The Silly Nutrition Undergrad

Posts Tagged ‘oatmeal

[This picture isn’t the best quality, but considering I was in a rush to enjoy it, this was my best shot! Next time I eat it, I’ll take better photos…]

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Oatmeal, hands down, is the ultimate healthy breakfast option for me, the perfect wake-up call to a busy weekday morning.

Today is the start of the school week, and it is also the finish-the-leftovers day. So, combining the goal of pumping myself up with fuel for a busy day at school and the objective of getting rid of last week’s leftover produce, I came up with a crazy oatmeal  flavour. It is a meatless dish that includes bean sprouts and Taiwan cabbage as the key ingredients, infused with Sichuan flavour (inspired by one of my favourite Sichuan dish, Dan Dan noodles).

Quite frankly, if I didn’t need to finish the not-so-fresh product, I would never have thought about putting bean sprouts and Taiwan cabbage in oatmeal. And I would definitely would never consider extracting the flavours of Dan Dan noodles and working it into my oatmeal. Even as I was cooking the dish, I knew this was a risky attempt and I prepared myself that it might not taste as good as it sounds in my head. But somehow, in the end, my oatmeal turned out creamy, spicy, peanutty, and overall, very flavourful. I enjoyed every bite.

So far, my adventure to discover new ways to enjoy oatmeal has taken me in all directions; I’ve tried many new food combinations and played with the sweet and savory flavours. But this episode has really got beyond my imagination, and I must say, from the looks of it, this adventure will only get more crazy, more exciting and more dangerous. Can’t wait until a new crazy oatmeal idea pops into my head!

Oatmeal, Sichuan flavour

What you’ll need:

  • 3/4 cup cooked steel cut oats (regular / quick oats work as well, just not instant oatmeal)
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon chili sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon peanut butter
  • 1/2 tablespoon Chinese sesame paste
  • A drizzle of sesame oil
  • 1/2 cup bean sprouts
  • 1/2 cup Taiwanese cabbage, shredded (Taiwanese cabbage is a different variety from Green Leaf cabbage; it has a sweeter flavour and a more tender texture.)
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock, low sodium preferably
  • 2 tablespoons scallions, finely chopped

What to do:

  • I’m assuming that you have already cooked up a big patch of steel cut oats and have them in individual servings sizes alright — If not, follow these instructions and make some now!
  • Boil a pot of water, put in bean sprouts and Taiwan cabbage, simmer on medium heat until tender. Drain and set aside.
  • In the same pot, pour in chicken stock and stir in the oatmeal and the veggies. Heat mixture on medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  • Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together chili sauce, peanut butter and sesame paste. If mixture is too thick to stir well, add in a splash of hot water to help the paste blend together better. Set aside.
  • When oatmeal is heated thoroughly, add the sauce and scallions. Stir well. (At this point, you can adjust the seasoning to taste – if you want a more prominent sweet, nutty flavour, stir in more peanut butter, or if you are looking for more heat, add in chili sauce or chili oil for an extra kick.)
  • Remove from heat, cover pot and let sit for 2 – 3 minutes (let the flavour of the scallion infuse into the oatmeal). Drizzle on sesame oil before serving.

This is really a delicious way to start the day. I can savour the flavours of my favourite lunch dish while treating my body to a bowl of whole grain goodness.

If you’re the type of person who prefers savory breakfasts over sweet ones (and if you enjoy hot and spicy food), then you’ve got to try this recipe, it won’t disappoint you. I promise!

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I think I just found a new favourite way to eat my steel cut oats.

During the last month or so, I got totally obsessed with adding kabocha squash puree to my oatmeal, along with a handful of dried cranberries and a drizzle of maple syrup. But after eating that for breakfast for a month straight almost, I must say that the sweet combination hast lost the wow factor. And so I started to crave savory oatmeal now.

So this morning when I opened the fridge and saw a tube of silken tofu, I instantly knew that would be the star ingredient in making savory oatmeal today!

The end result? The melt-in-the mouth tofu made the oatmeal extra creamy and a small handful of chopped scallions added a refreshing Asian touch to the oatmeal. Absolutely delicious!

Oatmeal with Tofu

What you’ll need:

  • 3 oz silken tofu
  • 1/4 cup corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
  • 1/4 cup edamame
  • 1/4 cup peas
  • 1 egg, well beaten
  • 3/4 cup cooked steel cut oats (I’ve written about how to prepare stove-top oatmeal before)
  • 2 tablespoons scallions, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro leaves, chopped
  • Soy sauce, to taste

What to do:

  • I’ve assuming that you have already cooked up a big patch of steel cut oats and have them in individual servings sizes alright — If not, follow these instructions and make some now!
  • In a small pan, add in all the ingredients, except the egg and the scallions. Break the tofu into chunks and stir the mixture well. Bring it to a boil, then turn down the heat and let it simmer until the tofu is heated thoroughly. Add in some water if mixture gets too thick (the longer you cook the oats, the more water it will absorb and thicker it becomes).
  • Once oatmeal is heated well, slowly pour in the egg while slowly but steady stirring the oatmeal (like you’re making egg drop soup). Bring mixture to a boil again (to make sure the egg gets cooked).
  • Remove from heat and stir in scallions. Serve hot with a splash of soy sauce, if desired.

The bowl of tofu oatmeal was surprisinglysatisfying. This simple meal really hit the spot for me! 🙂

If you’re tried Mark Bittman’s Savory Oatmeal with Scallions before and thought that was pleasant, then you’ll definitely fall in love with this recipe!

It’s honestly THAT good.

Chewy Maple Oatmeal Cookies with Cranberries

The perfect healthy snack cookie! Eat a cookie or two during the afternoon to satisfy your sweet tooth and keep your hunger at bay.

Photo by Stephanie Chung

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After reading about the post on Apricots-Maple-Oatmeal Cookies by AsiaJo at Frock and Fork, I knew I had to make these cookies this weekend!

Despite not having apricots or cane sugar around the house, I did not push this recipe aside. Instead, I substituted in dried cranberries and brown sugar.

The end result was fabulous. It was chewy and dense – just the way I love my oatmeal cookies! I absolutely adore how much oats and dried fruits this recipe has. Not only do they enhance the flavour of the cookies, but they also transform these cookies into a healthy snack option! The oats makes the cookies chewy and they add a great deal of soluble fiber.  The dried fruits add in sweetness and they also provide a little more than 2.5 servings of fruits and vegetables (1 serving = 1/4 cup dried fruits).

So, now when I indulge in 1 or 2 cookies during my afternoon snack, I’m not only satisfying my sweet tooth, but I’m also making a smart healthy investment by boosting both my fiber and fruits intake. How awesome is that!

Chewy Maple-Oatmeal Cookies with Cranberries

Ingredients:

  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup softened butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda (I actually forgot to add this in…)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 cup regular oats
  • 2/3 cup dried cranberries, chopped soaked in hot water for 10 minutes
  1. Preheat oven to 375F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, cream butter, brown sugar, maple syrup and vanilla extract until well combined. Add in lightly beaten egg. Stir well.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ground cinnamon and ground nutmeg). Slowly add into the butter mixture. Stir well.
  4. Add in rolled oats and cranberries (make sure to drain well before adding in). If batter seems too dry, add in a small amount of milk until the cookie dough is just moist.
  5. Using an ice-cream scoop or two teaspoons (or your clean hands!), shape dough into small balls and place onto parchment paper. Slightly flatten.
  6. Bake for 10 – 15 minutes (the longer you bake it, the crispier the cookies get). Remove from oven and let sit on cookie sheet for 2 minutes. Remove and place onto wire rack to cool completely.

These cookies are truly the perfect healthy snack. Have a cookie or two during the afternoon to curb your hunger and keep your energy up until dinner time!

Seriously, you’ve got to try these for yourself to know how gooey and delicious they are!

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Running from one place to another place with nothing to eat? Instead of wasting precious time lining up at a fast food joint, why not try preparing your own healthy snacks to keep your keep your energy level up and hunger level down!

Yogurt + Granola

Try to pair a small container of low-fat yogurt with homemade granola for a delicious, nutrient-dense snack. Try to choose plain yogurt to avoid the sugar-laden and chemical-filled fruit yogurts. Buying plain yogurt also gives you more variety – you can choose to add different toppings to make it interesting. Try a drizzle of honey, handful of dried cranberries / raisins, some fresh fruits, or even a spoonful of nuts to add new dimensions!

Crackers + Cheese

All you need to do is buy some cheese, cut it into thin slices and put them between crackers and you have prepared a tasty, crunchy, cheesy snack for yourself! Minimal preparation yet very flavourful! Try buying whole wheat crackers for a chewy and nutty flavour. To make it even more interesting, try buying sharp-tasting cheese, such as Old Cheddar. For Brie cheese for a creamier texture, or try Bleu cheese for a sharp, intense experience!

Bite-sized Veggies with Dip

When you prepare vegetables for dinner, try washing and cutting up some extra and put them in ziploc bags or tupperware so when you’re in a hurry, you can just grab and go! Some good options include celery sticks, broccoli florets, red pepper slices and carrot sticks. Along with your veggies, pack some dip, such as hummus, peanut butter, or cottage cheese to make the veggies a little more tasty.

DIY Fruit Cup

Cut fruits into cubes and mix them into a leakproof tupperware container for a fresh, flavourful DIY fruit cup. Mix together some crunchy fruits (Ex. Apples) with some soft fruits (ex. Kiwi), and toss them with some seasonal fruits (Ex. Barlett pears) or add in your favourite fruits to make the fruit salad super yummy and super healthy! To prepare browning of fruits, make sure you dip them into lemon water or else they will look less appealing over time! For simplicity sake, you can also just wash a fruit and chow down when you hungry as well! Even less cutting and cleaning up, but just as enjoyable and nutritious.

Nuts / Trail Mix

It’s super easy to make your own trail mix. Throw a large handful of whatever dry cereal you have on hand (or try toasting rolled oats), then add in a bunch of nuts and some dried fruits, and you’re all set to go! To boost the health aspects of your trail mix, try choosing cereal is that higher in fiber and low in sugar.

Making these healthy snacks only take about 5-10 minutes but when you’re running late for class, that could mean disaster! So make sure you plan ahead, ideally the night before or even try mapping out your snacking plan during the weekend when you have more time.

Question: What’s your favourite healthy snack when you are on the run?

Bonus: Make your own granola!

Want to avoid the store-bought granola that is loaded with sugars and oil? Then, try making your own version! Here‘s my all time favourite recipe. It doesn’t ask you to add in a lot of sugar and oil, but it has a very unique sweetness that comes from the coconut shreds and a lot of heart-healthy fats from the cashews and almonds. Plus it’s super easy to make, just toss all the ingredients together, mix well and toast it in the oven for an hour. Then when you room starts to smell heavenly, you’ll know it’s ready! Once you try it once, I guarantee you will never buy store-bought granola ever again!

Question: What’s your favourite healthy snack when you are on the run?