Humble Oatmeal

Did you know that more oatmeal is consumed in January than in any other month of the year?  It surprised me too but I guess that is why January is National Oatmeal Month.  So let us explore this humble but wide and fascinating world of oatmeal.

Oatmeal has been around for centuries. Oats were one of the first cereals cultivated by man. The ancient Chinese knew of the oat as long ago as 7,000 B.C. but the ancient Greeks were the first to make a recognizable porridge or cereal from them.

Oatmeal is healthy for the inside of your body in so many ways. It has cancer fighting properties and it can ease digestion by slowing down the digestion process of starches in the body.  It also helps reduce your bad cholesterol without lowering your good cholesterol.

Oatmeal is a food in its own little world.  Not many foods can be good for you on both the inside and outside.  Oatmeal has moisturizing and soothing properties that can relieve the symptoms of almost any skin disorder.  It also works wonderfully as an exfoliant.

For many of us the first thing we think of when we hear the word oatmeal is a bowl of it or cookies, but oatmeal has so many more culinary uses.  Mix it into meatballs or meatloaf to help them hold their shape better during cooking.  Substitute oatmeal for half the flour in your next pie crust to shake things up a bit.  Add a nutty flavor and fiber to muffins, pancakes, or breads by mixing in some oatmeal.  It also works to help thicken up chili. Put oatmeal and your favorite spices in your food processor  and make a coating for chicken. The oatmeal will help your chicken remain juicy and moist.

Now that you’ve learned more about this humble staple of American life, experiment with it.  Oatmeal doesn’t have to be boring and one of these following recipes could become a favorite.

Chicago Diner (AKA Oatmeal) Burgers
Serves 8
(Vegan if you don’t add real cheese)
3 stalks celery, diced
1 small onion, diced
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
2 tsp. onion powder
2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
12 oz. mushrooms, finely chopped
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour

1. Bring 4 cups water, celery, onion, soy sauce, onion powder, garlic powder and pepper to boil in pot over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and simmer 5 minutes. Stir in oats, mushrooms and flour and cook 5 minutes more. Transfer to bowl, and chill.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat baking sheet with cooking spray. Shape mixture into patties, and bake on prepared baking sheet 15 minutes. Flip, and bake 10 minutes more. Cool.
3. Heat grill to medium-high. Place foil on grill and coat with cooking spray. Grill burgers on foil 7 minutes per side.

Maple-Oatmeal Scones
Yield: 14 large scones
4½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup quick-cooking oats, plus additional for sprinkling
2 tablespoons baking powder
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 pound (4 sticks) cold unsalted butter, diced
½ cup cold buttermilk
½ cup pure maple syrup
4 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon milk or water, for egg wash
For the Glaze:
1¼ cups confectioners’ sugar
½ cup pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the flour, oats, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Blend the cold butter in at the lowest speed and mix until the butter is in pea-sized pieces. Combine the buttermilk, maple syrup, and eggs and add quickly to the flour-and-butter mixture. Mix until just blended. The dough may be sticky.
3. Dump the dough out onto a well-floured surface and be sure it is combined. Flour your hands and a rolling pin and roll the dough ¾ to 1-inch thick. You should see lumps of butter in the dough. Cut into 3-inch rounds with a plain or fluted cutter and place on baking sheet.
4. Brush the tops with egg wash. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the tops are crisp and the insides are done.
5. To make the glaze, combine the confectioners’ sugar, maple syrup, and vanilla. When the scones are done, cool for 5 minutes, and drizzle each scone with 1 tablespoon of glaze. Sprinkle some uncooked oats on the top, for garnish. The warmer the scones are when you glaze them, the thinner the glaze will be.

Crock-pots aren’t just for dinner anymore!

Crock-pot Oatmeal Recipe
4 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 8 hours
1 ½ cups steel cut oatmeal (also called Irish oatmeal or Irish oats – not rolled oats)
4 cups water
2 cups milk, half and half or cream
¼ cup brown sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 medium apples, peeled and diced
honey for drizzling
1. Spray the inside of your slow cooker stoneware with cooking spray.
1. Place oatmeal, water, milk, brown sugar and cinnamon in Crock-pot. Cover and set on low. Cook at least 6 hours, up to 12 hours.
1. About an hour before serving, add diced apple to the slow cooker. Stir, cover and cook another hour or so.
1. To serve, drizzle with honey, and garnish with more chopped apples, if desired.

I, personally, am not a big fan of eating plain oatmeal so I included one of my favorite oatmeal recipes.  I love oatmeal soap and making your own allows you to personalize it.

Oatmeal Melt and Pour Soap Recipe

8 oz. of white/opaque base
8 oz. of clear base
1/2 oz. of ground up Oatmeal (use a coffee grinder for a smoother, lighter exfoliation.     The smaller the particle, the easier to suspend in the soap.)
approximately 1/2 oz fragrance oil
Colorant (optional)

1. Melt 8 oz. of white/opaque base
1. Melt 8 oz. of clear base
1. Combine the two bases
1. Add your fragrance oil. (Oatmeal, Milk and Honey is a good one!) and stir in well
1. Optional: Add colorant
1. Add the oatmeal and stir. Wait 20 or 30 seconds – is the oatmeal sinking to the bottom of your bowl/Pyrex or is it staying suspended. If it is staying suspended, skip to step 8
1. If the oatmeal is sinking, this simply means that your base is not thick enough to support the oatmeal. Either cover the bowl/Pyrex with saran wrap and wait for the base to cool, or stir the melted base until it is becomes thick enough to suspend the oatmeal.
1. Pour your oatmeal soap into molds
1. Spritz with alcohol to finish the soap and break up any bubbles on the top of the soap
1. Wait 2 to 3 hours (or even better, overnight!) to pop the soap out of the molds. Wrap with saran wrap and you’re done!

12 thoughts on “Humble Oatmeal

  1. Pingback: Pure Vanilla Ingredients

  2. It doesn’t surprise me terribly. When it’s super cold outside Old Fashioned Oatmeal still warms your insides. IMO it’s also one of the best comfort foods… and very heart healthy too. :-)

  3. We love oatmeal with lots of other good things in it; raisins, coconut, almonds or chopped walnuts, banana or mandarin oranges on top….cinnamon….great stuff! And filling, which is important when you’re feeding 5 kids :)

  4. Steel cut oats in the crockpot! I start them the night before and they are ready when we get up (ranging btw 0430-0630). My kids love maple sugar and cinnamon on theirs.

  5. Doesn’t surprise me. I think I’ll fix some oatmeal for my breakfast this morning.

  6. We had a big pot of oatmeal for dinner last week, with caramel apple topping over each bowl. Picture a slightly less sweet homemade butterscotch pudding with home canned sliced apples mixed in. It was very good. A big hit with the sledding crowd as they came in to warm up. Very economical for a big family too. Besides, we bottled our own apples, milked our own goats, and then used those things to make the dinner.

  7. We certainly consume quite a bit of it, both traditional and steel cut….with fruit, cinnamon and honey, YUM

  8. I like to add chopped apples and walnuts plus cinnamon to oatmeal.