I’m a newcomer to the whole breakfast thing. Even in childhood, I resisted it like the plague. Your nutella toast held no charm for me. That painfully bad for you but still delicious-looking pop tart? Eww. Some leftover pizza? What about a brownie with some ice cream? Anything? Nothing. I wanted nothing to do with breakfast.
All of this ended the day I got married and my husband included in our foodies’ pre-nup* that I would, in fact, eat a morning meal. I would not call “drinking orange juice and coffee” a meal. I would not pretend to have eaten a meal. I would not take a bite of his meal and call it done. I would actually eat a meal.
Our agreement worked mostly successfully until we moved someplace where there weren’t a dozen bagel shops between my home and office and he, head breakfast maker, deployed to Afghanistan. And while there’s not much of a silver lining there, there is one when it comes to breakfast: I finally discovered what you’ve known all along:
Breakfast is delicious.
In the last few months, I have fallen hard for steel cut oats. Blame pregnancy or the advocacy of friends, but oatmeal has officially changed my view of not just breakfast but of life, on the whole. The world is a beautiful place. It includes oatmeal.
And while we can all recognize that I’m prone to slight exaggeration when discussing foods I love, anyone else who has been bitten by the oatmeal bug can agree with me on this one. Oatmeal is amazing.
I like to make a big batch of steel cut oats and freeze it in individual-sized portions so that, on a less-than-friendly weekday morning, all I have to do is pop my daily dose in the microwave and choose some toppings.
These days, I’m partial to nutella, dried cranberries, and banana, but I’m sure that’s only delicious because I’m pregnant. I frequently toss in blackberries, crushed graham cracker, and brown sugar — sort of like a berry crumble, oatmeal style. Other days, I’ll saute a little chopped apple and cinnamon in butter and have an all-American, oaty apple pie breakfast.
But beyond the obvious, there are so many things you can do with oatmeal. Real Simple hypes a mango and coconut oatmeal that is absolutely delicious (and if you add some nutella to it, it could be the breakfast version of Trader Joe’s obsession-worthy chocolate covered coconut mango bites). Oprah recommends a pumpkin and ricotta cheese variation that is fantastic and could easily be made with sweet potato instead. Serious Eats takes it a step further: “caffeinated oatmeal” made with instant coffee, bacon and cheddar oatmeal (only made better with hot sauce), and even mexican oatmeal, which is basically taco happiness in oatmeal form.
Oatmeal is the perfect breakfast blank-slate. The options are limitless, and no matter what you do, it’s always going to be delicious.
Tell me: Do you have some tricks to jazz up oatmeal or other breakfast foods? What’s your favorite thing to serve for breakfast?
*In which he vowed to not cook fish in the house (I am allergic and don’t want to die) and I swore to eat breakfast every day, so help me God.