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Breakfast...?

From left, steel cut oats, our pick for a quick and easy breakfast, and the stick-to-the-pot regular oats.




It's probably already too late to even think about it, but I put it off -- except for coffee, of course -- because I have no passion for breakfast foods that are supposed to be good for me.



Unlike a colleague who not only eats right but loves things like bananas and oatmeal, I eat those things with all the enthusiasm of someone who swallows morning meds because she knows she has to.



I love the concept of a banana: thick, leathery peel covering squidgy interior. It's portable. You store it/them on the kitchen counter. It's the flavor that puts me off. If bananas tasted like pineapple or peach, I'd be all over them. I've been told some do -- taste like other things, I mean -- and that calls for further investigation.



Meanwhile, give me a terrible-for-you sausage biscuit or a double order of Tots from Sonic. Don't laugh. A renowned foodie once cooked up an omelet using fast-food fries, and the "recipe" appeared on a national magazine's Web site.



But I try to stay away from biscuits and sausage and fried potatoes as much for the fact that they ultimately make me feel funky as for any good-health reasons. Those sausage biscuits taste fabulous but two hours later -- well, you get the idea.



That leaves oatmeal, in a word -- yuk! Until, UNTIL I tried the steel cut stuff. Steel cut is the picture (above, left) that looks like miniature pea gravel. The other -- the little flattened bits -- are the rolled oats of our youth, the stuff you can use as spackling compound, the stuff that sets up in the saucepan and refuses to come off.



I picked up my steel cut (the brand is Bob's Red Mill) at Rouse's, but you can order the oats from this online purveyor, if you like. If you've never tried it/them, do. The most glorious thing, I've found, is that this oatmeal is reheatable. No, it really is. And if, at the start, you stir in even a few tablespoons of chopped dried fruit, the reheated oatmeal is all the tastier. To do that, just scoop out a cup, a half cup if you're not really hungry, from the cooled and refrigerated leftovers, place in a small pan with a bit (perhaps 1/4 cup) of milk or even just water, and reheat ve-e-ery slowly on the stovetop, stirring frequently and watching carefully so it doesn't burn.



It makes no sense, I know, but you can even cook them overnight in a slow cooker, and in the morning, you have hot cereal with lots of soluble fiber, and it really fills you up. Eat a small bowl of this stuff before 8 a.m., and you may not even be hungry at noon. If there's something special you keep in the cupboard/fridge for breakfast, please share it with us by posting a comment. The more the merrier.





Steel Cut Oatmeal


This recipe comes from Alton Brown's "Good Eats" show on the Food Network though I fiddled with it a bit, since I re-e-eally don't like buttermilk.

1 tablespoon butter


1 cup steel cut oats


3 cups boiling water


1 cup whole milk


1/4 cup nonfat evaporated milk


1 tablespoon brown sugar OR dark honey


1/4 teaspoon cinnamon


A handful of currants, golden raisins, chopped dried apricots

In a large saucepot, melt the butter and add the oats. Stir for 2 minutes to toast. Add the boiling water and reduce heat to a simmer. Keep at a low simmer for 25 minutes, without stirring.



Combine the milk and 2 tablespoons evaporated milk with the oatmeal. Stir gently to combine and cook for an additional 10 minutes, stirring in the dried fruit in the last couple of minutes. Spoon into a serving bowl and top with remaining evaporated milk, brown sugar/honey and cinnamon.



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