Saturday, January 5, 2013

A Cold Morning

January is National Oatmeal Month, which is nice for a few reasons:

Oatmeal is hot, and January is cold.  Fact.

Oatmeal is cheap, and December is expensive.  I bought a 5 lb bag of organic steel cut oats from Outpost for $4.95.  I'm going to round that up to $5 for the sake of math.  A cup of oatmeal weighs 6.5 oz.  I'm going to round that up to 8 oz for the sake of math, and for the sake of "A Pint's a pound the world around!"  A cup of oatmeal makes enough to feed Jeff and me for 4 days.  So that means... crap... word problem...

Not kidding. I don't do
mental math...
(...just a few minutes and one scribbled notepad later...)

40 days.  Two people, 40 days of oatmeal, $5.  Which is 6 cents per person per serving.  I think.  Someone should probably check that, though.

Eating oatmeal is good for you.  It may help lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease, it may reduce the risk of diabetes, and the soluble fiber helps you feel full longer, which can help you lose weight.  (All from a "reliable" source, of course!)  January, for many people, is about setting resolutions to be healthy.

So I'm ready to celebrate National Oatmeal Month.  Which I'm sure my mom is very secretly (or possibly not secretly - she's fairly good at gloating) pleased about.  You see, I've spent about the past 31 years actively fighting eating oatmeal that didn't come in a single serve package with a terrifying white powder.  (The second ingredient in that stuff is sugar...)  And here's why:

Oatmeal is hot and January is cold.  Fact.  But bacon is hot too.

Oatmeal is cheap, which is generally food code for "nasty."

Oatmeal is good for you, which is also generally food code for "nasty.

But I made a discovery about oatmeal, which I believe I've discussed previously, in that I like steel cut oats, slow cooked overnight in the crock pot.  This is a great speed meal, because it takes just a few minutes to assemble the ingredients before bed, and then it's ready when you wake up in the morning.  It's also a good budget meal, because (see above on oatmeal math) you can just throw in whatever fruit you have around in the house.  Especially if it's a little bit past it's eating point.

This week, Applesauce Oatmeal

Before bed.
  • 1 cup steel cut oats (they have to be steel cut for this to work.  Rolled oats will not be okay!)
  • 3 apples, diced
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 pinch freshly ground nutmeg 
  • 1 pinch orange zest (dried or fresh)
  • drizzle molasses 
  •  1 pint applesauce
  • 3 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup milk
Combine all ingredients in a crock pot. Stir to combine.  Cook on low for 9 hours.

So the applesauce here was actually a last minute addition.  I had it going for about an hour, and as I was going to bed I walked past my pantry where last year's canning jars are still sitting and remembered that I still had a jar of applesauce.  Why not throw that it, I thought?

You probably could do without all the additional spices, if you were using a well spiced applesauce.  Or you could leave the recipe just the way it is, because it was pretty fantastic!  It was a little bit loser than my oatmeal usually comes out, because of the extra liquid of the applesauce, which I didn't mind at all.  I also liked that it was extra apple-y throughout, not just in the bites that had chunks of apples.  You might not think it, but the apples do actually keep their shape and a little bit of crunch, even after being cooked for nine hours.  I believe that the apples I had were good baking apples, which I'm sure made a difference.

In the morning.

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