Saturday, May 8, 2010

Steel Cut Oatmeal

As I mentioned in an earlier post (Quinoa & Chickpea Soup), I am following a "Booty Camp Fitness" challenge. Funnily enough the elimination of dairy from my diet has been relatively easy, but refined sugar is more challenging because it is included (in a variety of forms) in almost all foods! Although I thoroughly enjoy eggs and sprouted grains toast with nut butter and honey, I decided to create something different for breakfast. As I was cooking the oatmeal, it occurred to me that perhaps many do not know the difference between the regular instant oatmeal and steel cut (or pinhead/Irish) oats.
Steel cut (or pinhead / Irish) oats are essentially instant oats prior to processing.Steel-cut oats are whole grain groats (the inner portion of the oat kernel) which have been cut into only two or three pieces by steel. These take longer to prepare than instant or rolled oats due to their minimal processing. Generally between 15-30 minutes to simmer (much less if pre-soaked). The taste and texture of the cooked product is what differs between these two forms of oatmeal - steel cut have a firmer and nuttier flavour.

Oat kernels can look very much like wheat berries in their raw state, but because the oat kernel is soft, the nutritious bran is not removed during processing and it takes much less time to cook (huge bonus in my books!!) Whole grain oats contain seven B vitamins, vitamin E, and nine minerals, including iron and calcium. The quality and quantity of the protein in oats is far superior to that of wheat and most other grains. One ounce of oats has TWICE the protein of wheat or corn flakes. But the most important nutritional advantages are the soluable fiber and the GLA (gamma linoleic acid); the soluable fiber is what gives it the gummy texture, and it helps lower cholesterol levels in the blood.

I like to cook mine and then add cinnamon (since it is delicious, helps regulate blood-sugar levels as well as battle against harmful yeasts in the body), a tbsp of maple syrup (since it is DELICIOUS, I get it from a farm down the road and has health benefits since it has high levels of zinc and manganese), and a handful of fresh blueberries (which help sweeten the oats as well as provide health benefits for almost all facets of the body's functioning). You should try this simple and nutritious cereal for breakfast or a snack - you'll be glad you did!

3 cups water
1/4 tsp sea or kosher salt
1 cup steel cut oats
1 tbsp pure maple syrup
1/2 cup fresh blueberries
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • Bring the 3 cups of water seasoned with salt to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and stir in the oats. Cover and simmer 10-20 mins (depending on how chewy you like your oats!), stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
  • Once all the liquid is absorbed, remove from heat and add maple syrup and cinnamon. Stir well to incorporate evenly throughout the oats. Fold in the blueberries and ENJOY!

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