Sometimes, an idea flickers on like a bulb inside my head, and my good ol’ tenacious spirit takes me on a path of curious exploration. A few days ago, I got it in my mind that I should find a way to have oatmeal every day. I often read and hear about how healthy and filling oatmeal is, but the biggest hindrance in making it a part of my regular diet is in the preparation and clean-up process. I know myself, and I know that the time and effort it takes to boil up oatmeal on the stove every morning, PLUS the fact that dried oatmeal is pretty much like cement, would keep me from turning it into a dietary habit. Yeah… I can be pretty gosh-darn lazy when it comes to food.
What if there was a simpler way, though?
Obviously, there is instant oatmeal and pre-packaged stuff for “convenience,” but that’s not always the healthiest route or the cheapest. I’m always interested in the most practical and natural way of doing something, so if I could buy a mountain of regular oats for cheap and prepare it without much fuss, that sounded pretty good to me. I started researching how to easily prep old-fashioned rolled oats, and I ended up stumbling upon an idea that seemed worthy of trying: soaking the oats in a bowl of liquid overnight and then simply using the microwave to cook them. Folks call it overnight oatmeal.
So, here’s what my experiments have revealed over the last few days…
- I use a 1:1 ratio of oats to water for the overnight soak. So, if I put a 1/2 cup of oats into the bowl, I then pour in a 1/2 cup of water.
- I place the bowl in the refrigerator overnight. Since I’m only using water, I could just as well leave it out and cover it, but that wouldn’t work if you choose milk, obviously.
- When I take the bowl out in the morning, pretty much all of the water has been absorbed by the oats. In the 1/2 cup scenario, I now add 1/4 cup of water on top of these soaked oats.
- I place the bowl in the microwave for 1 minute, take it out and stir thoroughly, then cook it for another minute.
- Oatmeal expands and bubbles up pretty high as it cooks, but my bowl is just tall enough – though it’s close.
- After the 2 minutes in the microwave, I stir in a bunch of honey, and stir it all up.
After the first day, I determined that 1/2 cup wasn’t quite filling enough, so I tried a full cup. I also decided to try it cold, but I made two mistakes: I added in a bunch of blueberries, but they were a little tart, and I added my extra after-soak water, which I shouldn’t have done. I was left with a pretty gross bowl of grossness, so I tried to salvage it by heating things up… and that didn’t help at all. My goodness, not at ALL. I think this cold oatmeal option has potential, though, so the experimentation shall continue. I’ll try keeping the 1:1 overnight ratio and adding the honey cold… we’ll see how THAT goes.
Just as I’ve done with my fitness routine (progress report coming next month, finally), I’m always trying out new ideas – and even when it doesn’t go well, it’s all still a learning process 🙂 .