Not much to report on the house, and dark weather makes for dark pictures. I did make a breakfast the other morning that I thought I’d share. I am aware that there is nothing earth-shattering in what I’m about to tell you, but when I mentioned to my friend that I will do this from time to time, she was all “huh, I had never thought of that.”
I never made oatmeal from scratch until well into my twenties. (Things like this amaze Tim. Included in the list of basic kitchen stuff I had never done before are also: make orange juice from a can, chop fresh garlic, and own a blender. My parents are awesome cooks, but these were just not part of my repertoire.) We generally had the little packets of Quaker instant oatmeal and I tended towards the fruit and cream ones, because overly-cinnamon-flavored stuff is not my favorite. Even when I was aware of the concept of cooking oatmeal on the stove, it seemed like way more work than I wanted to do in the morning, but once I tried it a few times, I realized how easy it is. The texture is really good, and you can control exactly what goes into your breakfast, instead of random artificial flavors or anti-caking agents.
So oatmeal is my go-to breakfast when it is super rainy/windy/gross outside, or when we are out of both milk and yogurt, which is the case right now. So yesterday morning (and then again this morning), I made myself peanut butter and jelly oatmeal to start my day off with a full belly to fight the wind and mid-morning munchies. It is so easy, it generally takes me around 10 minutes and is super filling and delightful. [Edited to add: Tim weighs in with a comment below with some nutritional facts. Agreed, this is not a light breakfast, but it is hearty and filling which is why I dig it. It makes me much less likely to snack on things at the office before lunch rolls around.]
If you don’t know how to make oatmeal from scratch (and remember, I was there not very long ago), I’m about to walk you through it. For those in the know, the take-away is this: try mixing a spoonful or two of peanut butter and jelly into your oatmeal when it’s cooked. The flavor is delicious, it’s a little bit of extra protein, the sweetness of the jelly usually means you don’t need to add any other sugars to it. It’s kind of like a nice warm breakfast PB&J sandwich.
I start by heating 1 C of water in our electric teakettle, because it is faster than boiling it on the stove, but even in a saucepan it doesn’t take long to heat to boiling. I measure out 1/2 C of rolled oats (I think there is something else mixed in with them now, and we usually have a variety of rolled grains on hand anyway, try mixing them up!) and set aside. I put about two spoonfuls of peanut butter and 1 spoonful of jelly in the bottom of a bowl and rinse off the spoon. (Making oatmeal from scratch really just means dirtying an extra pot, it’s not a big deal.) Once the water is boiling, I pour it into a small pot and add the oatmeal, turning the heat so it’ll simmer. I usually end up adding a few pinches of flaxseeds directly to the simmering oatmeal, so they’re cooked a little. My other trick is to add maybe a 1/4 C (probably less, I never measure anything other than the water and oats) of dried fruits, like raisins, cranberries, or these delicious dried blueberries that we have. Adding them to the oatmeal as it’s cooking means they’ll plump up a little and rehydrate and taste marvelous. I stir the oatmeal a few times as it’s cooking, keeping an eye on it while I pour myself something to drink and slice a banana into the bowl if we have one on hand (we do not right now, seriously need to get to the store). Once the water has pretty much been cooked into the oats (generally about 5 minutes), the oatmeal is ready. If it starts sticking to the bottom of the pan, you’re definitely done! I empty the steaming hot oatmeal into the bowl and stir it to incorporate the peanut butter and the jelly, which melts right into the oatmeal and flavors everything nicely. I might add a little bit of Grapenuts cereal for crunch (or try crunchy peanut butter, also delicious).
Then I get to sit down to a warm and cozy breakfast before I start my day. Oatmeal is crazy versatile, so this is just one random combination, but I guess maybe adding some extra protein to your oatmeal with peanut butter is a bit of a surprise, so I thought I’d let you all know about it too! We’re packing up to head out to a cabin weekend with lots of family tomorrow, and I’m going to be sure to bring all of the oatmeal fixins for Sunday morning!