Amazing Oats

Oats are incredibly beneficial and one of the most nutrient packed foods.  While they are high in fiber and carbs, they are also loaded with protein and good fat.  Oats are loaded with important vitamins, minerals and antioxidant plant compounds. Half a cup (78 grams) of dry oats contains:  Manganese: 191% of the recommended daily intake (RDI), Phosphorus: 41% of RDI, Magnesium: 34% of RDI, Copper: 24% of RDI, Iron: 20% of RDI, Zinc: 20% of RDI, Folate: 11% of RDI, Vitamin B1 (thiamin): 39% of RDI, Vitamin B5 : 10% of RDI, smaller amounts of calcium, potassium, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) and vitamin B3 (niacin).  This is coming with 51 grams of carbs, 13 grams of protein, 5 grams of fat and 8 grams of fiber, but only 303 calories according to nutritiondata.self.com.  

The antioxidants in oats help fight heart disease and can help reduce bad cholesterol without affecting the good cholesterol.  The fiber present can help normalize your bowel movements and keep you going regularly.  Oats can help control insulin resistance and therefore help blood sugar levels.  The high fiber and complex carbohydrates slow down the conversion of this whole food to simple sugars, and beta-glucan delays the fall in blood sugar levels before meals and slows the rise after a meal.  Oats are also a rich source of magnesium, which is key to enzyme function and energy production, and helps prevent heart attacks and strokes by relaxing blood vessels, aiding the heart muscle, and regulating blood pressure.  These things all combine to make oats a power packed breakfast.  

There are a few oat varieties you can find in the stores.  The most common of these are rolled oats also known as old fashioned oats, steel cut oats and instant oats.  Rolled oats are flattened and most consider them to be a chewier oat than the other versions.  Steel cut oats are finely cut instead of flattened and don’t take as long to cook.  Instant oats are even more finely chopped than steel cut oats and are often considered creamy.  Instant oats are often prepacked in serving sizes with flavor add-ins already in the package. 

In the recipes below, I have listed which oats I used in the ingredients.  Except for the instant oats though, they are pretty much interchangeable   I use the rolled oats for all of mine, but if you like steel cut, feel free to use it.  Make your grocery list and meet me in the kitchen for breakfast that will keep you moving until lunch!

 

S’mores Baked Oatmeal

2 cups rolled oats

1 cup milk

½ cup natural almond butter

cup honey

2½ Tbsps. butter, melted

1 large egg

2 tsps. pure vanilla extract

1 tsp. cinnamon

½ tsp baking soda

Chocolate morsels, I used milk chocolate 

2 bananas, thinly sliced

3 graham cracker sheets, crumbled

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Lightly grease 8 inch baking pan.  In medium bowl, combine oats and milk.  Add almond butter, honey, butter, egg, vanilla, cinnamon and baking soda and mix well.  Spoon mixture into prepared baking pan and smooth. Top with crushed graham crackers, morsels and bananas.  Cover with foil.  Bake 40 minutes or until oatmeal has set.  

Recipe adapted from immaeatthat.com. 

 

Oat Pancakes with Apple Compote

1½ cups apple cider

½ cup honey

2 Gala apples, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch chunks 

¾ cup flour

¾ cup old fashioned oats

3 Tbsps. sugar

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 cup milk

3 Tbsps. unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1 large egg

Bring cider to boil in small saucepan over high heat. Lower heat and simmer until reduced by half, 15 to 18 minutes. Stir in honey and apples, reduce heat to low and simmer until thicker, 15-30 minutes.  Be careful with this step.  Too low heat and it won’t thicken at all.  Too high heat and it will reduce too much or be almost like a burnt taffy.  Meanwhile, combine flour, oats, sugar, baking powder and cinnamon in blender until oats are finely ground. Add milk, butter and egg and blend until smooth, scraping down sides of blender occasionally.  Oats will absorb milk and make the batter super thick as it sits.  Make sure you are ready for cooking before adding liquids or you may have to add more milk to thin batter.  Heat nonstick skillet over medium-low heat.  I did not need to do anything to keep it from sticking in my pan, but use your own judgement based on your pan.  Ladle 1-2 tablespoons of batter onto skillet to make pancake depending on size you want. Make 4 to 5 more pancakes or how many your pan will hold, taking care to keep them evenly spaced apart. Cook until bubbles break surface of pancakes and undersides are golden brown, about 2 minutes. Flip with spatula and cook 1 minute more.  Serve immediately with apple compote, or transfer to platter and cover loosely with foil to keep warm. Repeat with remaining batter.  Use additional milk if needed to thin batter as it sits.
Recipe adapted from foodnetwork.com.

 

Berry Oat Bars

1½ cup old fashioned oats

1¼ cup all-purpose flour

½ cup firmly packed brown sugar

¾ cup real butter, melted

1 cup fresh blueberries

½ cup strawberry preserves

2 tsps. all-purpose flour

2 tsps. lemon juice 

Heat oven to 350°F. In large bowl, combine oats, flour, sugar and butter.  Mix until crumbly. Reserve 1 cup mixture for topping. Press remaining oat mixture evenly onto bottom of ungreased 8 or 9-inch square baking pan. Bake 13 to 15 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool slightly on wire rack. In medium bowl, combine blueberries, preserves, remaining flour and lemon juice. Mix gently to avoid crushing blueberries. Spread evenly over crust. Sprinkle with reserved oat mixture, patting gently. Bake 20 to 22 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cut into bars. Store tightly covered.

Recipe adapted from quakeroats.com.

 

Oat Energy Bites

1 cup old fashioned oats

¼ cup peanut butter

¼ cup honey

½ cup mini chocolate chips

1 tsp pure vanilla

Combine peanut butter and honey and mix until well combined.  Add all remaining ingredients and mix well.  Refrigerate 30 minutes to an hour.  Remove from fridge and use small cookie scoop to scoop even amounts and roll in hands to form ball.  Repeat until mixture is all rolled.  Place in air tight container and store in fridge.