Practical, healthful eating and living.

Mix-ins for Oatmeal November 29, 2013

People tend to think oatmeal is a lot of trouble, but it can be made in big batches. Simply store your cooked oatmeal in the fridge and in the morning, scoop a serving into a bowl, top with milk, and heat it in the microwave.

Screen shot 2013-11-23 at 8.14.01 PMEven better, you can add your favorite toppings on the day you make the big batch, thus saving even more time in the morning. I prefer steel-cut oatmeal.

Here are some of my favorite mix-ins:

  • Cocoa nibs
  • Banana slices
  • Dehydrated strawberries (from Trader Joe’s)
  • Brown sugar
  • Honey
  • Ground flax seed
  • Grated or chopped fresh apple
  • Fresh or frozen blueberries, raspberries or blackberries. If you add them while the oatmeal is still hot, they’ll steam and cook a little, which helps them last longer.
  • Chopped dried apricots, blueberries or any dried fruit
  • Walnuts, pecans, ground almonds. Sometimes I even use pistachios!

How to make a batch of steel-cut oatmeal:

1 cup steel-cut oats

2 1/2 cups of water

dash of salt

I like to rinse my oatmeal before cooking it. I’m a gluten-free person, and this way any dust from other grains gets washed away. (Note, I am VERY diligent about the rinsing. I put the dry cup of oats in a deep bowl, cover with cold water and swish it around, then slowly pour the water out. The oats are heavy enough so that they don’t fall out of the bowl if you empty the water out gently. I repeat this about 20 times in order to feel confident that any gluten contaminants have been washed away. If you’re not concerned about gluten, maybe rinse the oats 2-3 times just to wash away dust.)

Put the oats, water and dash of salt into a heavy pot. Cover and bring to a boil. Once the water boils, turn down the heat and simmer for about 40-60 minutes. Sometimes I just turn off the heat after about 20 minutes, keep the pot covered, and let the pot sit until all the water has been absorbed.

Option 2: Use a rice cooker! So easy and the clean-up is easier, too. (Follow your rice cooker’s instructions.)


Marvelous Meusli June 13, 2010

Some days, a girl needs to bypass the stove, bypass the cutting board, the microwave, you name it.  Some days, a girl needs instant gratification.  A bowl, cold milk, and the crunchy/sweet satisfaction of cereal.  But the truth is, I abandoned brand cereal years ago.  It was too expensive, too sugary, and the ingredients were too hard to pronounce.

It took trial and error, but I’ve finally rested upon a combination that cuts out wheat and barley (known sources of gluten*) without giving up traditional meusli attributes.

The beauty of this is that the dried fruit and nuts may be switched out as you like.   I started with a Trader Joe’s combination of dried mango, blueberries and cranberries.    For the next batch, there was naught but dried cranberries on hand.  Both were delicious!


2 cups of thin-rolled oats (slightly lighter and more thinly cut than regular rolled oats.)

1 cup oat bran

3/4 cup raw sunflower seeds

1/2 roasted slivered almonds

1 cup dried berries, raisins, or other dried fruit

Serve with milk, honey, a sprinkle of cinnamon, fresh berries or bananas, or sprinkle over yogurt.  Store in an airtight container.

*I realize that oats don’t always pass as gluten free.  Please double check with your gluten-free eaters to find out if they can tolerate oats.  Some say it depends on whether the oats were processed in a gluten-free facility.  (Oats are often processed in facilities that also process wheat, which can lead to being contaminated with gluten.)


Summer Breakfast May 29, 2009

Filed under: Easy food prep,Energy — beansandyoga @ 1:51 pm
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meusli 5 29 09This time of year, I switch from hot, steel-cut oatmeal to meusli.  What is meusli?  It’s similar to granola, only not baked in oil the way granola is.  Pronounced, MEW zlee, it’s a combination of oats, nuts, and dried fruit.

I love it in the morning with milk and honey.  Sometimes, I’ll slice a banana for it, or add fresh raspberries or blueberries.  It’s also handy as a yogurt topping.

I used to get it in the bulk food section of my grocery store.  Recently, I’ve started mixing my own.  It’s so simple!


3 cups oats

1 cup raw or roasted nuts (any or all: almonds, walnuts, pecans, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds)

1 cup raisins

1 cup chopped dates

Optional: Flax seeds, dried apples, dried cranberries or any other dried fruit.

Store in an airtight container.  It will keep for 8-12 weeks.


Re-Fried Beans for Breakfast December 8, 2008

Filed under: Easy food prep,Recipes,Uncategorized — beansandyoga @ 6:53 pm
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Since February 2008, my favorite breakfast has been re-fried beans with rice, salsa and sour cream.  Sometimes I melt a little Colby-Jack cheese on top.

Why I love it:

  • It tastes good!
  • It’s high energy; for the first time, instead of having to eat again within an hour or two, I can go maybe two or three hours.
  • It’s easy!  I make a big batch over the weekend, then freeze it in small containers.
  • A 3-cup/24 ounce container lasts for up to a week in the fridge.  I scoop out as much as I like, throw it in the microwave over cooked rice, add salsa, sour cream and go.


  • Make a big batch of rice, too.
  • Rice freezes well.
  • Store the cooked rice in a separate container from the re-fried beans.
  • I use brown rice.
  • Experiment!  Add fresh tomato or avocado, or try a new salsa blend.


2 cups dry pinto beans, soaked overnight

2-3 tablespoons olive oil

2 cups minced onion

5-6 cloves of garlic, minced

2 teaspoons cumin

1.5 teaspoons salt

black pepper

Optional: minced bell pepper, minced ham or bacon

  1. Cook the pre-soaked beans in plenty of boiling water until very soft.  Reserve 1/4 to 1/2 cup of the water.  Drain and set aside.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet.  Add onion, garlic, cumin and salt.  Saute for about 10 minutes or until the onions are soft.  Add the optional bell pepper, minced ham or bacon.  Saute for another 5 minutes and add the pepper.
  3. Turn the heat to low and add the beans and the 1/4 to 1/2 cup of cooking water.  Mix well.  Mash with a fork or a potato masher and cook for a few minutes more.

Serve over warm rice or with a warm tortilla with salsa and sour cream.

Adapted from the Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen