Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Wholesome and Healthy Breakfast

Note: Blogger refuses to behave! My headings and type sizes are all mixed up no matter what I do in the "editing" mode. I'm switching to WordPress, but please bear with the zany look of this blog until I finish the transition. THANKS!

"I was talking to Carol, Steph and Rachael--a few ladies from my church--the other night and found real interest in my method of preparing oatmeal for my family. Steph was way ahead of me as far as eating organic locally grown food is concerned, and it was fun to compare notes and learn about new resources.   But I promised to share my oatmeal recipe. (I like to post about health, books, writing, and Christian living, so this fits nicely into the "Health" category.)  

 Wholesome (Fermented) Oatmeal

Why Fermented?  Grains have anti-nutrients and phytic acid in them, which means they aggravate the digestive tract. Fermentation removes the phytates, making it much more friendly to your system, and healthier overall.

According to the dictionary, a phy·tate is a salt or ester of phytic acid, occurring in plants, especially cereal grains, capable of forming insoluble complexes with calcium, zinc, iron, and other nutrients and interfering with their absorption by the body.

Quick Background Note: Two years ago, I was prescribed a medication I had to take nightly, due to increasingly irritating heartburn. Well, I don't like taking medications. At all.

I'd ignored the problem until that prescription. After filling it I started researching what had gone wrong, and why.

Long story short, I changed my diet—cut out most grains, and stopped using that medication so long ago I don’t even remember what it was.   And I no longer suffer from heartburn! (Not to mention, I'm more than 27 pounds lighter!)

Perhaps having heartburn wouldn't be enough of a motivating factor for you to change your diet. If not, there are lots of other really valid reasons for eating the way I do, which is with an emphasis on fresh, real food and AWAY from processed, chemical –laden food. But, in a nutshell:

 It's Not Rocket Science
You don't have to understand the science behind it, to get that eating fresh food is better for you, or that grains have inherent properties (anti-nutrients) that fermentation can remove.
And because there are some awesome blogs out there which do explain the science, I'm not going to re-invent the wheel here. ***

Check out the blogs I list at the end to learn more, but for now I'll just share this wonderful recipe that has transformed breakfast in my home. (Which I owe to my awesome sister, Christine. She stayed with us in January and taught me how to ferment oatmeal. We love you forever, Chris!) 

I make this all the time, now-- Every two days, to be exact. (I'll share more on that in a moment.)  Simply switching your add-ins can change the flavor and texture so much that it's never boring.

 Wholesome (Fermented) Oatmeal

The formula is quite simple: 1 cup warm water and 2 Tablespoons yogurt to each cup of rolled oats.
Here's the way I do it:
2 cups regular rolled oats (not instant)
Organic, whole-milk, cultured yogurt (4 tablespoons)

2 cups warm water

Take a mixing bowl and put in the warm water. Add the yogurt and stir. (I don't even use a real Tablespoon measure. It doesn't have to be exact. Just don't skimp.)
Now add the oats and stir until blended.
Cover loosely with a dish towel or other cloth and set somewhere quiet to ferment over night. I put my bowl on top of my refrigerator. 

This is what it looks like while it's fermenting: 

  In the morning, the oatmeal is ready to be cooked and eaten. It only takes five minutes! 
  Put one cup of water for each cup of oatmeal you prepared, in a stovetop pot.
  Since I made two cups for our recipe, put two cups water in the pot.
 Add salt to taste, stir in the fermented oat mixture and bring to a boil, stirring often, if not constantly.
AS SOON as it boils, turn the heat to low, and cook, stirring for another minute or two. That's it!
It should already be nice and thick, and will thicken even more as it sits. 
  I leave the prepared oatmeal on a "warming" spot on my oven, and the kids helps themselves as they're ready to eat.
Note: Always use butter or some other fat source when you eat this. It makes all the good nutrients in oatmeal bioavailable.  

Toppings: (In addition to butter)

Any fresh fruit
Raisins, or dried cranberries

Stevia and cinnamon
Low-sugar jam
Apple butter
Maple syrup (just go lightly with this) 

Sometimes I pop the fruit in right after the oatmeal is ready but still on the stove.  

I happen to love this stuff with just salt and butter, but the kids like it a bit sweeter.

Now, here's the best thing about this recipe:
Any leftover oatmeal can be used the next day to make oatmeal pancakes. This is why I only make it every other day—I reuse what's left for the second day's breakfast. 

I've made up to four cups of it at a time just to have more leftover for the following day.

After everyone's eaten all they want of the oatmeal, and it's cooled down, cover the pot and stick it just as it in the fridge.

The next morning it will be pretty solid, but don’t let that put you off. Take a few eggs and break them directly into the pot.

Depending on how much oatmeal you have left, you'll use anywhere from two to five eggs.

Here's what one batch of my oatmeal looked like on the 2nd day after I added eggs and strawberries.

  Once you add the eggs, use the end of a whisk to break up the lumps and blend the mixture. You will NOT get out all the lumps and that is fine.

Now, take a frying pan, add a little coconut oil or butter and use the batter for pancakes. 

  Strawberry-Oatmeal Pancakes.

They break up easily so you have to be careful when flipping them over, and when removing them from the frying pan. I "slide" them out onto a plate I keep on the "warming" spot of the stove.

Even my husband, who doesn't like the oatmeal, loves the pancakes. By using different fruit and varying thetoppings and even how many eggs I add to the batter, the pancakes are just different enough each time we eat them to never be boring!  

           Pancakes with less fruit, more egg.

Gone are the days of buying over-sweetened, GMO cereals!
Happy Breakfast!

 ***For a quick primer in Paleo eating, see the Wellness Mama. This is a Christian lady who supplies lots of great recipes and ideas for going natural in life. She even has a wonderful post about how bread can be bad for you, even though Jesus described Himself as the bread of life.
Another useful blog is Mark's Daily Apple. He's woeful when it comes to accepting the myth of macro-evolution, but he nevertheless has great recipes and useful information regarding the pitfalls of the common American diet.

  Do you have a favorite healthy breakfast? Share it with us! 

  Warmest Blessings,



Diane Archibald said...

This looks delicious, Linore. My husband and I love pancakes and oatmeal, but not the heartburn that accompanies it. I'm going to try this. Thanks! And....I think it's time for me to embrace the Paleo diet. Any tips to get started would be gratefully received.

Linore Burkard said...

Diane, I'll do a post about getting started, since you asked. (I'm sure there are many who would like some tips.) These pancakes are heavy and denser than the non-nutritious fluffy kind, but to me, they're comfort food without the guilt or bad consequences! Thanks for stopping by. :). I'm sure you'll never be sorry once you make the switch to Paleo eating.

chaplaindebbie said...

I'm not too crazy about oatmeal, but those pancakes look delicious!

Linore Burkard said...

This oatmeal is not like the instant variety--much thicker and richer. You might like it, Deb!