Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Easiest. Breakfast. Ever.

This one goes out to my BFF, Shayla, for her innovation and inspiration to me about the best way ever to eat steel cut oats.

I personally grew up never having had these or noticed them until rather recently in my life. To my knowledge, you can get oats in three basic states (I know you can do flours and such, but for the sake of simplicity): groats, steel-cut, and rolled. If you grew up like I did, you likely had them only rolled--oatmeal. Perhaps for some of you it was processed even further to be "quick oats."

Groats (funny word, I know) are the least processed of these--the whole grain oat. Here's a picture for your viewing pleasure:

Steel-cut are a step of processing further down the line, just the groats cut in halves or thirds or so. Like this:

Rolled oats, with which we are most familiar, are processed differently than steel cut in that they are steamed and rolled flat--still a whole grain, but more processed, and therefore (in my opinion), at least a little less beneficial than the less processed counterparts. Cooking and exposure of the insides to air speeds the loss of vitamins and minerals.

Most people say that the nutritional value does not differ between steel-cut and rolled, but they also go on to tell these comparisons:
(Steel-cut oats have:)
  • Much longer cooking time (30 minutes)
  • More cholesterol lowering soluble fiber than other oatmeal
  • Takes longer to digest so you stay fuller longer
  • Chopped with steel blades resulting in a "chewier" oatmeal
  • Steel-cut oats contain more fiber
Seems different to me. The only down side I see is the long cooking time. Who wants to wake up earlier to make a hot breakfast? Not me. Here's where Shayla comes to the rescue!

Here comes a recipe for the EASIEST whole grain breakfast ever. Plus, it has endless flavor possibilities!

Shay's Steel-Cut Oats
*4 cups water
1 cup steel cut oats

Bring water to a boil. Add in oats. Cover. Turn off heat. Leave overnight. Done.

Servings: You can make as much as you like--as long as the water to oat ratio is 4:1. I did 1 1/2 times as much and had leftovers after three adults and one child had their fill.

I put a sprinkle or two of salt in the water before it boiled and added in, as Shayla often does, some cinnamon (to taste--maybe a couple teaspoons) to flavor it overnight. In the morning I heated it and added in some real maple syrup to taste.

Other add-in possibilities are really endless.
This morning we had raisins and slivered almonds (try the almonds soaked in salt water and dehydrated again. YUM.).

My hubby had his new favorite, just some fresh pomegranate seeds (good idea from my brother John).
Once at Shayla's house we had it peaches and cream style (add peaches, cream, and sweetener to taste).
You could do apple cinnamon, bananas--anything really.
Use your favorite flavors and imagination. Plus, you could flavor each bowl to the taste of the eater, if necessary.

I love it when trying something new is easy.

*In case you still have water left in the morning, you can just cook it down and add 1/4 to 1/2 cup less water the next time.


  1. That Shayla is a genius. Thanks for sharing this great idea.

  2. Question: Where can I find steel cut oats? Where would the be in the grocery store?

  3. Good question. It depends on your local grocery store, but I'd be shocked if the regular stores didn't have them. If you have a WinCo nearby, they usually have it in the bulk section. Otherwise, look near the other oats or in the health food section.
    My procedure is to ask the customer service if I can't find something, and if they don't have it, request it. Stores bring in what we buy from them. But steel cut oats are pretty common nowadays.

  4. Steel-cut oats cook great in the crock pot! I use a timer and let them cook on low for about 4 hours. When we wake up they're all ready. They're especially good when they soak with a cinnamon stick.

    Another variation that we like is with a little lemon juice, some lemon zest, and cut up apples. Yum!

  5. I've been doing this since you posted it!! I finally thought I should pin it because it's kinda the best kept secret ever! Thanks for sharing. We love oatmeal even more now. ;)

  6. Thanks, Nicole, for sharing!