I know I’ve mentioned it here before, but I don’t have the warmest feelings towards traditional oatmeal. I think it is because I was ruined by those instant packs as a kid. You know, the ones you rip open, pour into a bowl, observe with excitement all of the sugar mixed in with the oats and add tepid water to? Bonus points if there were pictures of cute animals on the pouches.
As a semi-adult making my own oatmeal and realizing how much actual sugar I needed to add to make it taste like the stuff I was familiar with was sort of embarrassing and so I just lay off it altogether.
My husband loves it though and will order it any time we go out for breakfast and even make it when he’s feeling inspired. So when we went surfing a few months ago (baby belly and I were surf-watching/walking/reading), I knew we were staying in a place with a questionable kitchen situation (a kettle) so I decided to try something. I filled a big mason jar with instant (not ideal) oats, chia, hemp hearts, dried fruit and lots of warming spices (as seen in this recipe) and shook it up.
Although lots of fun, surfing in BC isn’t warm ever, and this made a pretty wholesome, deeply warming breakfast to start the day off with (and so much better than peanut butter on rice cakes).
Ever since then, I have been making a version of this oatmeal with soaked steel-cut oats. Maybe it’s because it has been an unusually cold, snowy winter for us, maybe it’s because I’m weird and pregnant or maybe it’s just because it is actually really good, but this oatmeal is all I want for breakfast right now.
Using steel-cut oats not only gives it a more interesting texture but also gives us the opportunity to soak it, removing some of the phytic acid and making it easier to digest. It also means they are less processed and so more nutritious than rolled oats (and definitely less processed than quick oats, don’t use those unless you’re in a weird hotel situation).
Make it easier on yourself and mix the spices together in a jar, sort of like making a curry blend (or grind the whole spices together) so that all you have do is add a spoonful to your oatmeal in the morning instead of pulling out your measuring spoons before your brain has started working.
We have used water as the liquid for this but you could also use part nut milk if you want to. My thought was if you’re making your own nut milk (or buying well-made artisanal stuff), it might be best appreciated by adding a splash to your bowl once you serve it (and if you’re using the less fancy store-bought, there’s not a ton of nutrient value so instead, you may as well make it with water and add some whole nuts at the end).
We do add some richness with a big spoonful of extra virgin coconut oil and chia seeds (which will bind/gel up some of that water). The combo of fat and fiber slow down the rate that the natural sugars absorb into your system. This means the cancer cells won’t be getting exactly what they want and it will keep your blood sugar nice and stable.
The figs, once they get all stew-y in the porridge, add their own (balanced, thanks to their fiber and the fat in the seeds) sweetness that brings those warming spices to life. I think the pear looks kind of sexy, but it started as a deeply lazy move. No cutting board or knife required, just make sure it’s ripe (so that it tastes good) and stick it in there before baking. I didn’t take a picture of it (not sexy at all), but I usually take a potato masher and squash the pear once it comes out of the oven. It releases the juices into the oatmeal and ensures more bites of it throughout. Totally optional.
Baking the oatmeal is a little bit slower than simmering it on the stove top (which you could also do) but what I like about baking it, is that you just throw it in the oven and forget about it. No stirring, sticking, lid on/off etc, you can just set your timer and go and get ready for your day.
- 1 Ripe Pear
- ½ c Steel-cut Oats, soaked for 8-10 hours, drained and rinsed well
- 1.5 c Hot Water
- 1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
- 1Tbsp Chia Seeds
- 3-6 Dried Figs, hard tip removed and cut in half (or a small handful of any dried fruit)
- ½ tsp ground Cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ground Cardamom
- ¼ tsp ground Nutmeg
- ¼ tsp dried/ground Ginger (or ½ tsp if using fresh)
- Pinch of Sea(weed) Salt
- Preheat oven to 350*F
- Put the soaked/drained oats, spices, chia, coconut oil, figs and salt into a bowl.
- Bring the water the water to a boil and pour over top.
- Mix well and transfer to a baking dish (I use a 6.5 inch round baking dish, but anything close to that will work).
- Place the whole pear in the center and put in the oven.
- Bake for 35-45 minutes or until most of the water has been absorbed.
- Serve as is or with a splash of almond milk or sprinkling of hemp hearts or chopped Brazil nuts.