Oatmeal (2)I did not grow up eating oatmeal.  This probably seems odd given that I grew up on a farm … after all, it’s hearty, healthy, cheap and comforting. We didn’t eat oatmeal.  We used it in cookies … and mealoaf.

Only a few years ago did I discover what I was missing.  If you aren’t a fan or if you currently tear open a paper packet and add water and microwave it for a couple minutes, I have three words for you: Steel. Cut. Oats.

And here’s the trick … prepare ahead.  On the side of the box are instructions for easy overnight preparation.

Boil 4 cups of water in a medium saucepan.  Add 1 cup steel cut oats and a pinch of salt, stir, cover and remove from heat.  Let sit overnight.  In the morning, cook on low for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until smooth and creamy.

That’s it.  You can let it cool from there and store in the refrigerator for quick breakfasts.  To serve, fill a bowl with cooked oats, add a little milk and stir.  Microwave in 30 second increments to reheat, stirring in between.

Now the best part … the toppings!


  • A teaspoon of brown sugar, honey or maple syrup
  • Fresh or Dried Fruit (blueberries, strawberries, bananas, raisins, cranberries, etc)
  • Spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger)
  • Nuts (walnuts, almonds, pecans, etc)
  • Flax/Chia Seed (trust me, you don’t notice it but it adds huge health benefits)

Compare the nutrition information on the labels of the instant oatmeal and the steel cut oats … focus on the fiber, sodium, sugars and protein.  By adding small amounts of the toppings listed above you add good protein, sugars (from the fruit), oils and Omega-3’s, antioxidants (spices).  Get your kids into it by letting them stir in their own (premeasured by you) toppings.

Or go eccentric: peanut butter-banana-bacon or apple crisp (unsweetened apple sauce, walnuts and brown sugar) or chocolate-hazelnut-coconut (Nutella and unsweetened coconut flakes).  Um … YEAH!

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Anita Hinkeldey McVey

From the farm in Alta ... to college in Ames ... to the suburbs of Des Moines in Waukee ... I am an Iowa girl through and through. I married the cute, but quiet, guy who made me laugh out loud in Statistics class and we have two awesome, but terribly sarcastic, boys. In 1999, I quit my research job to be home with those active boys. Staying home allowed me to spend more time preparing meals, trying new recipes and striving to serve healthier options for my family. Now that my boys are men ... well, "adults" anyway ... and my husband still appreciates what I accomplish at home, I have time to explore my creative side and knock "writing a blog" off my bucket list. I love trying new things, traveling, gardening, reading and clean countertops. I love baseball (watching, not playing) and concession stands. Choosing a favorite food is impossible but if I was forced to pick just one, it would be pie! I thank God that He has led me to this place. Here's to a new adventure and hopes that others will be able to use what I post to discover the benefits of family meals and living a picnic life.

2 thoughts on “Oatmeal

  1. Once removed from the heat, should you put the pan in the fridge overnight, or can it stay out on the counter all night?

    1. No need to refrigerate until after cooking the next morning … just set it on another burner that is cool and leave it out overnight. The box calls this “soaking”.

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