Pay no attention to the extremely un-photogenic oatmeal in the plastic cup…
As I may have mentioned before on this blog, by husband is of Irish descent. He will eat cold baked potatoes out of the fridge as a snack, but his oatmeal tolerance is near zero. Apparently, oatmeal has a sliminess that my Scottish taste buds do not detect.
Now, he doesn’t complain if I serve him oatmeal for breakfast, and if I put some peanut butter in it he doesn’t even mind eating it (occasionally). But since I’m all about finding GOOD ways to fix food, I try not to make a habit of fixing foods that are merely tolerable to my husband.
So, when I read comments that refrigerator oatmeal was more enjoyable to those who find hot oatmeal to be slimy, I was intrigued, if also skeptical. I made up a couple cups of oatmeal for breakfast, assuring my husband that he didn’t have to eat it if he didn’t like it. I could just save the refrigerator oatmeal for my breakfasts, and fix him an egg or something.
Imagine my surprise when my Irish husband decided he liked this oatmeal.
As another plus, it’s a perfect make ahead breakfast the requires no work on those mornings when you get up and go running instead of making breakfast. (Or those mornings when you sleep in until ten minutes before your husband leaves for work… But the first one sounds like a much better excuse for not making breakfast, doesn’t it?)
Ideally, you’ll want to make this in half pint mason jars (affiliate link), because they’re easily sealed with lids, but I also often make them in disposable plastic cups for simplicity, and any mug or glass will do just as well. (A sandwich bag or piece of plastic wrap makes a good impromptu disposable ‘lid’ for while it’s in the fridge.)
Some people will make ahead a week’s worth of refrigerator oatmeal at a time, and it keeps just fine in the fridge for that long. If you’re planning to do this though, consider your fruit/flavoring choices. Blueberries will probably be fine steeping in the cup of oatmeal for a week, but don’t try to hold bananas for more than a day or two.
Healthiness rating: Healthy
I do have to point out that oats contain phytic acid, which blocks the absorption of nutrients, but don’t contain enough phytase for soaking to really eliminate the phytic acid as it would with wheat. So, if you’re very concerned about the effects of phytic acid (I’ve discussed before when you might need to be concerned) skip eating oats entirely, or add a teaspon of rye flour (which is high in phytase) when you soak them.
However, if you’re generally getting plenty of vitamin C in your diet (such as, in the fruit you put in your oatmeal) the phytic acid shouldn’t be a big deal, and kefir or yogurt will provide plenty of probiotics to help you digest your grains.
Yumminess rating: Yummy
As noted, the texture is improved over hot oatmeal for those who have an issue with oatmeal’s sliminess, and those who already love oatmeal will find the same old comfort food, but better acclimated to a balmy summer morn than their standard steaming porridge might be.
1/4 cup oats (quick or old fashioned)
1/2 cup kefir
1/3 cup milk + 1/4 cup greek yogurt
1 1/2 tsp chia seeds (flax seeds will work okay as a substitute, but you might need to cut back on the liquid a bit)
Fruit/Flavorings of Choice:
1/2 banana + 1-2 TBSP peanut butter + 1-2 tsp honey + (optional) 1 TBSP cocoa powder
2-4 TBSP of your favorite jam or jelly + (optional) 1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon + 1 TBSP honey
Put all ingredients into a cup or mason jar and mix. (I like to put the fruit in first, so that there’s something yummy all the way to the last spoonful, even if I don’t quite mix it thoroughly.) Refrigerate overnight or for up to a few days.