Tag: healthy eating

Fifty shades of oatmeal

IMG_0624We’re still experiencing some mighty cold mornings around here. Today it’s a cool 3 below, cold for March. We should be well on our way to spring by now, don’t you think?

On these blustery days, I take my solace in a steaming bowl of oatmeal. I’m partial to hot cereals and grains of all kinds, but my favorite is still reliable, old oatmeal.

I happen to think it’s the world’s most versatile food. It is the little black sweater of breakfast foods. You can dress it up in all kinds of ways.

To prove my point, I thought I’d share 50 ways to eat oatmeal. The list could darn near get you through a whole Minnesota winter! If these combinations aren’t sweet enough for you, just add a little maple syrup.

  1. Walnuts and homemade strawberry jam
  2. Strawberry jam and flax seed
  3. Strawberries, butter, and maple syrup
  4. Almonds, shredded coconut, and pineapple
  5. Pineapple, almonds, and banana
  6. Banana, walnuts, and maple syrup
  7. Bananas, diced apples, and walnuts
  8. Diced apples and sugared (or spiced) pecans
  9. Diced apples and brown sugar
  10. Diced apples and chia seed
  11. Diced apples and pomegranate seeds
  12. Sunflower seeds, bananas and maple syrup
  13. Pineapple, coconut milk, and almonds
  14. Pineapple and blueberries
  15. Blueberries and maple syrup
  16. Blueberries, raspberries, and fresh cherries
  17. Fresh cherries and walnuts
  18. Fresh cherries and a little cream cheese
  19. Flax seed, raspberries, and maple syrup
  20. Blackberries, raspberries, and maple syrup
  21. Almonds, pomegranate seeds and maple syrup
  22. Pecans, cinnamon and brown sugar
  23. Pecans and sliced peaches
  24. Pecans and diced apples
  25. Sliced peaches and brown sugar
  26. Sliced peaches and sliced cherries
  27. Walnuts and flax milk
  28. Trail mix and flax milk
  29. Cocoa powder, walnuts, and maple syrup
  30. Cocoa powder, coconut milk, and almonds
  31. Raisins, walnuts, and maple syrup
  32. Dried cherries, walnuts, and maple syrup
  33. Dried cherries and raisins
  34. Pomegranate seeds and mango slices
  35. Sliced pear and a few crumbles of gorgonzola
  36. Sliced pear and walnuts
  37. Diced, dried mango, dried cherries and walnuts
  38. Fresh mango slices, shredded coconut, and maple syrup
  39. Fresh mango slices and almond milk
  40. Crumbled bacon and maple syrup
  41. Crumbled bacon and chopped dates
  42. Blueberries, pecans, and flax seed
  43. Butter and brown sugar
  44. Fig preserves and pecans
  45. Fig preserves and banana
  46. Diced dried mangos, raisins, and chopped walnuts
  47. Peanuts and a spoonful of blackberry jam
  48. Sliced breakfast sausage and maple syrup
  49. Sliced breakfast sausage and diced, red pepper
  50. …and of course, milk, raisins, and brown sugar – the old standard

I don’t think I doubled up any of these, but I’m sure I missed someone’s favorite combination. Anyway, these should get you started on the road to oatmeal nirvana.

Have a great breakfast!

Trying to eat healthy? Read these cautions…

A few years ago, I made the decision to transition our family to a (mostly) whole foods diet. No, it’s not perfect – my kids still sometimes eat food that comes in a box – but overall, we do a pretty decent job.

IMG_0258If you’re trying to eat healthier you’ll find that like any life change, this one has it ups and downs. You will make mistakes and find gaping holes in your knowledge. Unless, that is, you have someone like me willing to let untold thousands (I wish) read about my mistakes so you have more time to dice your produce.

Here are my guidelines for buying and serving healthy food:

  • Always check organic greens.  Yes, for critters. I’ve found all manner of creatures – large and small, alive and dead. That’s one of the trade-offs for pesticide-free food. Worms happen, you just want to spot them before the kids do. (Over a glass of wine sometime, ask me about the night I sautéed a large, green caterpillar.)
  • Learn to love imperfect produce. As much as I hate to admit it, engineered food looks better. When you buy organics, the green beans have spots. The beets and carrots are not all the same size. The tomatoes are a little warty. Just cut it in small enough pieces and no one can tell the difference.
  • Get comfortable with phrases like “Just a minute, I’m soaking my besan.” It takes some confidence to throw out a phrase like that.
  • Label your grains. You may not want to admit it, but there will be a day you cannot tell your millet from your quinoa. (I mean that in the nicest way.)
  • Try raw food. It’s way faster than actually cooking! Another tip – if your kids don’t like dressings and marinades, just lift some of the salad out before you dress it. At my house we call this by the sophisticated name “salad with no dressing”.
  • Find a family farm and buy your naturally-raised, grass-fed meat from them. I love my farm. They deliver to our area once a month in a south-metro parking lot from an unmarked, refrigerated van. You hand them a check and they hand you a box. It feels a little like making a drug buy, but the meat is great.
  • If you buy grains and other items in bulk, make sure you take a second look at the bulk price per pound before you fill up the bag or you could end up buying $15 worth of quinoa at one time. Oops. Which brings me to my final point…
  • Get out your checkbook (or payment method of choice). It’s expensive. I hate to say it, but it’s true. But being a person who is constantly looking to balance the value equation, I figure a healthy family means fewer missed school days, fewer doctor bills, and more energy to take on the things I need them to do. I’m all about the long-term outcomes, baby.

Since I inevitably wake up in the morning to the question, “What am I going to serve for dinner?” (OK, I’m a little obsessive) I’m contemplating what to sling on the table this evening. A nice kale salad? A hearty soup?

A ridiculous exercise. If your house is like mine, it will take me twice as long to decide, and about eight times as long to prepare it, as it will for them to scarf it down.

Share recipes? Share thoughts? Tell me I’m obsessive (as if I don’t already know)?