Week of: October 8, 2012
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Making Oatmeal Extraordinary
By Dana Jacobi
for the American Institute for Cancer Research
On school mornings my health-conscious mother allowed me to have only whole grains at breakfast. At the time, that meant whole-wheat toast, shredded wheat cereal, wheat flakes, hot oatmeal or Wheatena. Do you recall that one? Its toasted taste was comforting but the gritty texture was no fun.
Sticking to whole grains and forbidding processed sugar put my mother two generations ahead of her time. For sweetening, I could have raisins, honey or maple syrup; for her, white sugar was a food of the devil, right alongside white bread and soda pop. Even brown sugar was suspect.
Fortunately, the oatmeal my mother made was extraordinary. I still rely on two of the preparations that made it so enjoyable. The first is cooking a shredded apple, a handful of raisins, or both with the oatmeal to add wholesome sweetness. The second is ground cinnamon mixed in while the cereal cooks. Simmering the cinnamon with the grains allows its sweetness to pervade them rather than just sitting on top as when sprinkled on before serving.
For sweetness, I add another ingredient – apple cider – in the liquid when cooking most grains for breakfast. This works well with quinoa, brown rice, and rye or barley flakes as well as with oatmeal.
My mother added sweetness to satisfy me, but these methods can add useful nutrients to a meal, too, from the fiber and vitamins in apples and raisins to the phytochemicals in cinnamon.
In this hearty porridge combining oats and quinoa, I use almond milk. Interestingly, it creates a creamier texture than using dairy milk, while contributing a lovely flavor. Do be sure to purchase one that is unsweetened.
Creamy Quinoa Oat Porridge
- 1/2 cup quinoa
- 1¾ cups water
- 1/8 tsp. salt
- 1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk
- 1/2 cup apple cider
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup quick cooking steel-cut oats
- 1/2 Granny Smith apple, cored, peeled, and shredded
- 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1 Tbsp. dark maple syrup
- 3 Tbsp. ground flaxseed, optional
In medium saucepan, combine quinoa with 1¾ cups water, and salt. Cover, bring to a boil, then simmer gently for 15 minutes. Off heat, let quinoa stand for 5 minutes. Set 1/2 cup of quinoa aside. Transfer the rest to a container and refrigerate for up to 3 days for another use.
In medium saucepan, combine almond milk, cider and 1/2 cup water, and bring to a boil. Immediately stir in oats, and add cooked quinoa, grated apple and cinnamon. Simmer gently for 15 minutes, stirring several times during the first 10 minutes, then frequently during the final 5 minutes to minimize sticking.
Divide porridge among 3 bowls. Drizzle 1 teaspoon of maple syrup over each serving. Sprinkle on 1 tablespoon of the flax seed, if using. Serve immediately.
Makes 3 servings (2½ cups total).
Per serving: 261 calories, 5 g total fat (<1 g saturated fat), 47 g carbohydrate
8 g protein, 3 g dietary fiber, 172 mg sodium.
Something Different is written by Dana Jacobi, author of 12 Best Foods Cookbook and contributor to AICR’s New American Plate Cookbook: Recipes for a Healthy Weight and a Healthy Life.
The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) is the cancer charity that fosters research on the relationship of nutrition, physical activity and weight management to cancer risk, interprets the scientific literature and educates the public about the results. It has contributed more than $96 million for innovative research conducted at universities, hospitals and research centers across the country. AICR has published two landmark reports that interpret the accumulated research in the field, and is committed to a process of continuous review. AICR also provides a wide range of educational programs to help millions of Americans learn to make dietary changes for lower cancer risk. Its award-winning New American Plate program is presented in brochures, seminars and on its website, www.aicr.org. AICR is a member of the World Cancer Research Fund International.
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