Growing up, the world’s worst breakfast was oatmeal. Once a week my mom served up oatmeal. The texture, the taste, the smell, ewww, really there was nothing I could like about oatmeal. Thankfully my mom let us mix in yogurt and dried fruit into the mush, which was the only way I could swallow it. Even to this day I can’t abide oatmeal. Some foods you grow into, and other foods just land permanently on the “Do Not Eat. Ever. Unless You Are Dying” list. Oatmeal was and has been at the top of that list.
I found this recipe flipping through Martha Stewart Living, and I don’t know why or how considering my past with oatmeal, but this recipe called to me. Martha Stewart had a fancy name for it, I’ll just call it “Cold Oatmeal” because I’m original like that.
1 cup rolled oats (not the quick cooking kind)
1/2 cup yogurt
1/2 cup milk
pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup orange juice
(all of these ingredients are give or take. I’m never very precise when it comes to measurements unless it’s chocolate chip cookies. If you want more honey, add more honey, if you want less oatmeal and more yogurt, well then, it’s your life, you take control of your own oatmeal).
Mix the oatmeal with the yogurt, milk, vanilla, and salt and place in the refrigerator over night. The oatmeal undergoes a process called “soaking” where the bacteria in the yogurt breaks down the oatmeal and does good things that I’m not exactly sure what right now but you can read all about it here. Essentially soaking makes it easier for the body to absorb the nutrients in things like grains, nuts, and beans. For this recipe, though, the other reason behind soaking the oatmeal is that this is how the oatmeal is softened so that you can eat it because there is no cooking involved in this recipe. Just mixing, eating, and enjoying.
Then, the next morning simply mix in the honey and orange juice, and voila, breakfast is served! You can eat the oatmeal just like this, or add nuts and dried fruits or fresh fruits to dress it up a bit. Really, the oatmeal is just kind of a blank canvas and the sky is the limit. I just know that it’s good. And easy. I think I like it twice as much just because it’s easy. And cheap. So now I like it four times as much because it’s easy and cheap.
The other reason I like this better is because the oatmeal is not so gooey and soupy and gross and nasty from being cooked. Yuck, I’m making faces right now just thinking about cooked oatmeal. But this “cold oatmeal,” well, its still got a bit of a crunch to it, it tastes fresh, it feels refreshing, it’s just about perfect.