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Easy-to-fix oats win every time

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Dr. Oz said that one thing he can't live without is steel cut oats. He has them every morning for breakfast.

I had never heard of steel cut oats until I heard Dr. Oz talk about their virtues on his TV program. So I was curious. After all, it was some kind of oatmeal, and I do like oatmeal.

Oatmeal is a cholesterol free food and low in fat. It contains dietary fiber, and it's a good source of vitamins and iron. I am definitely at a point in my life where I am interested in eating healthier meals, so I went shopping for this special oatmeal.

I didn't find steel cut oats in our local grocery stores, so I looked at grocery stores in Murfreesboro when I was there one day. I found them at Publix, along with a hefty price for what seemed like such a small box. But, I wanted to try them.

When I got ready to make this Dr. Oz Delight one morning, I noticed on the directions that you're supposed to let them cook for 25 to 30 minutes. That certainly gave me pause.

I'm used to quick oats and instant oatmeal, and here the directions said it would take me at least half an hour to prepare my breakfast.

I really prefer the quick and easy version of things dietary, especially in the morning.

I can pour out a bowl of bran cereal in a matter of seconds, and I can make myself a toasted English muffin in just a few minutes, or peel a banana and have it eaten before the toaster pops. But, you really have to work and wait for a bowl of that Irish oatmeal.

I like oatmeal anytime. While growing up, one of the comfort foods for the Dezotell brothers was a nice bowl of hot oatmeal. I would like to eat it with a dollop of butter and a sprinkling of brown sugar, and maybe a drizzle of maple syrup. Then top it off with a little bit of milk. We would always have a plate of toasted bread on the side.

To us, eating oatmeal could take place for breakfast, lunch, or supper. It was always a good meal. But back then, someone else did the cooking. I just did the eating.

Now, I make my own oatmeal. My wife makes her own too. I open a small pouch and cook mine in the microwave. Lynn makes hers on the stovetop in a matter of minutes.

I still like to add a little margarine and some light maple syrup and Splenda. Lynn adds dried cherries or dried cranberries and pieces of pecans and Splenda.

You don't have to add those things anymore. You can buy instant oatmeal in the packets that have all kinds of flavors and things added.

There are lower sugar maple and brown sugar packets; fruit and cream packets (with a variety of little fruit-like bits and flavors), like strawberries and cream, bananas and cream, blueberries and cream, or peaches and cream; and even plain, regular flavor oatmeal packets.

You can get all the flavors you want in a little packet and your oatmeal will be ready to eat in under 2 minutes. Not much effort, but tasty nonetheless.

But, now I have these steel cut oats that Dr. Oz says he can't live without.

When I first opened the container I was surprised that it didn't look at all like regular oatmeal. But then they are cut and not rolled oats, or so says the label on the back.

Well, I made them one morning and I busied myself with other things during the half hour it took them to cook. I didn't add anything but a little sweetener because I wanted to get the full taste of these special oats.

I must say they were quite good. They have somewhat of a nutty taste and consistency. But they weren't the quick and easy variety of oats that I'm used to. Dr. Oz probably has someone making his breakfast for him anyway.

Speaking of breakfast, I'm going to go and make myself something to eat. But this morning I think I just might have a toaster waffle.

-- Doug Dezotell is pastor of Mount Lebanon United Methodist Church, a former staff writer for the Times-Gazette, a husband, father and grandfather, and a friend to many. Doug may be reached at dougmdezotell@yahoo.com.

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Doug Dezotell
Memories and Musings
Doug Dezotell is pastor of Cannon United Methodist Church and a former staff writer for the Times-Gazette.

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