Thursday, May 20, 2010

A Breakfast Must

Warning: This is assvice. Advice that no one asked for and maybe no one wants but I'm giving it anyway. I'm pretty sure that's how you define assvice.

Since Sebastian and Collette were about a year old (maybe younger) we have been giving them Irish oatmeal (steel-cut oats) for every breakfast. As the Head Chef of the Soto Household, I made the executive decision that we would stick to one breakfast, leaving my creative juices flowing for lunch and dinner. 6+ months later, and everyone, even Lola, is very happy with this decision.

Here is why you should try it first thing tomorrow morning.
  1. It's easier than you might think. It's true that they take almost half an hour to cook, similar to the way you would cook rice. Compared to a bowl of cereal or even instant oatmeal, this is longer. However, you can make a big batch so you only have to cook it once a week. You can easily reheat the oatmeal in the microwave (not so for oatmeal made with rolled oats) in 30 seconds with a little bit of water or milk.
  2. It's easy to add in yummy and nutritious things. Getting my kids, and I assume most kids, to eat fruit isn't a big problem. However, I do have issues with fruit going bad and I also like to buy fresh fruit in season. For this reason, I buy a lot of frozen fruit. Unfortunately, not all frozen fruit thaws nicely - think mushy thawed strawberries. But when added to oatmeal, mushy fruit is no big deal. Even frozen fruit will warm up quickly in hot oatmeal. We have also done nuts and raisins - a big hit but very chewy! You could easily add in prune juice if your having some poop issues. I bet you could get creative and add shredded coconut. For extra flavor, I always cook mine with cinnamon and about 1-2 tbsp maple syrup for the whole batch.
  3. It's VERY cheap. Boxed cereal seems pretty inexpensive. And, truthfully, it is. No one will go bankrupt eating cereal for breakfast. But steel cut oats purchased by the pound are much less expensive. I cook my oats one cup at a time. This yields about 3 cups of cooked oatmeal. That lasts the kids about 4 days, maybe more. I add a lot of fruit and that stretches the oatmeal out, but still. One cup of oatmeal (uncooked) costs 60 cents. That means its costs me 15 cents per morning to feed both of my kids oatmeal, plus the fruit. If I gave them cereal (one that I find a close comparison in terms of nutrition and lack of weird stuff) it would cost me 4 times as much.
  4. It's a good choice for your body. I'm not going to get into the specifics of nutrition here but oats are great choice, regardless of which kind you choose. Supposedly, steel-cut oats contain more fiber, gram for gram, than the rolled oats or instant oats.
  5. Easy for toddlers learning to use a spoon. These oats make a thicker, sticker oatmeal than rolled oats, IMO. Now, you may not like that as a taste or texture preference but for my 18 month olds, its a great food to help them learn to use the spoon. Success is almost guaranteed once the spoon hits the bowl. And it takes some serious flinging (still all to common around here...) for it to fall off.
What do your kids like for breakfast? Have you tried Irish oatmeal?


  1. I need to try this. I love steel cut oats, the only kind I really like to eat. We've been on an egg kick for a while and the kids love it, but I like to use eggs for other dishes to make things easier to eat. Thanks for the suggestion.

  2. Thanks to your suggestion, we have been enjoying Irish steel cut oatmeal a few times a week! Ours didn't last as long, because all 5 of us had it for breakfast, and for me, that's huge... if I can cook something and everyone in the house eats it, that's just dreamy. The fact that it can be re-heated and still taste great is also a huge plus. Jackson loves it, Rick too and I love that you can add tons of different things to it to mix it up! I am planning on making more tomorrow morning and making enough to last us about 5 days!

  3. Have you considered using a slow cooker for oatmeal? Since we leave the house at 6:30 am, time is of the essence, but throwing the milk and oats in the crockpot at night makes for a lovely midweek morning treat.

  4. We have not tried Irish oatmeal, but perhaps now we will. My kids love toast with cream cheese and fruit for breakfast. They also eat some of the non-sugary cereals, eggs, and sometimes pancakes or waffles. We mix it up quite a bit. I never thought to do the same thing every day. It sure would make mornings much easier, but I'm not sure they'd go for it at this point.

  5. I can't wait to try! I make big batches of whole wheat apple pancakes and muffins and freeze them. They take about 20 seconds to defrost and make great finger foods.

    Gemma also loves hard boiled eggs, bagels with tofutti and waffles

  6. Our girls (16 1/2 months old) eat a scrambled egg every day with a diced banana, and I alternate regular oatmeal and cream of wheat. They really love the cream of wheat, which I make with whole milk.

    I'll check out the Irish oatmeal idea...thanks!

  7. Nicole, sounds good! I'll remember this....18 months or so from now ;) FYI, Trader Joe's sells steel cut oatmeal in frozen single serve portions. Might be a good alternative for when you don't have time to make a whole batch.

  8. That is so awesome! When my boys were ~18mths old, my grandfather came from Poland for a visit. He had swallowing issues, so his food had to be soft and mushy. He requested oatmeal, but didn't like instant, so I made pots of rolled oats. My kids have always been adventurous eaters, "My Try," and so they did. Matt LOVED IT! I cooked oatmeal for him for months! Eventually, we switched to instant...but it's still a breakfast fave of his!


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