My hard-working husband has to get up most mornings at 2 am to get ready to punch into work at 4 am for a ten-hour workday, and if he is lucky, it will only be five days instead of six. This makes breakfast very important for him. It will fuel him through the morning until his 11:30 lunchtime. Since I cannot get up with him at that ungodly hour, I make sure to have soaked oatmeal as ready as possible for him when he gets up. It takes only 5 minutes in the morning before he can eat.
Oats have been fueling humans for centuries, if not millennia. I read in Nourishing Traditions that, “Samuel Johnson defined oats as ‘a grain used in England to feed horses and in Scotland to feed the populace.'” Oats are a fantastic breakfast cereal for many people. They are naturally gluten free (any gluten present usually comes from cross contamination during processing). They cook up very quickly, which makes them a perfect breakfast for someone who has little time to spare in the mornings for cooking.
Start the night before
As with any whole grain, oats contain phytic acid. You can read an excellent scientific article about phytic acid here. In a nutshell, phytic acid is an anti-nutrient, which means it draws nutrients out of your body rather than putting them in. It can cause mineral deficiencies, rickets, and osteoporosis. To neutralize the phytic acid, we can soak our whole grains in an acidic medium overnight. That might sound a bit scary and hard, but it is super simple and easy. Let me walk you through it.
Here we have dried cranberries, old-fashioned rolled oats (as opposed to quick-cooking, or instant), butter, and vinegar. You can add any other toppings you like, too. This is just how my husband likes his. I will give you instructions for a very generous single serving, but you can easily scale it up to feed as many as you have.
Take 1/2 cup of oats and put them in a small pot.
Toss in a handful of dried cranberries. If you want some other dried fruit or seeds, add them now, too. Save fresh fruit to add in the morning.
Add a splash of raw apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, or whey. I don’t measure it, but technically I believe it is supposed to be a ratio of 1 tablespoon per cup of grain, so for this amount, 1/2 tablespoon is appropriate.
I use about 1 1/4 cups of water for this. Usually, the labels advise us to use a 2:1 ratio of water to grains, but since the craisins are in there also, and to help avoid accidental overcooking by sleepy people, I go a little higher. If you are scaling this up to feed a family of 4 or 6, I would use the 2:1 ratio and just add 1/4 cup to plump up the dried fruit.
Butter is a health food, and if you can find raw grass fed butter, that would be a superfood. I add a tablespoon or two of butter to the porridge. Not only does this make it creamier, but the fat makes it more filling and helps to stabilize blood sugar. This helps keep him feeling satisfied for longer and lets him make it to lunchtime. As I mentioned, this is nine hours after he eats breakfast. Yes he has some snacks, but two cups of yogurt and a couple granola bars only go so far.
I then set the pot on the stove, all ready for morning.
The next morning
My husband goes through the kitchen each morning on his way to the bathroom, so as he passes by, he turns on the stove. That is a two second stop. By the time he is finished in the bathroom, his breakfast is pretty much all ready. Fastest breakfast ever. He adds some milk, and maybe some brown sugar, and he is all set and ready to go. He tends to eat it straight out of the pot, which is one reason I use a long handled spoon, as you can see in the photo above. That way he can eat with the same spoon he uses to stir it up, and it won’t fall into the pot and get lost at the bottom.
- One half cup of oats = $0.14 ($2.49 for a 42-ounce carton)
- one half teaspoon of vinegar = $0.03 ($5.99/quart for raw ACV)
- handful of craisins = $0.25 (about an ounce from a $5.99 bag that weighs 24 ounces)
- tablespoon of butter = $0.09 (at $2.89/lb)
Total cost is $0.51 for a generously sized breakfast for one.
Do you eat breakfast each morning? What is your favorite fast and easy breakfast?