Flavors & VariationsThose first couple years I think I pretty much only ate oatmeal with chopped almonds, a couple tablespoons of brown sugar, and milk on top. That was great until I started watching what I ate and realized how many calories that was, I think it was 500+ calories.
Oatmeal is a great choice, so I decided to investigate how to make it healthier and better for me. I started experimenting with wheat bran, wheat germ, oat bran, flax seed meal, hemp seeds, quinoa, barley, steel-cut oats, and other things to mix in for flavor, health, and variety. I also experiment with various flavors. I've made carrot cake oatmeal, cranberry (dried and fresh), chocolate, gingerbread, peanut butter, banana, cinnamon-raisin, peach, apple cinnamon, prunes, strawberry, grapefruit, etc.
Another variation is baked oatmeal, you take the same basic concept and mix in some eggs and whatever else, and bake it in the oven. I like it thick like a cake, I cut it into squares. I make this ahead of time and then reheat pieces for breakfast.
I've read that soaking oats makes them more digestable, so most of the time I start my oats the night before. It doesn't really take any more time (probably actually less overall), but you do have to plan ahead. They soak up more water when you make them ahead of time, which is good because I find that I need a large volume of food to feel satisfied. I also will make a big batch in a large casserole dish and then dole it out into separate containers for the next few days.
My Recipe for Oats1/4 cup oats
1 T chia seeds
3/4 cup water
I mix these ingredients together in a tall bowl and cook it for one minute in the microwave. Stir, and cook for another minute. Then I let it sit overnight in the microwave. I know, it seems weird, but I've never had a problem letting it sit out like that.
Then in the morning I heat it up for another two minutes, stirring after each minute. Then I add a hefty sprinkle of Penzey's Tung Hing cinnamon and add whatever stir-ins I'm feeling at the moment, sometimes a tablespoon of Grape-nuts cereal for texture, ground flax seeds or hemp seeds for protein, a diced half banana, etc. I like my oatmeal really thick, so I'll add wheat bran if the mixture is too wet. Then I add what I call a "float" -- a tablespoon of non-dairy creamer on top and two tablespoons of almond milk to cool it down, and dig in. The float sits on top and sweetens the mixture, otherwise I don't add any sugar.
Some flavors I'm going to try this year are tea-infused oatmeal (make tea then use that water to make oatmeal), ginger-pear, and possibly coffee.