Monday, July 23, 2012

Having your oats and eating them too.

If you read blogs--and since you are reading this it is safe to assume that you do--you must be aware of the Oatmeal Renaissance, spurred mainly by healthy living bloggers who have elevated this humble food to the status of the Holy Grail.  And why not?  I acknowledge that oatmeal is cheap, delicious, healthy, and filling.  Still, I can't help but feel mildly amused at its new place as a high status food.  And also mildly irritated at bloggers who profess themselves gurus in the Art of Oatmeal and post fifteen-minute instructional videos on how to make it, for which they get adoring comments along the lines of, "OMG!!!!  Thanks for this!  I NEVER would be able to make oatmeal myself without your help!"  Come on.  If you need a fifteen minute instructional video on how to make oatmeal, you might want to consider sticking to cold cereal.

Not only is there oatmeal, there is Overnight Oats in a jar.  The idea here is that you put raw oats, liquids, chia seeds (an essential ingredient) and tasty mix-ins of your choice into a mason jar (because the only thing hotter than oatmeal right now is the mason jar) let it sit overnight in the fridge and eat it cold in the morning.  The result looks like moldy cottage cheese.  But it is good for you!

For a brief period, I was all about overnight oats, because they saved me time in the morning, and I could bring my jar to work and eat breakfast at my desk, although the disgusting appearance of this breakfast made me feel a little self-conscious, particularly the time I mixed in powered peanut butter,  so it looked more like vomit in a jar rather than moldy cottage cheese, although really, which is worse?

Soon I realized that raw oats have an unhappy effect on the digestive tract.  And yet, I really wanted to continue to eat an oatmeal breakfast at work, at the normal breakfasting time of 9:00am, instead of force-feeding myself at 06:45, as I had been doing before.  I decided to try pre-cooking my oats at night.  Did you know that when you cook oatmeal in a mason jar in the microwave you get a volcanic eruption of oats that hardens instantly and must be scraped off the microwave ceiling with a chisel?  I didn't know it either, but I am pleased with this addition to my fund of knowledge.  At any rate, I took the small amount of oatmeal that hadn't exploded all over the microwave, and mixed it with yogurt and chia seeds and jam and put it in the fridge over night.  Pre-cooked overnight oats are a vast improvement over raw ones and my digestive tract thinks so too.

When I check back later, I expect to find fifty-seven comments saying, "OMG!!! I never would have thought to COOK my oats before putting them in the fridge overnight!!!"


  1. Here is how I have eaten my daily breakfast of oatmeal for at least a dozen years - quick oats, in the microwave, in the bowl in which I'm going to eat it out of, for 1.5 to 2 minutes. I have been known to toss it all into a plastic container and carry it to the office (when I worked in one) and cooked it there in that manner.

    I prefer raisins, cinnamon & brown sugar in my oatmeal and have eaten it that way every morning for the last 40-something years of my life but lately my daughter has demanded I try something different when I make her oatmeal for breakfast (Sigh. She generally is the catalyst for change in our food routines around here.) so I have been mixing in fruit butters, such as apple, cherry, strawberry (my habit of making fruit butters clearly paying off here) as well as adding all sorts of different dried fruits, like papaya.

    I have not blogged about this because although clearly I should.

  2. Clearly my coffee hasn't kicked in. I haven't blogged about this although clearly I should, minus the because. I don't think microwave oatmeal is blog worthy.

  3. I have to agree with you. Such a renaissance for the humble oat :-)

    My mom, 40 years ago, used to make it in the crockpot overnight, so it would be ready to eat in the morning.

  4. For all the to-do about oats, I was most surprised to learn that one can buy powdered peanut butter. Surely, you can turn that into a blog and enlighten me further. I'm in a tizzy considering the possibilities!
    We are getting our first Trader Joe's and Whole Foods soon, so I may just get to understand the glories of which you speak!
    Chia is new to me. I had only been remotely aquainted with the chia pet prior to today.

  5. Ermahgerd! Oatmeal in the microwave!

    I have tried oatmeal, cooked and overnight/raw, and both methods turn my stomach. Chia seeds have way too much fiber for my delicate constitution.

    I think I need to wake up later so I can skip breakfast entirely.

  6. I like oatmeal because it's quick, easy, fuels me properly for a run, and is warm in the winter.

    I cook oats with milk for one minute in the microwave. That's as much time as I'm going to give oatmeal in the morning.

    What I add in depends on my mood, the weather, my mood, what's in the pantry and fridge, and my mood. Favorites are:

    applesauce and raisins
    pumpkin puree, raisins, and pumpkin seeds
    cherries and almonds

  7. I've been amused lately over the internet's sudden discovery of muesli. When we camp or travel, DH soaks his oats overnight in a mason jar in the cooler. He doesn't add anything fancy, just almond milk. And come morning, he sprinkles in a pinch of salt, some cinnamon, and a drizzle of moldy socks--er, flaxseed oil. Interestingly enough, soaked oats don't bother his gut. Add a tablespoon of chia seed, however, and he's miserable. (We do use chia as an egg replacer in pancakes and baked goods.)

    For everyday use, he just uses the microwave. His half cup of oats need an 8c measure/bowl to prevent boiling over.

    My breakfast is the tried and true "buh? coffee. now."

  8. I'm sorry. I'd like to comment intelligently, but my mind appears to be stuck on "Vomit in a jar!"

  9. Sorry, but writing as a Scot, there are only two ways to eat oats.
    1. Porridge, served with thick cream and plenty of sugar
    2. As oatmeal, used to cover freshly boiled new potatoes slatered in melted butter.

    It's very healthy really.

  10. Oats with potatoes? That is a combination that never occurred to me. I am with you on the heavy cream and brown sugar, TSB.

    I have found that a tablespoon of jam in cold oats is yummy.

  11. Oatmeal Renaissance?

    Oh, brother. I laugh because it's true. But mostly? I think that the best oatmeal I've ever had in my life was made by my grandpa, and he'd think all of this Art of Oatmeal crap was insane. You need oatmeal, water, and maybe a little milk. How hard is it?


  13. OMG!!! I never would have thought to COOK my oats before putting them in the fridge overnight!!!

    Delurking becauser I'd hate to see you disapointed with only 11 oatmeal comments. Gosh, that might put you off it all together!

    For the record I call it porridge, and cook the quick version in the microwave for 2 minutes...but only in winter.
    45 comments to go, to confirm the oatmeal frenzy.

  14. I circumvent the whole cooking-is-too-complicated and it-looks-like-vomit issues by eating my oats in the manner of cold cereal: Quick cooking oats in a bowl, add milk and toppings of choice. Works with hot milk, too. Maybe not the greatest, but definitely never slimy.


    But seriously, I have to share that D was at the NCAA World Series in Omaha and had some oatmeal made with banana puree that he and his pal still wax nostalgic about--evidently it was DELISH. Never would have thought to make oatmeal with banana puree--and touches of honey, etc. D's an oatmeal snob. I like mine plain with brown sugar.

  16. We make oat groats once a week or so and refrigerate--reheat in microwave. My daughter does it at college in her rice cooker.