Power Oatmeal is a work in progress. It contributes significantly to our daily nutrition, so I continue to adjust it.
We used to enjoy “greenies” every day for breakfast, smoothies packed with greens, nuts, seeds, other veggies, and berries. Sometimes a banana or fruit in season. We enjoyed the greenies a lot, and they provided good nutrition, but one day we decided we wanted something chewier — and because it was cold outside, something warm. I thought maybe oatmeal would work for us.
Neither my husband, Andy, nor I was very enthusiastic about oatmeal, but I was sure I could make it so that we’d enjoy it. I used to make it regularly for my kids when they were small. I started off with steel-cut (Irish) oatmeal and added raisins, butter, brown sugar, some nuts, and a little fruit. That was a hit with them, but sugar and butter have not been part of my household menu for oh…at least twenty-five or thirty years.
Still, I wanted Andy to like it, and he does love his sweets, so I relented and threw some dark chocolate chips into the cooked oatmeal along with the other ingredients. Those other ingredients included raisins, nuts, seeds, and…here’s the first odd thing, extra virgin olive oil. I thought it would add the richness and satisfaction butter used to provide. Also, I always liked how Middle Easterners drizzle olive oil over everything, the added flavor and richness that comes from it. So…olive oil. Topped it all off with some fresh fruit, mostly berries, and there we had it. Version I.
Power Oatmeal Version II
After a few weeks, Andy said he liked the oatmeal and didn’t need the chips — it was sweet enough. Yay! So the chips went away. Next I turned my attention to calcium, which we both need. I tallied up what we get from our daily vitamin and daily diet and found it fell short. I doubled the amount of chia, hemp, and flax seeds and added calcium-rich sesame seeds. But we were still short.
There was one other problem. Andy sometimes has a hard time chewing some of those good greens, and when we quit the greenies (temporarily, but that’s another story), we weren’t getting enough of those into our day. So I had a thought: what if I cooked the greens into the oatmeal? With all the other flavors, I had a feeling it would be just fine. And if I chose my greens well, along with all that great nutrition, there would be a healthy dose of calcium. Collards worked well for that.
The recipe will come in a minute, but here are the Nutrition Facts. I forgot to include the 2 TB extra virgin olive oil (1 TB for each large bowl of oatmeal), so that would add calories and a healthy fat — but these nutrition numbers show that the oatmeal gives us 20+ gm of protein, exactly what we need at each of three meals, a good bit of iron, and enough calcium for us to satisfy our daily requirement.
Power Oatmeal – The Recipe
And now here’s what I make every morning. It’s not for someone on a tight morning schedule — it takes me half an hour to make if I really pump and half an hour to eat. But we’re retired!
It may sound weird. But it’s good and a great nourishing (and filling) breakfast for us seniors! We don’t feel like eating again until 2:30 or so in the afternoon.
- Steel Cut Oats (I use Bob’s Red Mill)
- Raisins, 1/2 cup
- Salt, 1/4 tsp
- Collards, 2 large leaves, finely chopped to make about 1 cup
- Chia, 2 TB
- Hemp, 2 TB
- Flaxseed, 2 TB
- Sesame, 2 TB
- Pears (or peaches or any in-season fruit), 2 cut up
- Strawberries, 1/2 cup cut up
- Blueberries, 1 cup
- Almonds, 24
- Walnut halves, 16
- Extra virgin olive oil, 2 TB
- Put 2 cups water into a pot with a good-sized pinch of salt and the raisins. Bring to a boil.
- While the water is heating, chop the collards and add them to the pot.
- When the water comes back to a boil boil, add 1/2 cup steel-cut oats. Turn heat to simmer, put lid on pot, and cook for ten minutes.
- While the oatmeal, collards, and raisins are cooking, cut up the fruit, chop the nuts, and grind the seeds.
- When the oatmeal is finished cooking (10 minutes simmering after a boil), stir in the ground seeds.
- Empty the oatmeal/collards/raisins and seed mixture into two large bowls.
- Drizzle extra virgin olive oil generously over each dish of oatmeal.
- Add to the oatmeal with pears or peaches or any other in-season fruit — and fresh or frozen berries and blueberries.
- Top each bowl with chopped or ground nuts, depending on how much crunch you want.
- You may need to heat each bowl for a minute or two in the microwave after topping the hot oatmeal with cold and room temperature ingredients.
Now about that 2:30 pm meal…
Back to smoothies. We found that we were light on protein and needed a boost, something we could count on getting every day. I looked around for a vegan protein powder and found a delicious one, Vega Protein and Greens. 20+ grams of protein in each scoop. Perfect! Mixed with one cup each of oat milk, the “shake” gives us another 400 grams of calcium as well. And since I’m always looking for ways to boost our veggie nutrition, I of course started adding a few veggies, turning it into a smoothie — celery, carrot, beet, white cabbage and red cabbage.
This leaves me just one meal a day to think about and do something a little creative, at least until we get underway with our journeys around the country in our van. I decided not to take my Vitamix, so we’ll just enjoy a protein shake without the veggies, frothed with my new hand blender. I’ll need to figure out a delicious way to keep getting those additional veggies each day tho. Not sure that hand blender will do it.