Wednesday, February 9, 2011

My New Favorite Breakfast: Blueberry Almond Oatmeal

I hate winter.  I hate the cold, the snow, and all the shoveling.  Winter does have some redeeming value, though.  One of my favorite things about winter is a hot bowl of oatmeal.  It's filling, warm, and reminds me of winter mornings at my grandparents.  Oatmeal's drawback, in my opinion, is its lack of flavor.  With a couple of simple ingredients and a couple extra minutes this recipe jazzes up plain oatmeal.  If you're health conscious you'll know the benefits of both blueberries and almonds, but honestly, the flavor is the real selling point.

       1 1/4 cup - water
        1/2 cup - rolled oats
        1/8 cup - organic dried blueberries
        1/4 cup - sliced almonds
        pinch of salt

The first step is to add the salt and the dried blueberries to the water and heat on a very low simmer for about five minutes.  This step gives the blueberries a chance to rehydrate before the oats are added.  The water will turn a deep almost purple shade of red.  

After about five minutes increase the heat to bring the water to a boil, then add the oats.  Don't use instant oats, the kind that microwaves to cooked in a minute.  The kind that I'm using here cooks in about five minutes, but you should follow the cooking instructions on the package.

As the oatmeal cooks, it takes on a purple hue from the blueberries, which continue to plump up.  When the oatmeal is fully cooked, take it off the heat and stir in the sliced almonds.  I like the taste of the almonds, but they also serve to give some texture to the oatmeal.

You can add any toppings that you want from here.  I chose to use some brown sugar and some unsweetened, unflavored almondmilk, as I am lactose intolerant.  This recipe can also be changed by trading out the blueberries for raisins, dried cranberries or currants; or by switching out the almonds for another nut like walnuts or pecans.  If you choose to omit the dried fruit, cut back the water to one cup.

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