On Sunday morning, Liam and I woke up early and decided to make breakfast. I had been wanting oatmeal, and though we usually have baked oatmeal, I decided just to make regular oats. When looking up the oat-water ratio (I think I have a mental block; I can never keep these straight for rice, oatmeal, barley, etc.), I found this recipe and discovered the secret to perfect oatmeal. Drumroll, please...
Yes, vanilla. It adds a delicious flavor and is perfect for fall. There's nothing like a big bowl of warm oatmeal on an autumn day, and these additions all push it over the top with very little extra effort. Feel free to modify it as you like. I made it again for lunch recently. The picture is kind of blurry; that comes from having a cute (but fussing) baby in my lap while trying to take a picture (and probably some hand shake from being so hungry!). I'll write the recipe as I modified it below, but the majority of it comes from here.
1 c. oatmeal
1 c. water
1 c. milk (I actually was out of milk and had to use 1/2 c. half and half and 1/2 c. water here)
A handful of raisins
1-2 tsp. vanilla
1-2 tsp. cinnamon
Salt to taste
2-3 Tbsp. sucanat (you could also use sugar or honey)*
2 Tbsp. butter (totally optional)
Walnuts (for topping, optional)
1. Pour the oatmeal, water, and milk into a saucepan over medium-high heat.
2. Drop in a handful of raisins.
3. Stir occasionally. It will start to bubble and thicken fairly quickly. When it does, leave it on the heat stirring frequently until it reaches the consistency you like. Then remove from heat (probably no more than 5-6 minutes).
3. Add the cinnamon, sucanat, salt (to taste), and vanilla. I also added butter at this point.
4. Spoon into bowls. Sprinkle some walnuts on top if you desire. Serve with buttered toast and enjoy.
Later in the week we made it with bananas per the recommendation from the original recipe. It was delicious.
*I use sucanat in all of my recipes as a sugar substitute. It is dehydrated cane juice, and remains closer to the original form than table sugar. It also adds a richness to recipes, especially chocolate chip cookies. We get ours from a small health food store fairly inexpensively. I found two examples of sucanat: here and here
If you need a dinner option, my favorite dinner recipe of all time is this Grilled Chicken with Barley Corn Salad. My sister brought this to us the day after we came home from the hospital. Don't skimp on the bacon!