Sunday, September 26, 2010

Strawberry-Vanilla Oatmeal

I decided to start doing breakfast posts every once in a while! They probably won't come too often because usually I just start my day by rolling out of bed into a pair of jeans and a t-shirt and eating a whole-wheat bagel and cream cheese in the car. I know breakfast is important and believe me even that scarfed down bagel is a step up for me. But after reading an interesting cooking/weight loss book I decided to try out this meal that sounded really appealing and something very easy for my on-the-go mornings.

This recipe is actually a mix between a recipe I got from the September 2010 issue of the magazine Clean Eating and the idea of oatmeal for breakfast from the cookbook The Perfect Recipe by Pam Anderson. I know oatmeal for breakfast is good (and probably better than a bagel - even if it's whole wheat) because it's got a lot of fiber and, depending on what you add to it, the potential for an even more filling and yummy breakfast than you thought it could be. The recipe from Clean Eating was actually a recipe for millet porridge, but I switched it up to oatmeal because of what I read in the other book and because, honestly, I don't know what millet is and I like oatmeal so I knew I'd have a better chance for success with this recipe with it.

I made 3/4 cups of Quaker Old Fashioned Oats following the directions on the back for the "Heart Healthy" portion. While that was cooking I defrosted some frozen strawberries I got at PriceRite over the weekend and cut them into quarters that filled about 3/4 of a cup (looking back I ended up halving the rest of the recipe so I'd probably do a 1/2 cup of berries unless it ends up coming out okay). Right before the oatmeal was done cooking I added the berries and let the juices mix with the oats so that the flavor would spread throughout. When the oatmeal was done, I shut off the heat and added 1 tsp of pure vanilla extract and 2 tablespoons of maple syrup.

Then, I put it in some tupperware and stored it in the fridge to be reheated tomorrow morning before class. I did this for a few reasons. Pam Anderson, the author of The Perfect Recipe, was discussing how she loves this recipe because it's so easy to whip up the night before and so easy to prepare for eating in the morning. I love this because one of my big problems with both weight loss and breakfast in general is that, for some reason, I tend to have a lot of energy to deal with cooking and healthiness at night (but of course 10pm isn't really the best time to be full of self-consciousness ready to exercise and eat vegetables) and then I, of course, lose this feeling quickly and wake up feeling tired and unwilling to compromise with smart breakfast choices. Then, by the time I've made a bad breakfast decision (or no breakfast at all), I'm already 3/4ths of the way to making a bad lunch decision and then (because literally ALL of my bad decisions are always carbs) I'm so strung out and tired from all of these carbs that I just want to curl up with some more of my carby best friends and then snuggle into my bed for a night of watching television before starting the whole unhealthy process again. This book really made me look at where my problems originate, and for me I really believe it's breakfast. Or at least a big part of it is. So tonight, while I was full of hopefulness about my future of size 4 jeans and sleek calves, I threw together this quick and easy recipe that's full of good energy and taste that should keep me awake and attentive for my morning class.

Along, with breakfast, I also pre-made a salad for lunch. A good thing about having all of this positive energy before the next day is that I'm learning to use that in a productive way by pre-making food for the next day. This way, since I already have the healthy decision made, I don't have the option to make an unhealthy choice and I'm being good while barely even realizing it. And it's actually yummy! I washed and dried some romaine lettuce and in a separate container put in some chopped celery, red grapes, and chick peas (all from PriceRite) and mandarin orange slices and chopped walnuts (I found the ones I was looking for last week - non-glazed!).

So now I'm all excited about the potential for tomorrow and all of the healthy non-choices up ahead :)

Strawberry-Vanilla Oatmeal
Clean Eating (Sept. 2010 pg. 64)
Ingredients: Pinch of salt
1 cup oatmeal
1 cup strawberries, quartered
4 tbsp pure maple syrup
2-4 tsp pure vanilla extract
Skim milk or unsweetened almond milk
Directions: 1. Cook oatmeal.
2. A few minutes before oatmeal is done cooking, stir in strawberries so they can stew and release their juices into the porridge.
3. When oatmeal is done cooking, remove from heat and stir in maple syrup and vanilla.
4. Add milk as desired.
(Apples and cinnamon is a good substitute for strawberries and vanilla)

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