Sunday, January 31, 2010

Steel-Cut Maple Nut Toasted Irish Oatmeal


People, my HOUSE flooded. Flooded! We had a wonderfully wet week here in Southern California, and speaking as a resident of a drought-ridden land, we enjoyed every minute of it. There was much curling up with mugs of hot tea, lots of warm soups and stews, and there may even have been some wearing of warm socks and sweaters. It was deliciously wonderful. Until, of course, my house flooded. That was NOT wonderful. Not at ALL.

I live in an older home that was built in the 1930's, and in that time the house seems to have sunk into the ground a bit. And by a bit, I mean about 3 feet. So we live at the bottom of a charming little hill, a fact to which I never paid a second thought. After all, it only really rains about every 5 years here. Of course, we happened to have that once-in-five-years rainstorm this week, complete with lightning, thunder, hail, tornadoes, and of course, flooding. Because when the rain really started picking up one afternoon, I noticed a rather large puddle forming at the bottom of that charming hill, right before my front door. And as it continued to thunder down, that puddle began to grow at an alarming rate, until it came right up to the front door. And then to my horror, it started gushing under the front door, and the next think I knew the carpet was sopping wet from one end of the room to another. I was left helplessly trying to soak up the mess with towels while frantically texting Nate to GET THE HECK HOME RIGHT NOW and oh, BRING SANDBAGS.

So the rest of the week was spent sandbagging the front door, moving furniture around (and of course the most heavily laden bookcases would be in the flood zone, of course!), pulling up the carpet, drying said carpet with very powerful fans, and all the other boring details of flood damage recovery. And once the furniture was moved and the carpet was already up, it seemed like as good a time as any to paint the living room, so that's exactly what I did.

What does this have to do with oatmeal you ask? Exactly nothing. But it does explain the lack of posting, and if you have been wondering where I have been all week, well, that's it! And of course, there is nothing like a warm, hearty bowl of oatmeal to get you going on a cold wet morning, particularly if your house happens to have flooded recently, and you need an extra cup of comfort to help you cope with the hideous muddy mess. And also, can we keep this a secret between you and me? Pretty please? This oatmeal is ridiculously good for you. It's so healthy that it really ought to taste awful, but actually? It's delicious.


Toasted Maple Nut Steel-Cut Irish Oatmeal
• gluten-free • soy-free • casein-free • vegan
• Serves 1 - 2

This is one of those recipes that was created out of necessity (hello gluten-free casein-free soy-free vegan baby!), but then turned out tasting SO good that now it's our go-to recipe. I love this oatmeal so much that I have been eating it every single day for weeks now. It's nutty, rich, and delicious. And may I point out just how GOOD it is for you?

First, you have the whole grain goodness of steel-cut oats, with a wonderful chewy texture and none of that rolled oat mushiness. Whole grains have tons of fiber and essential vitamins and minerals, and can help reduce the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, cancer, diabetes, etc. Then you have coconut oil which is wonderfully healthy for your heart, cholesterol, immunity, hair, skin, and nails, etc. (seriously, google it). Top that with almonds (rich source of vitamin E and cholesterol-lowering polyunsaturated fats), pepitas (pumpkin seeds, which have iron, zinc, magnesium, manganese, potassium, copper, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin K, and zinc), and walnuts (also great for your heart, with lots of omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, folate, and vitamin E). Also? Tastes really good. REALLY. I promise.

This recipe is for one large serving, but I find that I have quite a bit more appetite for oatmeal than my husband does. So if you like a small serving of oatmeal, you may want to halve this or serve it for two. And if you are going to feed a crowd, double and triple to your heart's content!

1/2 cup steel-cut Irish oatmeal
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk (or regular milk, or soy-milk)
1/2 cup water
1 tbs virgin coconut oil (or butter)
1 tbs grade A maple syrup + more to taste
1 tbs oat bran (or other type of bran such as wheat)
1 tbs raw almonds
1 tbs raw pepitas
1 tbs walnuts

Over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon virgin coconut oil.

Add 1/2 cup steel cut Irish oatmeal and...

...toast oats, stirring occasionally, 4 - 5 minutes.

Add 1/2 cup water (stand back! It will sizzle!) and...

...1/2 cup almond milk.

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low and cover. Simmer for 5 - 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until oatmeal is thick and grains are soft (the liquid tends to rise to the top, and the bottom can burn if you don't give it a stir now and then).

Remove oatmeal from heat. Stir in 1 tablespoon oat bran...

... and 1 tablespoon grade A maple syrup. Stir well, until completely incorporated.

In a coffee grinder or mini food processor (or just eat them whole - I just love the taste and texture when they are ground up), grind 1 tablespoon almonds, 1 tablespoon pepitas, and 1 tablespoon walnuts.

Believe me, it's pretty fun. And it tastes good. Really, really good. I promise.

So tasty, in fact, it's hard to believe it's so good for you. Don't tell anyone. They'll never believe you.

Spoon oatmeal into serving bowl. Top with maple syrup to taste (I like about 1 glug, which I have very scientifically estimated to probably be about 1 tablespoon. Because I am precise like that). Top with nutty ground goodness. Enjoy!