a medium sauce pan.  Turn heat to medium, add the salt, cinnamon and honey, then give oats a quick stir.  Bring to a low boil.  Immediately turn heat to low and allow to simmer gently.  Add peanut butter and chia seeds, then stir well.  Cook until thick, or desired texture is reached, stirring occasionally to make sure it isn't sticking to the bottom of the pot.
+ While the oats are simmering, combine berries and honey in a small sauce pan.  Bring to medium heat.  Stirring occasionally - you can even mash them with a fork or potato masher if you like a smoother texture.  Cook until the berries have broken down and created a thick syrup.
+ To serve, layer oats and compote parfait style.  Eat warm out of a big bowl with a tiny spoon while sitting on the couch reading the morning paper. 

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