Friday, January 22, 2016

STEEL CUT OATS (A.K.A. MY FAVORITE BREAKFAST FOOD)

WHAT DO YOU EAT FOR BREAKFAST?
"What do you eat for breakfast?"  That's one of the most common questions I get asked and I always respond with an enthusiastic "Steel Cut Oats!"  Ever heard of 'em?  You may be more familiar with rolled oats or instant oats.  Steel cut oats are the unprocessed form of oats in which the entire oat groat is used and they require a much longer cooking time.  Since it takes longer to cook, I use a mini slow cooker so my steel cut oats cook while I'm working out in the morning and my breakfast is ready for me to enjoy before I head out the door for the day!
Mini Slow Cooker (slightly larger than an apple)

HOW I USE MY MINI SLOW COOKER
There's really no "recipe" here - just an idea for you to consider if you are able to plug in your mini slow cooker first-thing in the morning.  If you follow me on social media, then you know that I wake up rather early (4am) and my workouts last about 90 minutes.  So, when I rise, I place 1/2 cup of steel cut oats into my mini slow cooker and then fill the remaining space with water (all the way up to the tippy-tippy-top).  Cooking time can vary and it should be based on your taste preference.  If you cook the steel cut oats in the mini slow cooker for less than 2 hours, the oats may taste very chewy.  I prefer to cook my steel cut oats for about 3 hours.  This works for me because I have a small snack as my post-workout fuel and then I'm able to enjoy my official oatmeal breakfast once I'm showered/dressed and the kids are ready to leave for school.  Instead of wasting time by cooking my steel cut oats on the stove, I let my mini slow cooker do all the work!

WHAT TO ADD TO YOUR STEEL CUT OATS
Perhaps you're wondering what I add to my steel cut oats to make the extra tasty.  Well, it varies by day (and by workout) but I do believe there are endless possibilities!  I almost always add cinnamon and raw cacao powder.  From there, I'll alternate among chia seeds, ground flaxseed, almond butter, and hemp seeds.  You can also add some fruit like bananas, blueberries, strawberries, or raspberries.  If you like your oatmeal extra creamy, you could add whole milk, goat milk, almond milk, or coconut milk.  If you are looking to sweeten-up your oats, you could add some dark chocolate, shredded coconut, real maple syrup, or perhaps some dried fruit as well.  I even know someone who adds bacon and shredded cheese to their oatmeal!  I have no intention of ever adding bacon to my oatmeal but...whatever floats your boat!

A HEALTHY START TO YOUR DAY
If you're looking for a hearty breakfast that fills you up and is an excellent source of healthy carbohydrates, I encourage you to dust off that mini slow cooker and fill it with steel cut oats!  Don't have a mini slow cooker?  Then use a standard slow cooker, increase the amount of oats you cook, and simply portion off a week worth of breakfast.  Yummy!

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