The other morning, I was enjoying an unusually restful sleep. It was the type of sleep where nothing can seem to awaken me - not the sound of the alarm going off or Paul slowly rising and bumping around as he prepared to take his shower. I remember dreaming about vacationing with the family - the weather was lovely and we were hiking among the hills all Sound of Music style in some foreign location. Suddenly, this pleasant image quickly switched to a horrifying one of me drowning. I could not breathe, I was sinking somewhere deep....
And then I woke up with a start and realized that Matthew had his lips pressed firmly against mine - so firmly in fact that I could not breathe! I pulled away from him and gasped for air while he just sat there giving me a creepy smile.
"Matthew! What on earth were you doing?!" I gasped.
"True love's first kiss I give you, Mommy. And it works - you woke up, Mommy!"
And so begins another day with my crazy children who are all-too-easily influenced by fairy tales!
Dealing with these crazy kids requires a ton of energy and I am a firm believer in getting the day started off on the right foot with a nutritious (and delicious!) breakfast. We are big fans of oatmeal and while Paul swears by his bowl of soupy quick oats, I love the additional texture of steel-cut oats. The only issue with steel-cut oats is that unless you are a big fan of standing in front of the stove stirring for about 30-45 minutes, they can be a real pain to prepare on a whim. A little advanced planning is required to get them perfectly tender within about 10 minutes in the morning. The night before, simply bring some water to a boil and add the oats, stir, and then let them soak overnight. This gives the oats a little bit of time to soften up before the morning - enough so that only about 10 minutes of cooking is required before the breakfast is served! Which is awesome in my case because the children are very needy in the mornings.
|Case in Point.|
This banana-coconut variation is our family's favorite. Baby Emma is perhaps the biggest fan of all - she would probably eat the entire pot if I let her. Matthew loves eating the leftover toasted coconut. I remember hating coconut at his age (and Paul still has some textural issues with it) so I'm impressed that he is such a fan.
Banana and Coconut Steel-Cut Oats
adapted from Cook's Illustrated Magazine
1 cup steel-cut oatmeal
3 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup coconut milk
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 bananas, halved and then sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 cup sweetened, shredded coconut, toasted
The night before, bring the 3 cups of water to a boil in a medium stockpot. Add the oats, the salt, and stir. Remove the pot from the heat, cover, and allow to stand overnight at room temperature.
The next morning, stir in the coconut milk and place the pot over medium-high heat until the mixture boils. Be sure to stir frequently, scraping the bottom well with a wooden spoon. Reduce the heat to medium and cook/stir for 8-10 minutes or until the oats thicken and are tender. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the sugar, vanilla, bananas, and coconut. Cover and let stand 5 minutes before serving.
Serve, topped with additional coconut and sugar if desired.