What brand of ___ do you use?
See my Brand Recommendations page.
What’s the difference between steel cut and…?
Oats come in many forms. Here’s a rundown of all the oats I use on this blog:
Rolled/Old-Fashioned: [pictured below] These are the “standard” that most people use to make oatmeal, at least in the United States. They take approximately 5-8 minutes to cook, and they create a pleasant texture that’s more flakey than instant oats but less chewy than steel-cut. Notice the flakey look of the rolled oats in this granola:
Quick: Quick oats look similar to rolled oats, but they have been ground down more, so they cook in about 1-2 minutes. They differ slightly from “instant” oats, which is generally synonymous with the oatmeal that comes in packets and is practically a powder. However, sometimes the terms are used interchangeably!
Oat Flour: [pictured below] This is oats that have been ground down to a flour. It can be used to make a very creamy oatmeal (kind of like polenta) or in place of flour in baked goods. However, oat flour creates a very dense product and is rarely used as the sole flour in a bread, cookie, etc. You can buy oat flour, but it’s much cheaper to make it yourself by processing quick or rolled oats in a blender or food processor.
Steel Cut: [pictured below] These differ drastically from quick and rolled oats because they don’t appear as flakes. They look like little pinheads and take approximately 20 minutes to prepare. Despite their chunky appearance, after simmering for nearly half an hour, they take on a surprisingly creamy–yet chewy–texture.
Quick-Cook Steel Cut: [pictured below] These are a favorite of mine! They look similar to steel cut but have been ground down a little more, just enough so that it has a similar “chew” to steel cut oats, but it cooks in only 5 minutes. I worship this cut of oats because it makes some incredibly creamy porridge!
What do I do if I want to make a recipe but don’t have the type of oats it calls for?
If you are making substitutions, remember that quick and rolled/old-fashioned oats use 1/2 cup oats for every 1 cup liquid, and steel cut and quick-cook steel cut use 1/4 cup oats for every 3/4 cup liquid.
Example: If you are making a recipe that calls for quick-cook steel cut oats and you only have old-fashioned oats, increase the liquid to 1 cup milk of choice and 1/2 a cup of oats. Alternatively, if you want to use quick-cook steel cut oats but the recipe calls for rolled oats, reduce the liquid to 3/4 cup milk of choice and the oats to 1/4 cup.
Recipes using steel cut oats generally make more than a single serving. Generally, the recipe will call for 1 cup steel cut oats and 4 cups liquid. To substitute rolled oats, use 2 cups rolled oats and 4 cups liquid, and reduce the cooking time to 5-8 minutes.
I always mark this as optional in my recipes, and I imagine most people take me up on the offer to forego it. Flax has a wonderful nutty taste that is especially wonderful in porridge with cinnamon and other earthy flavors (e.g. Apple Cinnamon). I use milled flax, flax seeds, or a mixture of the two! Chia seeds are insanely nutritious and help oatmeal gel together, so it’s really great for overnight oatmeal or recipes that aren’t naturally creamy. Sometimes, I use chia seeds instead of flax. However, flax is about 10,000 times cheaper than chia, so I generally stick to flax. 🙂
Why do you use half-water in your recipes?
I once saw a European comment on a food blog once about how strange Americans are for cooking their oats in water. She viewed this as evidence of our self-hatred. This made me laugh (and think), but here’s the thing: almond milk is expensive! By mixing it with half water, I can essentially double my supply. Plus, almond milk (and most nondairy milks) is pretty thick, so watering it down isn’t a problem. Feel free to just use more milk whenever I list water in the recipe.
Why do you sometimes use half the fruit, and what do you do with the rest?
Well, if you haven’t learned by now, I’m really cheap. Because I’ve committed to more expensive higher quality food, I’ve had to save money in other ways–watering down my almond milk, buying overripe bananas in bulk, and only using half a fruit at a time. For bananas, I slice up the remainder and add it to a bag in the freezer, which I use later to make banana soft serve. For apples and grapefruit, I store the other half in a Glad container in the fridge. The next morning, I have another half an apple waiting for me! You might be thinking, “But apples brown when you cut them!!” Relax. They work great for oatmeal. You’re just cooking them again, anyway! And they don’t actually brown that much, in my experience.
Not convinced? Go ahead and use the full fruit. 🙂
Why do you add “another splash of milk” at the end of your recipes?
Splashing some milk over your finished oatmeal serves three purposes: it cools it down so you can eat it without burning yourself, adds one more source of creaminess and milky flavor, and moistens it up again, especially if you accidentally overcooked your oats. From an aesthetic perspective, it also makes your breakfast look more appealing. 🙂 So don’t skip the splash!
Why do you avoid sugar in your recipes?
Sugar is for ninnies. I “quit” instant flavored oatmeal because of the sugar content (and artificial flavors), so white, refined sugar is one thing I never add to my porridge. Occasionally, I’ll add maple syrup, but that’s more for its flavor than its sweetness. If you’re not hardcore like me, feel free to add some sugar, but please, for the love of Michael Buble, do not use Splenda on any of my recipes–nothing would sadden me more!
What do you have against artificial sweeteners?
Great question! Read more here.
How do I make more than a single serving?
For most stove-top recipes, this simply requires you to double/triple/quadruple/etc. everything except the fruit. For example, if the single recipe asks for one banana, you don’t need to use four bananas to make four servings. Usually two will do the trick. Baked recipes are a little more complicated. Start with an 8×8 pan, multiply everything by 4 (except the fruit, which you should just double), but don’t add all the liquid at once. Add it little by little until it reaches the right consistency. Increase the baking time to 25-30 minutes.
I recognize that’s vague. Feel free to ask for advice on doubling/tripling/etc. specific recipes in the comments section of that post.
My white ramekin is 6 oz. I don’t know what brand it is; I bought it at a standard kitchen store.
My other ramekins are all Le Creuset. The first red one is called a “Petite Casserole” dish, but now they are called “Mini Round Cocottes.” [pictured below] Regardless, it’s wonderful. 🙂 The website does not list its capacity, but it generally holds the same as the 7 oz. Stackable Ramekin.
The next Le Creuset I use is a blue “Stackable Ramekin.” [pictured below] The official website lists it as being 7 oz.
Finally, my last Le Creuset is a red “Heritage Petite Pie Dish.” This makes great oatmeal, but I don’t love how it looks in pictures, so I tend to use it less often. [pictured below]
I also use this “soup mug” thing [pictured below]. I can’t remember what brand it is or how big it is, but you can seriously find this anywhere.
When baking multiple servings of oatmeal, I use an embarrassingly cheap and standard 8×8 brownie pan. I bought it from ShopRite the day after I moved to New Jersey so I would have something to bake my Peanut Butter and Banana Baked Oatmeal. It hasn’t done me wrong yet!
Any other bakeware you’ve seen are typically dishes I borrowed from other people. For example, many of my mom’s ramekins have featured in photos I’ve taken at her house.
For stovetop oatmeal, I tend to use rice bowls and dip bowls for pictures as they tend to look prettier than oversized cereal bowls.
Who is Allison? Why do you talk about her all the time?
Allison is a former roommate of mine and a close friend 4 lyfe. Check out her cookie recipe!
I keep a checklist of recipe ideas on my iPhone. I started it when I started the blog in April 2012 and it’s been growing ever since. I like to show it to people when they ask me questions like, “Do you think you’ll ever run out of ideas?” or “Is it hard coming up with new recipes?” It helps them get a sense of how crazy I am about porridge.