Friday, November 24, 2017

Oats my mother never made

A friend got his bloodwork done recently, and discovered a borderline cholestrol issue. Since then, I have been trying to convince him to switch over to healthier breakfast alternatives. If you ask me, the one thing that's on top of my list for a morning meal is oats with fruit and nuts. My friend however has unequivocally declared that oatmeal is not something he would ever stoop so low as to consume - cholestrol or not.

Honestly. I get it. This aversion to oatmeal. If anyone would have suggested the same to me before 2015, I would have felt the same thing for sure. In fact, I donot recall ever feeling pleased when my mother would make oats for breakfast back in days. Oats felt - and looked - like something you might be served at a hospital! But, all this was before German Bakery at Anjuna happened to me. That delightful cafe, minutes from our guesthouse and where Len and I spent all our mornings, biting into yumminess. Two weeks in Goa and sometimes I think of German Bakery first, before I remember the sand and sea! Anyhow, I  discovered two things.

1. Oats with fruit and nut
2. Pesto on wholegrain bread

For now, let me focus on the first.

Over the last two years I have tried out a bunch over toppings for my oatmeal. The basic recipe remains the same, I just switch the add-ons, depending on the season and my mood. So, here are three of my favourite toppings in the hope that i might be able to convince least one oatmeal hater to crossing over the other side.

I buy a lot of my ingredients online. Click on the items for more details.

Basic oatmeal: what you need

1/2 cup oats
1 cup milk
3-4 dates, chopped. I prefer this to sugar because of the obvious health benefits. Also, I think it tastes much better!

Option 1: Apple pie oats

Quarter of an apple, chopped into tiny pieces
1-2 tbsp frozen blackberries
1 tsp raisins
5 almonds, chopped
1 tsp pumpkin seeds
A fat pinch of ground cinnamon (add this at the time of cooking the oats)

Option 2: Tropical twist oats

1-2 tbsp ripe chopped mango
1/2 ripe kiwi
1 tsp raisins
1 tsp flaxseed

For a variation of tropical flavours, try swapping the kiwi and mango combo with chunks of ripe pineapple and dragonfruit. Its a delicious combination with perfectly balanced flavours.

Option 3: Cocoa berry oats
1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
4 walnuts chopped
1-2 tbsp raspberries or strawberries,  chopped or whole
White chocolate chips
1 tsp honey or maple syrup (optional) for some extra sweetness.

How to

Place milk in a small saucepan along with chopped, pitted dates. Sometimes when in a rush I just add whole dates; makes no difference to the taste obviously. The pitted ones are just a little bit easier to eat. After about 2-3 minutes, add the oats and stir.

Cook the oats till they reach a creamy consistency, which takes about 5-7 minutes.

Serve hot or cold with desired toppings.

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