Oatmeal 101

Is oatmeal foreign to you? Are you confused by some of the lingo or instructions I use in my posts? Check these FAQ to learn a little bit about all the quirks I've developed in the kitchen!

What's the difference between steel cut and...?
Oats come in many forms. Here's a rundown of all the oats I use on this blog:

  • Rolled/Old-Fashioned: These are the "standard" that most people use to make oatmeal, at least in the United States. They take approximately 5-8 minutes to cook, and they create a pleasant texture that's more flakey than instant oats but less chewy than steel-cut.
  • Quick: Quick oats have been ground more than old-fashioned oats, so they cook in about 1-2 minutes. They differ slightly from "instant" oats, which comes in packets and is practically a powder. However, sometimes the terms are used interchangeably. I like using quick oats to make oat bran for my oatcakes and my oat muffins.
  • Steel-Cut: These differ drastically from quick and rolled oats because they don't appear as flakes. They look like little pinheads and take approximately 20 minutes to prepare. Despite their chunky appearance, after simmering for nearly half an hour, they take on a surprisingly creamy--yet chewy--texture.
  • Quick Cook Steel-Cut: These are a new favorite of mine! They look similar to steel-cut but have been ground down a little more, just enough so that it has a similar "chew" to steel-cut oats, but it cooks in only 5 minutes. I worship this cut of oats because it makes some incredibly creamy porridge!


Flax and Chia?
I always mark this as optional in my recipes, and I imagine most people take me up on the offer to forego it. Flax has a wonderful nutty taste that is especially wonderful in porridge with cinnamon and other earthy flavors (e.g. Apple Cinnamon). I use milled flax, flax seeds, or a mixture of the two! Chia seeds are insanely nutritious and help oatmeal gel together, so it's really great for overnight oatmeal or recipes that aren't naturally creamy. Sometimes, I use chia seeds instead of flax. However, flax is about 10,000 times cheaper than chia, so I generally stick to flax. :)

Half Almond Milk, Half Water?
I once saw a European comment on a food blog once about how strange Americans are for cooking their oats in water. She viewed this as evidence of our self-hatred. This made me laugh (and think), but here's the thing: almond milk is expensive! By mixing it with half water, I can essentially double my supply. Plus, almond milk (and most nondairy milks) is pretty thick, so watering it down isn't a problem. Feel free to just use more milk whenever I list water in the recipe.

1/2 an Apple/Banana/Whatever?
Whenever I write to use half a fruit, I always imagine people reading it and thinking, "WTF?! What do I do with the other half??" Well, if you haven't learned by now, I'm really cheap. Because I've committed to more expensive higher quality food, I've had to save money in other ways--watering down my almond milk, buying overripe bananas in bulk, and only using half a fruit at a time. For bananas, I slice up the remainder and add it to a bag in the freezer, which I use later to make banana soft serve. For apples and grapefruit, I store the other half in a Glad container in the fridge. The next morning, I have another half an apple waiting for me! You might be thinking, "But apples brown when you cut them!!" Relax. They work great for oatmeal. You're just cooking them again, anyway! And they don't actually brown that much, in my experience.

Not convinced? Go ahead and use the full fruit. :)

"Add Another Splash of Milk?"
Splashing some milk over your finished oatmeal serves three purposes: it cools it down so you can eat it without burning yourself, adds one more source of creaminess and milky flavor, and moistens it up again, especially if you accidentally overcooked your oats. From an aesthetic perspective, it also makes your breakfast look more appealing. :) So don't skip the splash!



No sugar?
Sugar is for ninnies. I "quit" instant flavored oatmeal because of the sugar content (and artificial flavors), so white, refined sugar is one thing I never add to my porridge. Occasionally, I'll add maple syrup, but that's more for its flavor than its sweetness. If you're not hardcore like me, feel free to add some sugar, but please, for the love of Michael Buble, do not use Splenda on any of my recipes--nothing would offend me more!

How do I make more than a single serving?
For most stove-top recipes, this simply requires you to double/triple/quadruple/etc. everything. Baked recipes are a little more complicated. Start with an 8x8 pan, multiply everything by 4, but don't add all the liquid at once. Add it little by little until it reaches the right consistency. Increase the baking time to 25-30 minutes.

Your bakeware?
I have two white ramekins and one red one. The white ones are both single-serving, but one is 8 oz. and the other is 6 oz. My red ramekin is the Le Creuset brand, and I highly recommend it simply because it's FREAKIN' GORGEOUS. It's called a "Petite Casserole" dish and it's wonderful. :)



When baking multiple servings of oatmeal, I use an embarrassingly cheap and standard 8x8 brownie pan. I bought it from ShopRite the day after I moved to New Jersey so I would have something to bake my Peanut Butter and Banana Baked Oatmeal. It hasn't done me wrong yet!

Any other bakeware you've seen are typically dishes I borrowed from other people. For example, many of my mom's ramekins have featured in photos I've taken at her house.

64 comments:

  1. Hi Lauren! I love oatmeal and love the great ideas/recipes for it on your blog. I don't have a blog, so my ideas aren't able to be shared, but I have a few recipes I think you might like. Maybe you can do a post including them?
    -Jello Oats (Any flavor of uncooked jello)
    -Red Velvet Oats (Vanilla extract, red food coloring or red fruit for color, and yogurt as the "icing"-don't worry, they make dairy free yogurt!)
    -Pudding Oats (Any flavor uncooked pudding powder)
    -Cheesy Oats (Sounds good, but I guess it's not vegan)
    -Melon Oats (Overnight oats with honeydew, cantaloupe, and watermelon)
    -Pancake Oats (With syrup and maybe "butter extract/flavoring")
    -Snickerdoodle Oats (Topped with cinnamon and sugar)
    -Cookie Dough Oats (Vanilla and chocolate chips)
    -Birthday Cake Oats (Funfetti Cake mix, vanilla, sprinkles)
    -Fruit On the Bottom Baked oatmeal
    -Candy Bar Oats (Chocolate chips, caramel, nuts, puffed cereal,peanut butter, etc.)
    -Rum Cake Oatmeal (Rum Extract)
    -Butterscotch Oats
    I love your photography and would love it if you could consider these! Thanks :)

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    1. Woah!! Great list!

      Several of your ideas are actually on my rainbow, like melon, rum cake, and butterscotch oatmeal. And you know what? JUST yesterday I thought of "fruit on the bottom" baked oatmeal. Great minds think alike? :)

      Thanks for commenting!

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    2. This article is very interesting and quality, and I Obat Bius really like mebacanya
      thank you for the amazing article and share tasty read

      Delete
  2. Hi Lauren....greetings from the uk...stumbled upon your lovely site when i googled porridge oats and frozen blueberries (yes i am guilty of having a small stash of both and don't know what to do with them!)...I am sooooooooooo thrilled to have found your blog...Like you I am vegetarian too (i don't even eat eggs though i do use other dairy like milk, cheese, yoghurt,etc), so i was astounded with the amount you can do with oats...didn't know it was possible:-)I have recently put on alot of weight post baby, and reading your about me section was truly motivational...i haven't tried any of your recipes yet (just found your site 1/2 hr ago!), but i can assure you that i will be a regular visitor on your blog and hopefully be on the way to a healthier lifestyle too...keep the recipes coming and many thanks for making such a wonderful blog!:-)

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    1. This was such an uplifting comment after my long day at work... Thank you so much! I hope you try and enjoy some recipes soon!

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  3. Thank you for all the fabulous recipes! I am looking forward to trying baked oatmeal and was wondering what size of ramekin dish you use? (I have checked Amazon.co.uk and ebay and the individual dishes range in size from 6 to 10 cm in diameter.)

    Thanks again ;-)

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    1. Thanks for the comment! Mine is pretty tiny--probably 6 centimeters. However, I have also used one that's about 8 cm, and it works nicely, too.

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  4. Hi Lauren,

    I'm really enjoying your baked oatmeal recipes, as are my 2 year old son and previously oatmeal-averse husband. Not sure if you've covered this anywhere else on the site, but can you provide a basic conversion from single serving to 8X8 pan? I used the increased amounts you recommended on the peanut butter cookie baked oatmeal and it came out wonderfully.

    Jen

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  5. I literally just multiply every ingredient by 4. :) Depending on the recipe, you need slightly less liquid, though. Error on the low side, and add a little at a time if it's too dry.

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    1. Thanks, I will try that :)

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  6. Hi :) is it necessary to use vanilla extract? Or could you prepare oatmeal without it?
    Delicious recipes! :*

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    1. I omit it sometimes (when I'm feeling lazy). It adds a subtle yet delicious taste. It's usually not necessary, especially if you're using a flavorful fruit or something.

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  7. Hi! Ever since I discovered your blog I have been eating oatmeal almost every single day for breakfast. I never used to like oatmeal because I only knew the Quaker packaged stuff (which doesn't even compare to your recipes, I might add). I was wondering, a lot of people think that you should have variety in your meals. If I'm having oatmeal with different fruits/toppings every day, do you think the repetition is bad or is that enough variety? Thank you!!

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    1. You and I have a lot in common! ;)

      That's a question I've asked myself. First of all, I would only be concerned if you were eating oatmeal for all three meals of your day. :) The fact that you are incorporating different toppings and mix-ins will definitely give you enough variety. Also, use some ingredients like chocolate chips and other treats sparingly. No worries--just enjoy! :)

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  8. Hi Lauren,
    I will be in NYC this weekend for a conference and was wondering if you would like to grab lunch on Saturday. I am a grad student living in Boston, and as a big lover of oatmeal, I am obviously a huge fan of your blog ☺ Feel free to contact me if you’re up for it!
    Kelly
    http://kellyshealthykitchen.wordpress.com/

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  9. Don't laugh too hard at me, but I am a college student and I do not have a stove in my dorm. Are these recipes still good in the microwave?? How long should I cook the oatmeal in the microwave? Your blog has inspired to try out some oatmeal recipes of my own and possibly feature them on my blog, breakfastattifanis.blogspot.com !

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    1. Of course! However, I highly recommend using "quick-cooking" or "instant" oats (the ones that come together in 1-2 minutes. Whenever I try to cook rolled oats in the microwave, the porridge just overflows and makes a mess all over the turntable. When you buy the canister of oats, it should give you directions for both the stove and the microwave. I would heat up the oatmeal first, and then stir in any of the mix-ins at the very end. The recipes will have a slightly different result, but it should still be enjoyable!

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  10. Have you tried any of your recipes with quinoa? They sound super yummy, but oats are a no-no for my IBS. :(

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    1. Whaaaaat? Haha, I started eating oats BECAUSE of my IBS! That doesn't make sense to me. Oats are supposed to be really great for people with IBS because of the soluble fiber.

      Anyway, yes, I use quinoa sometimes! You'll just have to adjust the proportions (a serving of quinoa is 1/4 cup instead of 1/2 cup) and cooking time.

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    2. Thanks! I halved the recipes, popped the batter into muffin tins, and baked for about 15 minutes. Worked beautifully, although it was moister than I expected.

      (Admittedly, I'm not sure if it's my IBS that objects to oats, but it's definitely something intestinal, so best to avoid them.)

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  11. Lauren!!! I just discovered your site today-- congrats on being my new hero!!! And I thought I was an oat lover... Then I read the parts in the FAQ about no sugar/splenda, and I could not agree more. What creative ideas you have! Thanks for being a dedicated fellow oat-er :)

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  12. I LOVE me some oatmeal and was ecstatic to find your blog. An entire blog dedicated to various kinds of oatmeal? I'm sort of in heaven!

    But...don't hate me. I use Splenda. :-)

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  13. LOVE your website!!! Gives me so many ideas and keeps my oatmeal from getting boring! :)

    One question...What kind of Almond Milk do you use? Is it regular or unsweetened?

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  14. I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE all your recipes! Over this past summer I have really got into oatmeal (mainly because I found your amazing blog!) and eat it almost everyday for breakfast. Lately with my busy schedule and with school starting I have been doing lots of overnight oatmeal. I am still in highschool and having lots of time in the morning doesn't happen too often... I was wondering if you would consider experimenting with more kinds and variations of overnight oatmeal to share... I sometimes get creative and will experiment with new kinds and ingredients but am never super successful... Thanks!

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  15. Hello Lauren,

    I have a quick question about your recipes. Going through them, I've noticed you usually mention reducing the heat to medium once the milk begins to boil but I've always had an issue with heating the milk. Usually it's that when the heat is above medium, the milk begins to scorch on the bottom before it boils so I was wondering how would you suggest going around that.

    Or how do you prepare your milk/water before you put in the oats?

    Thank you and I love your blog!

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    1. I assume you're using cow's milk, as I do not have this issue with almond milk. I believe cow's milk scorches much more easily. Feel free to set the heat on medium right away!

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  16. When it comes to coconut milk, do you use regular or unsweetened?

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    1. Typically regular! The unsweetened doesn't offer much flavor, in my opinion.

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  17. I totally agree with not using splenda! ICK. Have you tried using date syrup though? Mine is made from 100% dates and so it saves me the trouble of cutting them up. And I confess, OCCASIONALLY I do use stevia, if I'm making oatmeal for someone with a sweet tooth :x

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  18. Great blog! Do you have a post about how to cook a weeks worth of oatmeal and store it? Thanks.

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  19. Dear Oatmeal Artist,

    I just had a bowl of your Morning Glory Oatmeal, made it with steel cut oats. Now I don't need that Morning Glory Muffin that makes me feel so good yet so bad (if you know what I mean). I was wondering if you could work on a Cinnamon Roll Oatmeal? Your recipes are so easy to follow and I don't need to buy any expensive or unique ingredients. Thank you for that!

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    1. Cinnamon Roll sounds lovely, but I'll have to think hard to find a "healthy" alternative to the traditional icing. :)

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  20. Thanks for all the amazing recipes!!! I have love oatmeal so much and have so many ideas, i decided to make my own oatmeal blog thing! Please check out realoatmeal.com!!! Thank you for inspiring me!

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  21. i just found your blog and im super excited to try....ALL of these recipes. just one question though, what size mason jar do you use for the overnight oatmeals?

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    1. I use all different sizes, actually. I don't know specific size numbers, but I can tell you that my jars are emptied Bonne Maman jam jars and Smuckers natural peanut butter jars.

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  22. So happy happy joy joy to discover this site!!!

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  23. Hi! I just discovered your site about a week ago and I am in heaven!! Thank you so much! As I was looking through the different types of oatmeal recipes, I noticed there isn't much with ginger. I didn't find one with fresh ginger.. would that not be a good combination? I have a dying itch to try a ginger oatmeal, but whenever I try to create something on my own it usually ends up terrible! SO I was wondering if you had a suggestions??

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    1. Ginger is excellent in oatmeal...but I'm not a BIG ginger fan. ;) Ginger pairs well with plums, apples, pears, grapefruit (seriously!), and kiwi, among others.

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  24. Hey Lauren!
    I have a lot of great oatmeal recipes on my blog (egginon.com) and I'd love to be one of your features! Let me know.
    Thanks,
    Haley

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  25. The amount of oatmeal knowledge on this page is extensive.

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  26. information This article is very practical and easy to understand

    thanks for the share of good writing and greetings Obat Aborsi

    ReplyDelete
  27. salam kenal gan sukses selalu


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    ReplyDelete

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