First, I'd like to give a shout out for all of you who have voted for my Whole Foods Foodie Fantasy Video. LYLAS. Second, please vote again! Day two has begun (you might have to wait 24 hours from the last time you voted). If you aren't friends with me on Facebook, please let me know you voted so that I can enter you into my contest to win a cookie gift basket delivered right to your door. Voting is so much fun that you will wish you could do it more than once per day. Trust me. Yeah...I'll just keep reminding you...
Oatmeal. I was first introduced to the idea of soaked oatmeal only a few months ago by some friends. We ate it before a race and I have been hooked ever since. It is totally delicious! Soaked Oatmeal >>Not Soaked Oatmeal.
I have learned a lot about it since, but I have to say that all of the research I have done is post-loving-soaked-oatmeal. So, let me tell you why I loved it the first time I had it. First, the texture is way better. The oats expand while they are soaking and it gives the oatmeal a porridge-like texture. Not that I have ever had porridge. Who eats porridge these days? Second, it digests like a charm. When you are eating breakfast the morning before a workout or a race or an important event, it is especially important to eat something that is easy to digest. However, that is something you would really want everyday, right? Hmm...but bacon is so good on that special occasion.
Now, I promise I knew none of the science behind soaking oats before falling in love with them and deciding on those two benefits. Per my research (how office-memo-y of me), these are exactly the reasons why people do it! In fact, from what I have read, this was traditionally how all grains and oats used to be prepared back in the day (ref). Not sure how far back it goes, but apparently it used to be included in any recipes that called for oats or grains. Anyways, let's talk about the digestion. Whole grains contain phytic acid in the bran of the grain. The phytic acid combines with key minerals (like calcium, magnesium, copper, iron, zinc, etc.) and prevents their absorption in the intestinal tract. This makes digestion more difficult. By soaking the grain, it will neutralize the phytic acid and release those nutrients for absorption (ref). Because I my experience, I am a believer (also a belieber). However, this isn't fact and many believe that soaking the oats isn't necessary to break down the phytic acid and that cooking them will break it down enough (ref).
Regardless of the phytic acid thing, there are two non-negotiable benefits:
1. It is way faster. After soaking, the oats just need to be warmed and breakfast is ready!
2. Superior texture.
This recipe is for a maple/brown sugar oatmeal with sliced bananas and walnuts. After reading In Defense of Food, I am now deathly afraid of the one processed food we do eat regularly: cereal. So oatmeal is helping me through my breakfast dilemma.
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick or instant)
2 cups water for soaking
100% pure maple syrup
In a medium saucepan, add the equal parts oats and water. Cover and let oats soak for 12-24 hours (overnight is fine, but the longer the better) at room temperature.
The next morning put saucepan with the oats over medium to medium-high heat until they are hot! I usually add another 1/2 cup of water, but it is really your preference as to how wet or dry you like your oatmeal. Once it has reached the right consistency and is warm, add brown sugar and maple syrup, to taste. You can also do this at the table for each serving separately. Top with sliced bananas and walnuts, and pour whole milk over the top.
(Servings: 2-4, Prep time: 5 minutes, Cook time: 5 minutes, Difficulty: Easy)
Shanon (taste): 9/10
Scot (taste): 8/10
Dishwashing Effort: 1/5