I never, ever miss a meal. I must eat at least three squares a day, and sometimes even four or five if I’ve had a long sit at a bar. Breakfast — the most important meal of the day — is usually something quick because I have vampire sleeping habits and I leave exactly 6 minutes and 14 seconds to prepare and eat something before I have to get ready for work.
Since I do try to eat healthy during the week, I shy away from Egg McMuffins and force-feeding myself donuts. I usually stick to fruit, low-fat frozen waffles with honey, smoothies, bagels and lox, or my new favorite thing — Overnight Oatmeal.
This is a recipe I bastardized from Alton Brown, the lovely geeky kitchen god himself. He uses cool stuff like half and half and dried fruits, but I changed it because: 1. Milk and cream-type products in my house are nothing more than something to put in coffee and/or to make cereal wet (I might go through a quart of skim in a week if I’m really ambitious); and 2. Since it takes me a week to eat it all, I want to change it up every day so I don’t get bored with it, therefore I make it plain and customize it each morning depending on my mood.
This recipe calls for steel-cut oats, which are less-processed and better for you than regular oatmeal. They take a long time to cook, which is why this recipe is so great: you get the nutrition and taste of the better oatmeal without waiting because you’re doing everything in the crock pot. Put it all together before bed and — voila — breakfast is waiting for you when you wipe the drool off your pillow in the morning. McCann’s is the most popular, but it’s pricey — anywhere from $7 – $9 per can. Schnucks carries an organic brand that tops out around $3 a package and it’s pretty darn good. (Note — it’s usually near the organic breakfast foods, not next to McCann’s.)
After I make a batch, I eat about a quarter of the recipe a day, storing what’s left in the fridge. It tends to get a little gloppy, but add water or milk to it before you nuke the leftovers in the microwave, stir it well and you’re good to go. Here are some topping suggestions: a tablespoon of peanut butter with a few chocolate chips; dried cranberries with honey drizzled on top; brown sugar, a bit of maple syrup and sliced almonds; fresh sliced bananas, strawberries or whatever fruit you have on-hand; a spoonful of your favorite jam/jelly/marmalade.
On another note, if you’re a runner, this is an excellent breakfast to prepare you for a morning run. Depending on what you top it with, it’s fairly light in calories but it gives you the fuel your body needs to mercilessly pound the hell out of some pavement. It hasn’t done me wrong yet. As a wise man once said, “You know I got these burning heels to use/Sometimes there’s no way to lose/I was born to run/And built to last/You’ll never see my feet ’cause they move so fast.”* Indeed. This oatmeal will make it so.
Bastardized from the lovely, lovely Alton Brown
1 cup steel-cut oats
4-1/2 cups water
In a slow cooker, combine both ingredients and set to low heat. Cover and let cook for 7-8 hours. Stir and serve.
* Canned Heat by Jamiroquai. Good for running on pavement and running around the house in your underwear.