Saturday, May 24, 2008

There is always time for breakfast

Even if you have to eat it while doing you make up, driving to work, or answering emails at the office. After a long nights sleep your body needs the proper nourishment to give it some fuel to start the day. I don’t know all the nitty gritty details but I do know that when you go a long time with out eating (like during the 6 to 8 hours you are sleeping) your body starts to slip into starvation mode which means your energy will dwindle, your brain will not be as sharp, and your metabolism goes haywire. When you finally realize at 11am that you are starving and grab the first thing you can get your hands on and gobble it down (which will probably be junky food) your body latches onto it and immediately stores it as fat because it’s worried that you will soon starve it again and therefore must retain whatever you feed it in order to survive. Breakfast is not only an important for your health, wellness and waistline but it can also be one of the most scrumptious meals of the day and by skipping it you are depriving yourself of a truly delicious morning treat.

Throughout the years my breakfast favorites have varied. When I was younger I loved hot cream of wheat with honey and golden raisins. Sometimes mom would get up early and make blueberry muffins served with honey butter and turkey sausages as an extra special treat. When I was in high school and wanting to spend my mornings sleeping as late as I possibly could I opted more for things that were quicker to prepare like Grapenuts cereal with fresh berries or toaster waffles with peanut butter and honey. In college when I was not eating much meat my favorite thing ever was morning star farms fake bacon, crumpets with butter or jam, and Kashi go lean crunch cereal. When I first stopped eating gluten I was temporarily crushed, most of my beloved breakfast foods seamed to be on the nono list. Happily though I quickly realized that there were a plethora of delicious gluten free breakfast options out there for me and I soon developed a new list of gluten free breakfast favorites.

  • Arrowhead farms hot rice cereal made with vanilla rice milk and honey
  • Raw buckwheat grouts, dried blueberries and cinnamon sprinkled on vanilla yogurt
  • Chicken apple sausage or turkey bacon
  • Gluten free granola, bananas, and blackberries over acia berry sorbet
  • Homemade gluten free muffins, scones, breads, waffles and pancakes
  • Cold gluten free cereals with fresh fruit
  • Gluten free toaster waffles smeared with raw almond butter, honey, and dried blueberries

I quickly realized that just because I gave up the gluten did not mean that my delicious breakfast eating days were through, in fact the intolerance introduced me to a whole new array of delicious breakfast options. Without the forced change in diet I would have never thought to try something like buckwheat grouts, acia berries, or the vast assortment of gluten free flours I have found that are perfect for making baked goods with.

Throughout the years of taste, schedule, and diet changes there is one breakfast favorite of mine that has remained a constant. One delicious and nutritious breakfast dish that never grows old and that I enjoy today even more so than I did 25 some odd years ago when I first tried it and that most scrumptious breakfast treat is….

Oatmeal!

Quaker, steal cut or instant, drizzled with honey or loaded with fruit and nuts. Any way you serve it I have always loved me some oats. When I was in grade school I would make the instant ones as a snack, super sweet and warm they were the perfect treat after school on cool winter days. In college when I was working nights at the theater I would go to Keith’s Diner at 1:00am after my shift and order the oatmeal with brown sugar, nuts and milk. When I first gave up the gluten I noticed oats were on the list of foods to avoid but with an asterisk noting that technically oats were a gluten free food but could be hard to digest for the gluten intolerant and are also almost always cross contaminated due to processing. So for a year or so I was oat free (sigh) and then one day when I started working my new job in Solana Beach I found myself on a lunch break at Naked Café. I noticed they had a particularly delicious sounding oatmeal on the menu that included berries, milk and toasted almonds and decided to throw caution to the wind and try it out. It was just as delicious as I had anticipated and did not bother my tummy one bit. I soon became a regular visitor at the Naked Café and more often than not would order the oatmeal (so much so that the wonderful wait staff would put in my order for oats as soon as I came in even without me ordering it first!). For the most part I always felt fine after eating the oats, but every so often my tummy would object and remind me that this was something that I might want to not eat so often. One day while shopping at Henrys and making a once through the gluten free isle to see if they had anything new I noticed a big bag of oats labeled, “certified gluten free”. I squealed with delight at the sight of these non tummy offending oats and snatched up a bag to take home. I’ll be honest the first thing I made with the precious gluten free oats was a batch of oatmeal cookies (my favorite that I had not had in nearly 2 years!) but the second thing I made was oatmeal. Everything was yummers and did not bother my tummy in the slightest.

It’s been a year now since I found the gluten free oats and I still adore them just as much as the day I discovered them. Gluten free oats are a bit more expensive but for an oat lover like myself its well worth the extra few bucks. More often then not for breakfast these days I can be found enjoying one type of oatmeal or another. I think because there are so many different ways to prepare them my tastbuds never seem to tire of it. Here are a few of my favorite oatmeal recipes.

Chocolate strawberry oatmeal
Serves 2




When strawberries are in season these oats are a sweet and colorful treat. The cocoa powder and soymilk simmering together give these oats a hint of hot chocolaty flavor. I have always swooned for chocolate + strawberry combinations so these oats are a spring and summer time favorite of mine. I highly recommend sprinkling your chocolate chips on the oats while they are still pretty hot so the chips get super melty.

Ingredients

1 cup oats
2 cups vanilla soy milk
1 teaspoon vanilla flavoring
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
1 cup strawberries, cut into bite sized pieces
2 packets of splenda or 1 tablespoon agave nectar
15 or 20 chocolate chips

Making the oats

Bring the soy milk and oats to a boil then reduce heat to a low simmer and add your vanilla flavoring and cocoa powder. While the oats are cooking cut up your strawberries, place in a bowl, sprinkle with splenda or agave nectar and set aside. After 8 to 10 minutes of cooking or when most of the liquid has absorbed from the oatmeal, reduce heat to low and add the strawberries. Stir gently to combine, let sit for a minute just to heat the strawberries through a smidge and then portion oats into two bowls and top with chocolate chips.

Banana nut oats
Serves 2




This is my all time favorite way to prepare oats. Most mornings I start my day with a run and some yoga and the high protein content in this recipe helps me refuel for the day ahead. Plus they are uber delicious! All the different flavors and textures mishmash together to form the most scrumptious bowl of oats you will ever taste!

Ingredients for the oats

1 cup oats
2 cups vanilla soy milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon flax seeds, ground
*I buy flax seeds in bulk, grind them in the blender and store in the fridge for easy access
1 tablespoon walnuts, chopped and toasted
1 large banana or 2 small, cut into ½” thick slices

Topping ingredients

1 or 2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons raw almond butter
A splash or two of vanilla soy milk (or vanilla hemp milk if you can find it)

Preparation

Bring the oats and soy milk to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. While this is cooking slice the banana(s) and toast the nuts (in the oven or in a microwave for 60 seconds). After 5 minutes or so of cooking and while there is still some liquid left in the pot add in your vanilla, cinnamon, flax and nuts. Stir to combine and then immediately add in your banana and stir gently. Let this cook for another two or three minutes or until the bananas start to get a bit melty and most of the liquid has been absorbed. Divide the oats between two bowls, sprinkle with brown sugar, add a smidge of your milky product of choice and serve with a dollop of raw almond butter on top.

Fruity oats with cinnamon ginger infused creamy syrup
Serves 2

This is one of the first types of oatmeal I made when I discovered gluten free oats. I use to make this for dinner and serve it with a side of turkey bacon to make a complete meal. You can alter the amount of sweeteners you add to your taste and dietary requirements.

Ingredients for oats

2 cups water
1 cup oats
¼ cup dried fruit, cranberries, chopped apricots, cherries, blueberries (any combination you like!)
1 tablespoon brown sugar (optional, if you want to make it a bit sweeter)

Ingredients for the cinnamon ginger infused creamy syrup

1 ½ cups vanilla soy milk
½ teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon maple syrup or agave nectar
2 cinnamon sticks
4 quarter inch thick slices of fresh, peeled ginger

Ingredients for toppings

¼ cup frozen raspberries

Preparation

Combine all of the creamy toping ingredients, cover with a lid, and heat on medium low. You want this mixture to be barley simmering, just hot enough to infuse the milk with the flavors of all the yummy mixins. While the creamy syrup is cooking bring the oats and water to a boil and reduce heat to simmer. After oats have lightly boiled for about 5 minutes add your dried fruit and brown sugar (if you are adding it) and cook until most of the liquid has absorbed from the oats. While everything is finishing up cooking microwave your raspberries until they are hot and then remove the cinnamon sticks and ginger slices from the creamy syrup. Portion the oats into two bowls, top with a generous portion of the syrup, and serve with a dollop of hot raspberries.

Baked banana oatmeal
Serves 2 (or 4 if you double it!)




Another favorite! This tastes like a combination between oatmeal cookies and banana bread. The recipe can easily be doubled to make as a treat when you have company for breakfast. Sometimes when I know I will be running short on time in the morning I will pre measure ingredients and get all the utensils and tools ready for this the night before. Then in the morning after my run I mix it all together, pop it in the oven, set the timer and then take the timer with me so the oats can cook while I get ready for work. When the timer dings I take a break and eat breakfast (or if I am really running late I portion my oats into a bowl and take it with me to eat at the office).

Ingredients

1 cup oats
2 cups vanilla soymilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon walnuts, chopped and toasted
1 large banana or two small, cut into ½” thick slices
1 or 2 tablespoons brown sugar

Preparation

Combine the oats, cinnamon, baking powder and walnuts. Add to this your soymilk and vanilla. Pour this mixture into a greased or parchment paper covered baking dish. Gently top with banana slices and add a small sprinkle of cinnamon atop the bananas. Bake at 375 for 30 minutes. Remove the dish from the oven and top with brown sugar, pop this back in the oven and broil on low for 1 or 2 minutes, just until the sugar starts to bubble a bit. Serve in bowls topped with a splash of vanilla soy milk.

Pumpkin and peanut butter oatmeal
Serves 2


These oats are great in the fall when you start to crave baked goods like pumpkin pie and peanut butter cookies. Not only does this breakfast taste like a decadent dessert but it good for you too, full of vitamin C and beta carotene from the pumpkin and protein and healthy fat from the smidge of peanut butter.

Oatmeal ingredients

1 cup oats
2 cups vanilla soy milk
¼ cup pureed pumpkin (the kind you get in a can for pumpkin pie works perfect)
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon maple syrup or agave nectar
1 tablespoon peanut butter

Topping ingredients

¼ cup vanilla or plain yogurt
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 small sprinkle of cinnamon

Preparation

Bring the oats and soymilk to a boil and reduce heat to simmer. Add the pumpkin, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and sweetener of choice (maple syrup or agave), stir to combine and let cook for about 10 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed. While this is cooking prepare the topping by mixing the yogurt, maple syrup and sprinkle of cinnamon in a small bowl and then set aside. When oats are just about done mix in the peanut butter and stir until it has all melted into the oats. Turn off the heat, portion oats into two bowls and serve with a dollop of the maple flavored yogurt on top.

No comments: