I like the idea of oatmeal for breakfast, especially on cool cloudy mornings, but I don’t think I have ever experienced its so-called “stick-to-your-ribs” qualities. It’s still a big bowl of carbohydrates, and I am hungry again after about 2 hours, no matter how big a bowl I have. But since the weather is starting to feel more and more like autumn, and oats are lactogenic, I have been experimenting with ways to increase the fat and protein content of my bowl of oatmeal so that it has more staying power.
The fruits of my efforts yielded an oatmeal cross-bred with warm velvety pudding, also known as The Creamiest Oatmeal in the World. The milk, egg, and peanut butter add richness from fat and protein also, making this oatmeal far more filling than the standard variety, and a touch of maple syrup adds just the right hint of sweetness. I’ve been eating mine topped with a sprinkle of cinnamon and a dollop of homemade unsweetened pear- or applesauce, but this recipe has infinite variable possibilities. Sub barley or quinoa flakes for oats, coconut milk for dairy milk, almond butter or chocolate hazelnut spread for the peanut butter; spice it up with any flavors you like; top with fruit, nuts, cacao nibs, seeds, or even whipped cream. Serve it hot or cold, for breakfast or dessert!
Peanut Butter Oatmeal Custard
¾ C oats, preferably soaked overnight
1 C whole milk
¼ C peanut butter (or other nut butter)
2 T maple syrup or honey (optional)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Whisk together milk, egg and peanut butter in saucepan and heat over medium until just starting to thicken, then stir in oats and seasonings, continue stirring until very thick and creamy. Top with applesauce, sliced bananas or other fruit, nuts, seeds or cacao nibs. Makes 2 small or 1 large serving.
I have also been playing around with oatmeal substitutes to lower my total carbohydrate load for the day. So far, the most successful hot cereal I’ve made also had a custard base, this time involving bananas. My husband enjoyed this one too. Call it no-oatmeal, or nutmeal, or whatever you like–I call it a filling breakfast!
Hot Nutmeal Cereal
You can omit the banana if desired, try any nuts or spices you like, or substitute finely grated unsweetened coconut for one type of the ground-up nuts. To stick with this recipe’s paleo roots, use non-dairy milk and almond butter, and consider omitting the maple syrup.
1/4 C whole milk (or nondairy milk)
1 ripe banana, well mashed
1 T nut butter (almond or peanut work nicely!)
2 T freshly ground flaxseed
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp each ground ginger and cloves
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 handful each of 2-3 kinds of nuts, finely chopped (I’ve used walnuts and pecans, but feel free to experiment)
1-2 T maple syrup, optional
In a medium saucepan, whisk together the milk, eggs, banana, and nut butter; turn on the burner to medium heat and stir frequently until starting to thicken. Stir in the flaxseed, spices, nuts, and maple syrup, and continue cooking until it reaches the consistency of oatmeal. Top with anything you like: applesauce, molasses, cranberry relish, fresh berries, cacao nibs, coconut oil, yogurt, more nuts!
Source: Slightly adapted from Mark’s Daily Apple.
Update 9/13/14: Since this post, Jeremy has decided that he isn’t a fan of these custard-based oatmeals. We are having a cold snap and it sounded good to me for breakfast, so I made him regular oatmeal with water to flavor as he liked, and myself a big pot of Mexican chocolate oatmeal custard: Egg and milk custard base; flavored with almond butter, cocoa powder, carob powder, honey and a bit of sucanat, vanilla and cinnamon; and fortified with chia seeds, grassfed gelatin and cultured ghee. As soon as he saw the pot of chocolate oatmeal, he said, “Well, I didn’t know that was an option,” and ate a big bowl (and came back for more), admiring how much more filling this was than plain oatmeal while still complaining about the texture of “that oatmeal with eggs in it” that he didn’t know he was eating. LOL. Needless to say, this variant was delicious both hot and cold, plain or topped with walnuts and toasted coconut flakes.