Monday, September 1, 2008

Testing Breakfasts

I like to make fun breakfasts foods. Pancakes, waffles, eggs -- they all fill up my belly and feed my soul. Unfortunately, a tight morning routine does not lend itself to the extended process of breakfast creation. As a result, I find myself eating the same meal throughout the week. What's the formula? One cup of fat-free vanilla yogurt + one cup of Kashi Go Lean Crunch! cereal + 2/3 cup of frozen mixed berries (blue, marion, and razz), + 1 sliced banana. I enjoy this concoction, to be sure. The tastes and textures all meld well, and I love how crunchy and full of protein the cereal is. I accompany my yogurt-y breakfast with some green tea, and sometimes a skim latte about an hour or two into the morning.

Toward the end of the work week, however, I begin to get a little restless. I want to try something new, or I start to feel a little tired of yogurt and berries. Fast items that help to shake up the monotony include Kashi Go Lean waffles, which are really tasty, as well as some sort of cooked fruit like peaches or bananas. I also enjoy making cottage cheese apple pancakes from scratch, and whole wheat pancakes are another favorite, packed with berries and topped with maple syrup. On my list of recipes yet to try you can find huevos rancheros and pumpkin pancakes.

At the very top of that list, however, is oatmeal. One of the new blogs that I've been enjoying recently is Kath Eats Real Food. A North Carolina-based nutritionist in training, Kath writes about exercise, nutrition, and her food adventures, which are many and very interesting! She also discusses her daily diet, which almost always includes a morning meal of oatmeal-y goodness. Kath doesn't just top her oatmeal with cinnamon and sugar like the rest of us, however. Instead, she mixes the oatmeal with a wide spectrum of add-ins, including fruit, granola, nuts, and spreads. Each new bowl makes my taste buds tingle a little. So yesterday, with its damp and chilly morning, when I wanted a warmer breakfast (i.e., something without frozen berries!), I turned to Kath's blog.

There are a number of oatmeal combinations that have caught my eye, but the one that most piqued my interest was her pumpkin oats. I adore squash of all shapes and sizes, but I especially love plain pumpkin puree. Costco sells canned pumpkin in bulk, but only seasonally. Thankfully, that season has begun once more! I just picked up a pack of cans on our last shopping trip and have been enjoying it in my bento lunches. The prospect of pumpkin oats just about made me giddy, so I tested out Kath's recipe.

I think from now on I shouldn't try measuring food out early in the morning, though. I messed up the recipe straight off the bat by grabbing my half measuring cup instead of the third. So I made slightly more oatmeal than Kath's recipe called for, but I cut down on the granola component (I used Kashi Go Lean Crunch! cereal instead since that's what I had on hand) to make up for it. I also omitted the vanilla and added a little sugar-free maple syrup, a bunch of cinnamon, and some nutmeg and ginger.

The verdict? Pretty darn tasty! I'm not sure how well I liked the melding of the pumpkin and banana flavors, but it still hit the spot on a rainy morning. The cereal didn't seem to add much in terms of taste, and I didn't really like the random firmer lumps it created. Perhaps real granola is better. Also, the spoonful of peanut butter was inspired! As per Kath's suggestion, I simply left the peanut butter on my spoon and took a little taste of it with every spoonful of oats. Yum!

My one sore spot about this breakfast was that it didn't fill me up for the long haul. As nutritious as this meal is (lots of protein and good carbs, and totally about 500 calories), I felt hungry again within the hour. It filled me up for about twenty minutes, but then my stomach began to feel emptier and emptier. Perhaps it needs more fibrous produce? I had a peach a little later, which helped to tide me over until lunch.

Overall, however, I'm more than pleased with my new breakfast venture. It was simple to make, and took only about five or so minutes of preparation. Plus, it was warm and soothing, and smooth and tasty to boot. Kath has a diverse selection of oatmeal combos on her blog, so perhaps I will try another one out soon. You should, too! Do you have a favorite oatmeal creation?


  1. I love pumpkin oats..I just put pumpkin, vanilla hemp milk, cinnamon, pumpkinpie spice, and sweetener in mine. I mix all sorts of things in my oatmeal, but here is a post I wrote about some new ideas for mix-ins:


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