The Inspiration of Good Old-Fashioned Oatmeal

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I have enjoyed writing my blog and sharing my family with you. Throughout this year of blogging and writing, I have come to love talking to people about meal planning and healthy eating.  People ask me how I manage to cook for my family every night while working full time.  Honestly, I just love grocery shopping, cooking and talking to people about food.  In the past week, I have given multiple people advice on meal planning and grocery shopping.  They like my advice and I love giving it.  Best of all, I received a call from one of my closest friends to tell me about her triumph at breakfast.

She made the commitment to stop serving sugary, processed foods to her kids for breakfast.  This is a big commitment because she has four kids.  Starting this past Monday she decided to serve her kids old-fashioned oatmeal for breakfast and served it everyday.  Her nine-year old daughter was not on board at first.  In fact, the first day she wouldn’t touch the oatmeal.  It didn’t stop my friend, she kept making oatmeal.  She added apples one day and ripe bananas the next.  She even had a ripe persimmon and mixed it right in the oatmeal on Wednesday.  I was impressed, I would not have thought to add persimmon to oatmeal but I will now.  To make a long journey short, she called to tell me that her kids are now asking for oatmeal in the mornings.  She was so excited and she knew I would be just as thrilled as she was.  While the health of her children inspired her to make the change, I influenced her to just do it.  Not only has she committed to serving them a healthy breakfast, she says that now everyone eats breakfast together in the mornings because the oatmeal has to been eaten when it is hot.  They can no longer come down whenever they are ready and toast a Pop-Tart or pour a bowl of cereal.  I am so proud of her for doing making the effort and I am also inspired by her.

I have decided to commit this blog and my time to inspiring people to provide healthy meals for their families.  In the coming year, my blog will include tips on meal planning, grocery shopping, and finding time to eat family meals.  If any of you want to try oatmeal for inspiration, I have included my original recipe.  She told me that the best thing about making oatmeal was that the time it took to make one pot of oatmeal was less than the time it took to open and heat individual oatmeal packets.

Don’t worry, you will still hear about Zoe.  She is my ultimate inspiration after all.

Old-Fashioned Oatmeal
2 cups 1% milk
2 teaspoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar or to taste
1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon
dash of salt
1 cup old-fashioned oatmeal
1 1/2 tablespoons flaxseed meal

Combine all of the ingredients in a pot and place pot on stove over medium-high heat. Adding the oatmeal to the milk before the milk simmers is another tip to add creaminess. Bring to a simmer and lower heat. Cook for 5 minutes or until it reaches a creamy consistency, stirring frequently. Serve immediately. When using flaxseed be careful not to over cook the oatmeal or it will become gummy.

I like to top oatmeal with walnuts, raisins and dried cranberries. I typically serve oatmeal with orange slices on the side because it gives a refreshing bite of acidity to contrast the creaminess of the oatmeal.

Variations:

Maple Syrup: If you would like to use maple syrup, omit the brown sugar and slowly blend in 2 tablespoons of maple sugar after cooking the oatmeal.

Apple-Cinnamon Oatmeal: Melt 1 tablespoon butter with 2 tablespoons brown sugar in the pot. When the butter starts to foam, add 1/2 of a large chopped apple, I use any apple variety I have on hand. Cook until apples are softened and start to caramelize. Slowly add the milk and stir until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients increasing cinnamon to 1/2 teaspoon and cook as directed. You could go crazy and caramelize chopped walnuts with the apples, yummy!

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