Water or milk? Apparently, when it comes to oatmeal there are two warring ideologies out there, with one side proclaiming that oatmeal can only be made with water and the other declaring that oatmeal with milk is the only way to be. Although I understand why people may prefer milk, I put myself firmly in the water camp on this one. And I am not alone: even bon appétit, a renowned food magazine, seems to agree that if you want to some creamy and delicious oatmeal, cooking it with water is the way to go!
Having said that, I recently discovered to way to kick it up a notch and create an incredibly creamy oatmeal, that’s silky, smooth, rich, and packed with protein. The secret to my newfound success is adding some protein powder to the oats.
I use quick cooking oats, those are oats that have been specially processed to decrease the cooking time. I prepare them in the microwave and they are done in about 2 minutes. But: if you prefer steel-cut oats, or rolled oats – go for it! The recipe below will work with any oat variety, and you don’t need to change anything about how you normally cook your oatmeal. All you need to do is mix in one scoop of your favorite protein powder with your oats before adding water (1/4 cup more than you would otherwise) and then cook the way you usually do.
This small amount of protein powder will add incredible creaminess and smooth texture. As I said, you can add any protein powder you like. I used unsweetened, unflavored pea protein powder, but vanilla flavored varieties will work, as will peanut butter protein powder – although in that case you better like peanut butter flavored oatmeal!
Lastly, don’t forget the toppings – you can use anything you have on hand. In the case of my recent breakfast, I had some bananas, coconut flakes and freeze dried strawberries. Some others topping you may want to try are raisins, or other dried fruit, chopped walnuts, slivered almonds, brown sugar, maple syrup, fresh fruit of any kind (well, maybe not citrus fruit, but you get the idea), some spices, like cinnamon or cardamom…
Or, if you are feeling adventurous (and you used unsweetened and unflavored protein powder) you may want to try savory oatmeal and add sour cream, perhaps some hummus, or some diced olives and similar types of toppings. I can see how this may sound strange, but oatmeal is really almost like polenta or grits, so it’s worth playing around with savory side of oatmeal as well.
Unbelievably Creamy Oatmeal, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow
Unbelievably Creamy Oatmeal
Note: serves 1
What you’ll need:
1/2 cup quick cooking oats (or any other type of oats you like)
1 scoop pea protein powder (or any other type of protein powder you enjoy)
1 1/4 cup water (use the amount of water you usually use to cook oatmeal + 1/4 cup extra)
optional: toppings of any kind you prefer (fresh fruit (bananas, berries…), dried fruit (raisins, chopped dates…), nuts (chopped walnuts, slivered almonds…), sweeteners (maple syrup, brown sugar…), coconut flakes, spices (cinnamon, vanilla, cardamom….)
What you’ll do:
Note: this is a recipe for quick cooking oats prepared in the microwave. You will need to make adjustments if you are using other types of oats or other cooking methods. In a microwave safe bowl, mix the oats and protein powder. Pour the water in, and mix again. Cook on high for 2 to 3 minutes (this will depend on your microwave so stick to the time you usually use; if this is your first time making oatmeal, please note that oatmeal has a tendency to boil over very quickly and make a sticky mess that’s pain to clean. I recommend you place your ingredients in a deep bowl to avoid spills. Also: place a paper towel or something similar under the bowl, to help soak up the mess in case the spill over happens). Mix the oatmeal and return to the microwave for another 20-30 seconds.
Serve the hot oatmeal with as many of your favorite toppings as you like. Keep it simple or go wild – you can’t go wrong with oatmeal!
Some of you may know that I am not a real food blogger – and by real I mean a person who does food blogging, recipe development, food photography and cookbook writing full time. I started blogging about two years ago as a way to share some of the recipes I’ve been enjoying. For me, this was a way to combine my love for cooking and my love for writing. But: I do have another huge love in my life, one that overshadow all else, and it is love of science, especially the kind of science done at the interface of chemistry and biology. So, my real job is guiding one of the best chemical biology programs on the planet.
This job comes with an opportunity to travel to meet other scientists in the field, so we can share and learn from each other. Recently, I went on a trip which scientifically I enjoyed very much! However, the plane rides were bumpy, and they were delays, and stress, and long flights, and really limited food options at the airports. Which means that for couple of days my diet was OK, but not great. Plus: I tend to eat too much when I travel. Snacking helps pass the time, and although I know it is not healthy, it is what I do.
By the time I get back home, I am usually beyond exhausted sometimes due to the trip itself, but oftentimes because the amounts of salt, fat and sugar I consumed. That’s why I developed this wonderful smoothie to help me reboot and rebalance myself.
The smoothie comes together in a snap, like they all do, and uses blueberries, bananas, oatmeal and peanut butter powder. The peanut butter powder is something that you can now find in your local grocery store. It is made from roasted peanuts after all the oil haas been removed, which means that it has less calories and less fat, but more protein per serving than peanut butter. This powder retains all of the peanut aroma, and you can use it for smoothies, baking and even cooking things like Pad Thai. I like using it in this smoothie because it adds a nice punch of protein to it.
Bananas are an essential smoothie ingredient, no matter what. They add sweetness and creaminess to it, and make the smoothies rich, so much so that you will think you are getting spoiled. If you do not like bananas, this smoothie can be made with roasted sweet potatoes (yummy!), and even canned pumpkin purée. Bananas are full of vitamin B6, which is the essential cofactor of many enzymes that regulate our metabolism, and when it comes to vitamin B6 one banana goes a long way (more than 30% of your daily value)!
Blueberries are also key to the final flavor, and I recommend that, if you can, get frozen wild blueberries, preferably from Maine. This, of course may not be possible where you live so you can use any blueberries you have on hand, or strawberries, raspberries, blackberries or sweet cherries for that matter. The fruit you use can certainly be bought frozen, and I do this all the time as it ensures I have perfect fruit ready to go for whenever I need a smoothie. You can also use fresh in which case you may want to add a couple of ice cubes into your smoothie mix before blending if you prefer your smoothies icy cold.
Finally, just a bit of oatmeal will enhance the creaminess, and add more sustaining power to the smoothie. One serving will fuel you for a while!
One note on the blenders and the order in which you add the ingredients. Some of you may have industrial strength blenders that can handle anything. The one I have is good, but not fantastic and for my blender to work well I have to add liquids first, then things that are softer, then things that are harder. The order below is based on this principle, and you don’t need to follow it unless you have the kind of finicky blender I have.
Reboot smoothie with blueberries, peanut butter powder, and oatmeal, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow
Reboot Smoothie with Blueberries, Bananas, Oatmeal and Peanut Butter
What you’ll need for one very generous single serving or two smaller ones
1 cup almond milk (unsweetened, vanilla flavor or plain)
1 cup frozen blueberries
1/4 cup oatmeal
2 tablespoons peanut butter powder
What you’ll do:
Place the almond milk, chopped banana, blueberries, oatmeal and peanut butter powder into a blender. Close the lid and blend until smooth. Let the blended mix sit for about 10 minutes to allow the oatmeal to soak and soften. Then pour it out and enjoy!
Today is a double whammy of a day. It’s the National Oatmeal Cookie Day and at the same time the National Raisin Day. So I just had to join in the celebrations by putting those two together into these lovely, healthy and chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies that use couple of very simple ingredients and take no time to make.
I decided to start with some naturally sweet ingredients in order to completely omit using added sugar. So I went for a combination of carrots and raisins, both with an amazing amount of sweetness that baking brings out to an amazing extent.
For my oatmeal, I decided to toast some of it to add extra dimensions of nuttiness to the flavor of these cookies without the need to use any nuts. Additional trick I used is to grind most of the oats which made it easy to skip using flour. Still, I did add a bit of corn starch to help the cookies along, and “flax egg” to bind everything together.
Of course, you can’t have a good batch of moist cookies without adding a bit of fat and in this case I decide to use solids out of the can of coconut cream. I used all the liquid and couple of tablespoons of solids for my Bread Fruit Curry, so I had some solids leftover. You can also use coconut oil in this application as well. The oil does not need to be fully melted but it does need to be softened so that can mix well with the rest of the ingredients.
So without any further ado I give to you on this special day gluten-free and dairy-free, no sugar added Oatmeal Raisin Cookies.
Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
What you’ll need (for 24, 2 in (5 cm) diameter cookies):
3 large carrots
1 cup raisins
2 cups oatmeal
1/4 cup flax meal
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup corn starch
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
What you’ll do:
Preheat oven to 350 F (175 C).
Place raisins into a large cup and cover with hot water. Let them soak for 30 minutes.
Add flax meal to a large cup and mix well with 3/4 cups of hot water. Let stand for 15-30 minutes.
Toast 1/2 cup of oat meal in a toaster oven until they begin to slightly brown and start smelling lovely and deliciously toasty, which should take about 2-3 minutes. Keep an eye on the toaster oven though as the oats will burn quickly. You can toast the oatmeal on the stove top, using a frying pan. I recommend dry toasting them, although you can use a drop of oil or cooking spray to help the toasting along.
Add the toasted oats to a food processor and grind to a fine meal. Pour the toasted oatmeal into a large mixing bowl.
Add another 1 cup of oatmeal to the food processor and grind as finely as the previous batch. Combine with the ground toasted oatmeal.
Add reminder of the oatmeal (1/2 cup) into the mixing bowl without grinding for added texture.
Grind carrots finely using the food processor and add to the oatmeal mix.
Drain the raisins well and add to the oatmeal and carrots.
Add “flax egg” and mix well. The mixture should be moist but not runny.
Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. If your coconut oil needs a but of melting, put it in the microwave for 30 to 60 seconds. Keep an eye on it because you don’t want it to be completely melted, just soft enough to be able to mix well.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and spoon out the cookies with a tablespoon. This should yield 24 cookies, 12 per baking sheet. Use your fingers to shape the cookies into nice, flat rounds or any shape you like. Their final thickness is about 1/2 in (1 cm) and they will not spread or rise much so make sure that you do actually flat them out before baking.
Bake for 16 to 18 minutes. The cookies will be soft to touch but will firm up a bit as they cool.
You can frost them with simple sugar frosting if you like, but I did want to keep this recipe “added sugar” free and they are delicious as is. Enjoy!!!