Growing up, my breakfast list included Cheerios, toast, eggs, bacon, Pop Tarts, kolaches, orange juice, doughnuts, and the occasional extravagance like ice cream or a Dr. Pepper (healthy I know). Oatmeal never made the list. In fact, the only time I had it on hand was if I planned on baking. Why else would I need it?
It wasn’t like I didn’t try to like it. I did. But the mushy texture and bland flavoring did nothing for me. The flavored type was just as bad. Plus, I’ve lived in southeast Texas – not exactly cold enough to warrant scrambling for a hot breakfast. I resigned myself to the idea that oatmeal was meant for cookies and other baked goods where I was concerned.
Recently I decided to give it another try. After looking over that breakfast list you can see how many of those items are highly processed. I wanted something filling that I could make on my own, something that would neither take all morning to do so or leave my kitchen in shambles. Whether I liked it or not, oatmeal fit the bill.
This time I decided that if I was going to overcome my dislike, I needed to jazz it up on my own – no more relying on flavor packets for me. On my first attempt I added sugar and cocoa powder with some sliced banana, but the flavor was too mellow even with the banana and the texture was still too mushy.
The next morning I made a half cup of plain oatmeal with milk and added a pinch or two of both white sugar and brown sugar and some chopped up pecans. This fixed the texture issue a little and made it sweeter, but it was still too bland. Then I remembered I had a carton of organic strawberries in my fridge, and I sliced and tossed them in with everything else. The strawberries added a slightly firmer texture compared to the oatmeal but not as firm as the pecans and rounded out the taste with a burst of tartness. I had it with my usual glass of orange juice, and it was excellent. I had a fourth cup this morning since I found the half cup to be a little too filling. I think in the future I’ll add in some blueberries or raspberries and maybe some of the honey I bought at the Downtown Art Market. It’s worth a shot.
What do you like in your oatmeal?