With the changing of seasons and a crispness in the air, my body has been craving warm, grounding foods. While I struggle to eat oatmeal in the summer months (gravitating instead toward smoothies and breakfast popsicles), Fall is a totally different story.
Did you read the great article from the Tasting Table about the benefits of soaking your steel cut oats?
If you didn’t here is a quick summary: Soaking oats used to be a thing, and then, like most great things in the world, convenience began to trump tradition and apparently flavor as well. Then quick oats were created and the soaking step went away altogether, leaving us with depressing packets of oatmeal that have little to no flavor and absolutely no texture, at least not one that is enjoyable.
We are firm supporters of soaking your oats. Using a one-to-one ratio, combine oats and water in a bowl or mason jar and allow them to soak overnight. In the morning you’ll have a much softer, more delicate consistency which not only dramatically cuts down the cooking time if you choose to reheat your oats, but also makes blending them into smoothies or eating them chilled with milk or yogurt easier!
Another time saving, health boosting tip is to make your own flavor packets. Combine your favorite oatmeal toppings and seasonings into one blend, then in the morning you can easily bring a baggie along with you to the office or if you make a big batch, you can just take a scoop or two from a storage jar and cook it with your oats. If you're using fresh berries and preparing bags in advance read our tutorial on how to preserve fresh berries, and then store your oatmeal topping packets in the freezer, store the bags in a freezer.
Adding spices like cinnamon, ginger and cardamom are great for their healthy properties but they also reduce the need for sweeteners like honey and maple syrup.
Incorporating dried fruits like, dates, raisins, cranberries and goji berries add fiber and flavor to your bowls.
Chia seeds, flax seeds and nuts give your morning a boost of texture, flavor and healthy fats and proteins.
Fresh, homemade jams and fresh fruits add a even more delicious depth to the sometimes bland oats.