Foodie Firsts: (Delicious) Homemade Stovetop Oatmeal

wooden spoons-001Foodie Firsts is a Move Eat Create weekly feature focusing on my adventures in the world of food.  Over the course of a few short years, I have transformed from a picky, fearful eater to a curious and open-minded foodie.  In a commitment to continue to expand my culinary experiences, I have started Foodie Firsts.  Each week I will commit to trying something new and sharing that experience with you.  My endeavors may include experimenting with cooking techniques I’ve never tried before, testing a single new ingredient, or drawing upon my creativity to combine foods in ways I never imagined.  Whatever it is, I will eat (or maybe drink) it and share it all with you.  You can decide for yourself whether you, too, would like to try.  Let’s be bold and eat good food!

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I am fully prepared for you all to think I’m a bit odd to have never had a proper bowl of stove top oatmeal until now.  Odd or not, it’s true.  Oatmeal was never on my radar even at all until the last year or so when I tested out some instant oatmeal with varying results.  Some were edible, others were atrocious.  Either way, I wasn’t jumping up and down clamoring for more.

apricot walnut honey with spoon - edited

On two or three occasions in the last year, though, I did try ordering oatmeal at restaurants.  These experiences were better and opened my mind up to the idea that oatmeal may not be such a bad thing.  Okay, let me back up, I mostly ordered it when it was called porridge.  Because calling it porridge appealed to the total anglophile in me.

Anyway, there was hope on the horizon for this warm cereal-like concoction to actually be worth trying.  But I still wasn’t ready to invest in making it at home.  A couple of things stood in my way.  First: granola.  A formidable foe for oatmeal, because I LOVE granola.  I could (and often do) eat granola every damn day.  Second, I was totally intimidated.

Given the facts that instant oatmeal was generally awful, restaurant oatmeal was (at best) kind of nice, and I had never seen anyone actually make oatmeal on the stove top before, it seemed like it must be really, really difficult.  I imagined it being super-finicky, needing to keep the heat level just perfect, the amount of liquid measured with ultra-precision, and timing it just magically to prevent mush.  (Sort of like the breakfast version of risotto, which is actually kind of funny because I love making risotto and have never found it difficult at all.)  I just couldn’t figure out how it would be worth it to go through all of that for a bowl of oatmeal when there was granola-a-plenty in my pantry.

cinnamon raisin with pistachios - edited

Then came my gluten-free dietary change.  Now, many gluten-sensitive people can’t eat oats, either, but I don’t seem to be one of them.  As long as I buy gluten-free oats, I seem to be okay and I didn’t react to them when my blood was tested, either.  With many of my go-to food options out the window, I need to learn some new tricks.  This is what prompted me to take on homemade stove top oatmeal.

AND I AM SO GLAD I DID.

Sorry for all that yelling.  I just am really excited about this.

Homemade stove top oatmeal is AMAZING!

Frankly, I don’t really understand why no one has told me about this before.  Are there huge numbers of us out there who don’t realize how delicious and easy this meal is??  Or, do those that know keep it a secret so they never have to worry about having to share??  I’m just so shocked it took me until 32 years of age to discover this one.

NEAR FLOWERS - edited

I have Project Grown-Up to thank for providing me the basic instructional information on how to make this oatmeal.  I used this post here as a guide and proceeded to make oatmeal three times in four days because it was so good – each and every time.  It may come as no surprise to you that I absolutely love how versatile it is.  The flavor combinations are virtually limitless and allow me to suit my every whim.  It’s also quick, totally easy to make, and provides such a warm, comforting, healthful way to start my day (or end it, as I did eat this for dinner one night).

So far, my oatmeal expeditions have led to the following bowls of goodness (all prepared with soy or rice milk):

  • Pumpkin Pie Flavored Oatmeal with Figs & Hazelnuts
  • Apricot, Walnut, Honey Oatmeal
  • Cinnamon Raisin Oatmeal Sprinkled with Pistachios

They have been amazing and I just want to eat oatmeal all the time. All.  The. Time.

As dull as this topic may have seemed before starting it, this might be my favorite Foodie Firsts yet.  Plus, there are so many avenues with which to take this.  I keep seeing recipes for baked oatmeal.  I can only imagine how delicious that will be!

Notes & Final Thoughts:

Serving Suggestions:  While you can certainly go with just a bowl of old fashioned oats or just a bowl of steel cut oats, I have found I like a Bob's Oatsblend of the two.  I use about 2 or 2 ½ parts old fashioned to 1 part steel cut, but I find the little bit of texture variation between the two is quite nice.  Play with contrast in other ways, too.  Top your warm oatmeal with some slices of cool apple.  Cook in some dried fruit to soften it up, but don’t add your nuts until after the oatmeal is done cooking, providing a nice crunch in each bite. Finally, make sure you salt your oatmeal.  This is CRUCIAL to flavor.  CRUCIAL, I say!

Lessons Learned:  This challenge totally taught me to be willing to put aside my pre-conceived notions about common foods.  I THOUGHT I knew what oatmeal was (bland, mushy, sticky) and I was TOTALLY wrong.  It’s good to be humbled sometimes in this way and be willing to allow myself to be wrong in order to discover something wonderful.

30 comments on “Foodie Firsts: (Delicious) Homemade Stovetop Oatmeal

  1. Jessi says:

    Awesome! I’m so happy you found something you love and you’re right, there’s so many ways to mix up the flavor that oatmeal is really one of the least boring breakfasts out there! Thanks for sharing the stovetop method!

  2. EcoGrrl says:

    I couldn’t agree more. I however was raised on oatmeal so have been buying quick oats for eons. I’d recommend against g/f “quick” oats as they microwave into mush, so the steel cut ones stovetop are definitely the great idea. After going g/f 3 months ago I decided to try regular steel cut and found I felt just fine – the major worry I’ve read is that they’re often packaged in a factory that also has gluten products, so it doesn’t mean they actually have gluten in them just that they’re in the same room, so it depends on your sensitivity levels. With that, I’m so happy because Woodlawn Coffee on Dekum makes an amazing steel cut oatmeal with (as of last week) walnuts and bacon and honey, danggggg! 🙂 Also recommend the “belly pleaser” which is a warm jasmine rice (no oats) porridge that is insanely tasty!

    • Oh, the jasmine rice porridge sounds delicious! I’m wanting to experiment with some porridge made from other grains (rice, buckwheat groats, quinoa) at home, too. Maybe I’ll have to go try theirs for inspiration!

  3. EcoGrrl says:

    (oops that last dish mentioned is at the Tin Shed !)

  4. Yumm…I’m usually not a big fan of oatmeal, but that looks delicious!

  5. Samantha says:

    Wow that looks amazing, well done x

  6. Check runnersworld.com as they have many quinoa recipes including some for breakfast. I have made a quinoa “porridge” with apples and cinnamon…very tasty, and a good use of leftover quinoa so you don’t have to precook it first 🙂

  7. Barclay says:

    I agree wholeheartedly with you love of oatmeal. I’ve made it a new staple in my morning routine. Your combinations are intriguing, especially the pistachios and cinnamon flavor. I’d like to share a few of my own tips. I use Coaches Oats from Costco. It’s very hearty and has a great texture and flavor. I sometimes make a big batch and just heat up portions in the morning (though it’s not quite the same…) I also dribble some balsamic vinegar over the top of my bowl. I currently have a nice little bottle of artisanal vinegar that is infused with pear and cinnamon. Delicious!

  8. I have been eating oatmeal for breakfast for years now. I usually make a big batch on the weekend and eat the leftovers throughout the week. I usually add protein powder though because I don’t find it fills me as much without it now. 😦

  9. Julia says:

    Porridge is the ultimate comfort food. Try making it with quinoa flakes – very quick and tastes great with some dried fruit cooked in it, a tbsp. of maple syrup drizzled on top and some almond mild. See here: http://mostlyveganfun.wordpress.com/2013/02/10/quinoa-porridge/

  10. Oatmeal of the NON quick variety is a staple when I’m not going through my raw months and even then I’ll eat raw oat groats soaked in almond milk. In my stovetop oatmeal I usually will smash a banana into it and add raisins and walnuts. So good. It’s great fuel for running too. It stays with you. Good luck tomorrow!! 🙂

  11. After outgrowing Quaker instant, I microwaved rolled oats for a while before switching to stovetop. I can’t believe how much better it is, and it only takes 5 minutes before the liquid is absorbed and they’re done – barely more time than microwaving! I used to cook the oats in milk but now use water. I add ground flax, raisins, walnuts and allspice. I am just a porridge kind of person – kind of like Bert!

  12. Jim Brennan says:

    Wise woman, wise advice

  13. All of those oatmeal combinations sound divine! I haven’t tried making more than quick oats on the stove, but I think it’s about time to try making rolled oats. Thanks for the oatmeal loving inspiration!

  14. colossalgarbage says:

    I’ve wanted to try steel cut oats for quite some time now but I’m always in such a rush in the mornings that I stick to the usual granola cereal with soy milk. I may give it a whirl, though, with my next free weekend. The pictures looked too yummy for me to just toss away the idea of trying! 🙂

  15. […] Foodie Firsts: (Delicious) Homemade Stovetop Oatmeal (moveeatcreate.com) […]

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