Sunday, January 29, 2012

Banana Nut Steel Cut Oats

This, ladies and gents, is by far my favorite winter morning breakfast.

Unless you include pancakes or waffles or french toast.  So by "favorite" I mean "the best possible thing I can afford to eat all the time."  Which this definitely is.

If you're an oatmeal fan, then chances are you've tried steel-cut oats.  If you're not an oatmeal fan, then by all means TRY STEEL CUT OATS!

Sorry.  Didn't mean to get scary on you for a second.  But seriously - if you hate regular rolled-oats oatmeal, these could change your mind.  The oats, instead of being steamed and rolled, are steamed and then cut into small pieces with a steel blade.  Hence steel-cut oats - oh hey!  As a result, they retain more of the oat husk and have even more of those great whole-grain properties.  For those of you who aren't health nuts and don't give a rat's patoot about health values, they maintain a chewy texture - no mush here!  More good news: most steel-cut oats, especially Irish oats, are gluten-free!  Just check whatever brand you find to make sure they are, if that's a concern.  They do take a bit longer to cook, but there's a quick version of steel-cut oats too.  Which is what I use.

I have several variations of my Friday morning oatmeal, and this one is definitely my favorite so far.  I cook the oats with a combination of water, vanilla soy or almond milk, and Stevia, and I add sliced bananas, crushed or chopped walnuts, a nice sprinkle of cinnamon, and just a touch of light brown sugar to finish.  They're creamy, wholesome, sweet, and chewy with highlights of rich banana and crunchy nut - exactly what I want to eat when I see snow out my window in the morning :)

Banana Nut Steel-Cut Oats
A Dancer Bakes original!
Serves 1

3/4 cup water
1/4 cup quick-cooking steel-cut oats (such as McCann's)
1 packet stevia (I use Stevia in the Raw)
1/4 cup vanilla soy or almond milk, with more as needed or desired
1 medium to large banana at desired ripeness, sliced
1/4 cup walnut pieces
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp light brown sugar

On the stove:
Heat the water in a small (2-3 cup) saucepan over medium-high heat till it reaches a rolling boil.  Add the oats and stevia.  Allow to cook uncovered for 5-7 minutes, stirring often, until the water has been mostly absorbed by the oats and the oatmeal has thickened.  Stir in the soy or almond milk and continue to cook until the milk is absorbed and the oatmeal is creamy.  Add the cinnamon, walnuts, and banana slices, stirring well to incorporate.  If the oats are too thick for your taste, add more of the milk and cook until your desired texture is reached.  Allow to sit for 1 minute.  Pour the oats into a bowl, sprinkle with brown sugar, and serve.

In the microwave:
Pour the oats, stevia, and water into a deep, microwave-safe bowl.  Cook on high for 2.5-3 minutes, stir, and return to the microwave for another 1-2 minutes, checking and stirring frequently.  Remove from the microwave and stir in the almond or soy milk, followed by the cinnamon, walnuts, and banana slices.  Add more milk and return to the microwave if necessary until desired consistency is reached.  Allow to sit for 1 minute.  Sprinkle with brown sugar and serve.
Microwave note: if your microwave runs hot and tends to make things boil over, consider adding 1/4 cup raisins to the oats and water before cooking them.  The dried fruit will absorb some of the excess moisture, which will keep the oats from boiling over - just remember you'll probably need more milk than the recipe calls for later!  And the oatmeal's just as delicious with raisins in the mix :)

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