Tag Archives: Breakfast

Courage at Twilight: Saturday Morning Mystery Oatmeal

While cold cereal is the work-week’s morning fare, I enjoy cooking breakfast on Saturday mornings. Nothing fancy or heavy—I usually turn to oatmeal. “I love it when you cook breakfast,” Mom reassured me. She normally eats dry Quaker granola with glasses of milk and mint tea on the side. But she loves my mystery oatmeal. Easily bored with the same old, I improvise, wondering what flavor combinations will set well in the oat stew. Classic apple-cinnamon oatmeal is Dad’s favorite. This morning I tried something new: lavender-banana. My goodness, it was delicious. If you want to try them, here are some simple instructions and tips.

Apple-Cinnamon Oatmeal

Ingredients (4 good servings)
4 cups water
2 cups milk (or 2 more cups water)
3 cups rolled oats (not quick oats—quick oats turn to mush while rolled oats remain soft but pleasantly and chewily textured)
salt to taste (I use ¾-1 tsp)
1-2 diced apples, any variety
1 tsp cinnamon

Instructions
Add diced apples to water-milk mixture, along with cinnamon and salt, and bring to rolling boil. Because of the milk, the liquid will quickly boil over, so watch it carefully. Allow the apples to soften in the boil for 3-5 minutes. Add oats and stir. Lower heat to low boil/simmer, and stir frequently for 5-10 or so minutes until the oats are soft and thicken to desired consistency. Sweeten to taste with sweetener of choice. Brown sugar and honey are both wonderful. Mom prefers white sugar. Dad employs Splenda. I use Stevia extract. A dollop of heavy cream adds a bit of luxury.

Lavender-Banana Oatmeal

Ingredients (4 good servings)
4 cups water
2 cups milk (or 2 more cups water)
3 cups rolled oats (not quick oats—quick oats turn to mush while rolled oats remain soft but pleasantly and chewily textured)
salt to taste (I use ¾-1 tsp)
1-2 ripe bananas
1 tsp lavender flowers, ground (I found these in our neighborhood Smith’s grocery store spice aisle)

Instructions
Add lavender and salt to the water-milk mixture, and bring to rolling boil. Remember, it boils over almost without warning, so watch carefully. Add oats and stir. Lower heat to low boil/simmer, and stir frequently for 5-10 or so minutes until the oats are soft and thicken to desired consistency. Add the sliced bananas only at the very end, when the oatmeal is done, and reduce heat. Adding the bananas late releases the wonderful flavor without turning them to mush. Sweeten to taste.

Option Tip: reduce oats by ½ cup and add ¼ cup cream of wheat for extra creamy thickness.

Courage at Twilight: Cold Cereal for Breakfast

Typically, I turn to cold cereals for breakfast during the work week.  It is fast and easy and delicious, and I am often running late.  But I avoid the high-sugar refined-flour cereals and opt for granolas and whole-grain varieties.  On the weekends, I enjoy cream of wheat or rolled oats or multi-grain hot cereals, sweetened with stevia extract and enriched with cream, raisins, diced apples, or spices (such as, cardamom, fennel, lavender flowers, or ginger).  For Dad, all the grocery-store-shelf cereals are high-sugar, anathema to his diabetes.  Understandably, he sometimes cannot resist, and eats them anyway, aching for something delightful and sweet.  Dad makes sure I shop the cereal aisle at the grocery store, so I have breakfast options.  I have attempted to find lower-sugar cereals for him that still are tasty and interesting.  After I bring the week’s groceries into the house, I carefully open all the box-top flaps, without tearing them, and cut off a corner of all the cereal bags, all this to avoid later finding the box tops destroyed and the bags torn vertically askew.  Wanting to find something Dad could enjoy that would not kill him, I shopped online for sugar-free high-protein cereals, and found some promising candidates, sweetened with stevia and monk fruit.  Of course, most of them exceeded $11 a box—heavy sigh.  I ordered some I found on sale for $7 a box, which seemed a bargain next to $11.  My brother’s cereal of choice is the Ezekiel brand: high in protein and fiber, with zero sugar, which he enhances with frozen blueberries and sweetens with organic stevia extract.  I tried Ezekiel once and liked it well enough when sweetened and soaked in milk for 20 minutes to tenderize the whole rolled grains and flakes.  But Dad thought it akin to shredded cardboard.  We’ll give the HighKey keto protein cereals a chance, and go from there.