Make-Ahead Breakfast: Steel Cut Oats

Make-Ahead Steel Cut Oats

Make-Ahead Steel Cut Oats

 

I’m a bit of a planner, and I’m up for anything I can get done on the weekend to free up some down-time during the week.  I also make sure I eat breakfast every day to keep those hangry (hungry + angry) feelings at bay.  My requirements for breakfast are that it’s 1) filling, 2) quick to prepare, and 3) yummy.  I find meal bars unsatisfying, and although I love a hearty smoothie, sometimes a bowl of warm goodness is more satisfying.  I used to eat instant oatmeal, then I heard about the health benefits of steel cut oats (in 1/4 cup uncooked oats, there’s 5 grams of fiber and 7 grams of protein) and picked up a bag of Bob’s Red Mill Steel Cut Oats at the store to give them a try.

Steel cut oats (also sold as Irish oatmeal) is the whole oat that’s been cut into little pieces. It’s the least-processed form of oats you can prepare, so all that protein and fiber is still in tact.  They take longer to cook than rolled or instant oats (about 20 minutes to cook on the stove), but you can make a batch and reheat by the serving during the week.

What I love most about these is that you can add in favorite mix-ins, like raw fruit and veggies, and they’ll cook along with the oats.  I love adding chopped apples and craisins, or grated carrots and golden raisins.  Nuts or coconut can be added at the end.

Here’s the basic recipe I use for make-ahead steel cut oats:

  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup steel cut oats
  • 1 to 1.5 cups chopped or grated fruits/veggies (chopped apples, peaches, pears, pineapple; grated carrots; frozen berries or cherries)
  • 1/4 cup dried fruit (chop if pieces are large)
  • 1 teaspoon spices (cinnamon + nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice)
  • 1/4 cup sliced or chopped nuts, or grated coconut
  • pinch of salt
  • sweetener, to taste (I don’t add very much, if any, when I use apples and dried fruit)
  1. In a large saucepan, bring water to a boil on high; add oats, fresh fruit, and dried fruit, then reduce to low.
  2. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes.  Oats should be creamy; add a bit of water if they’re too thick.
  3. Stir in spices, nuts/coconut, salt, and sweetener.  Eat right away, or spoon into containers (mason jars work well) and refrigerate.  I usually like to pour some milk on mine before I eat them.  To reheat, take the lid off of the container and reheat on high for 60-90 seconds.  You may need to add a bit of water before reheating if they’re too thick.

I hope you enjoy this as much I do.  If you give it a try, let me know what you think!  And if you come up with some more delicious combinations, I’d love to hear about them.  Comment below, or send me a tweet (@southernbeets).

Easter on Bourbon Street

New Orleans knows how to celebrate, so this year I spent Easter weekend in The Big Easy.  I ran in the Crescent City Classic, one of the country’s largest 10k races that is held the Saturday before Easter every year.  The race was a beautiful tour by foot through the French Quarter and City Park, but it was also a great way to work up an appetite for Easter brunch.

There are three parades through the French Quarter on Easter Sunday, so I started my day with the Historic French Quarter Easter Parade.  The parade started at Antoine’s (and from what I’ve read, it used to start at Arnaud’s) and was made up of women dressed in their Easter finest, which includes those fabulous hats.   Rather than use floats, the women traveled in the back of convertibles and carriages drawn by mules.  While they made their way to church at Saint Louis Cathedral, I made my way to brunch.

Easter on Bourbon Street| southernbeets

Dressed in their Easter Best in the Historic French Quarter Easter Day Parade

Easter Parade in the French Quarter

Easter Parade in the French Quarter

There are a few places in the French Quarter for a classy creole Easter Sunday jazz brunch (reservations are always recommended).  I chose Arnaud’s because I love the food and service, and because it’s along the parade route of the second parade of the day.  I started out with a mimosa made with fresh orange juice, then savored oysters, filet, and my favorite dessert in the world, Strawberries Arnaud.  As with all of their jazz brunches, there was a jazz trio taking requests around the dining room.  And on this day, the Easter Bunny was handing out sweet treats to everyone.

Easter in the French Quarter

Easter Brunch at Arnaud’s

Arnaud’s also has a Mardi Gras museum upstairs that’s free to enter (just as the hostess).  On the way to the collection of ball gowns, you’ll see a collection of Easter hats from past historic parades to your right.

After brunch, I walked outside to Bourbon Street just in time to catch the Chris Owens French Quarter Easter Parade.  It’s full of floats, entertaining acts, and plenty of bead throws.  And like the official Mardi Gras parades, this is a family-friendly event, so only hands were being raised for beads (tourist tip: flashing is frowned upon by the locals and grounds for arrest despite what you’ve seen on tv!).

Easter in the French Quarter

The Chris Owens French Quarter Easter Parade

Easter in the French Quarter

The Chris Owens French Quarter Easter Parade

There was also a Gay Easter Parade in the afternoon on Easter Sunday that I heard is fantastic, but I was ready for an Easter nap by that time.  Overall, I thought New Orleans was a great place to celebrate the holiday weekend.  You can get more information here to plan next year’s Easter adventure.

Recipe Roundup: Celebrate Spring with Strawberries

I love this time of year for cooking.  Farmer’s markets are starting to fill up with fresh produce, and I start doing more of my shopping here than at the grocery store.  It’s the height of strawberry season (hooray!), so I thought I’d share some of my favorite strawberry recipes.

1.  The Pioneer Woman’s Chocolate Strawberry Nutella Cake.  It’s a chocolate buttermilk cake topped with Nutella (genius!), whipped cream, and a pile of strawberries.  The recipe is fairly simple (no folding in egg whites), and The Pioneer Woman has a series of beautiful photos that illustrate how to assemble it.

2.  I Am Baker’s Red Velvet Sugar Cookie Shortcake.  I love red velvet, sugar cookies, and strawberry shortcake, and this is some trifecta of a dessert.  The author provides a link to her favorite sugar cookie recipe, or feel free to use your own.

3.  Kitchen Konfidence’s Strawberry Rhubarb Chia Cups.  If you’re looking for a healthier treat, this dessert packs all the strawberry sweetness plus the benefits of chai seeds.  It’s also a perfect excuse to eat dessert for breakfast.

4.  David Lebovitz’s Strawberry Rhubarb Compote.  If you haven’t checked out David’s food + Paris blog yet, head on over and let the drooling begin.  I’ve never been disappointed by anything I’ve made from his blog.

5.  spontaneous tomato’s Brown Butter Strawberry Rhubarb Tart.  This reminds me of a grown-up version of the strawberry rhubarb dessert my mom made for me as a kid.  Not only is this tart beautiful, but it incorporates browned butter (if you haven’t tried using it for baking yet, get ready for your life to change).

Any other favorite strawberry recipes to share?  Comment below, or hit me up on twitter (@southernbeets).  I still have time to try out a few more before the season is over.

My Favorite Strawberry Recipes| southernbeets

My Lunar New Year-Themed Shortcake from the Year of the Snake