Eating is personal…especially if you follow a particular diet like I do. The ingredients I choose and the meals I create feel like an extension of myself. I would even go so far as to say that my kitchen is almost like my diary; when friends come over and step into my kitchen–or worse, see inside my refrigerator–I feel exposed and self-conscious. Will they judge me for drinking almond milk? Or for buying organic spinach? And then there’s the flax and chia seed in the cupboards…Does anyone else feel this way? Or is that just me?
Anyway, the point is, my kitchen is my comfort zone. I never realize how truly “at home” I feel in that space until I have to cook in someone else’s kitchen. For example, my whole world is flipped upside down when I visit my parents. I spend my mornings in a panic: where’s the almond milk?! Where’s the natural peanut butter??? Where’s my EARTH BALANCE?!! Oh, the horror!
But that didn’t stop me from making this beauty. Unfortunately, I had to make it using water. Gag. I don’t understand how people can make oatmeal with water. It just makes such a sad bowl of porridge…
I overcame that, though. No flax…no coconut oil…no almond milk…no problem! I’m a teacher; I’m trained in creativity and flexibility. Even without my most beloved ingredients, I managed to whip up this bright and lively creation. Sha-blam!
I didn’t want to give you a “sad” bowl of porridge, though. Thus, the second time I made it, I used half orange juice, instead of all water. Now, I’m not the biggest fan of fruit juices, but that’s mainly because I oppose the mainstream’s concept of it being a suitable alternative to whole, fresh fruit. I think there’s a major difference between viewing non-whole food as a treat (or in this case, a flavor enhancer) and viewing it as a staple in one’s diet. Take soy sauce, for example. It’s not something anyone eats for nutrition benefits, but it sure as heck adds great flavor to a stir-fry! Similarly, I do not view fruit juice as a nutritional addition to my diet…but a half-cup in my oatmeal to boost the flavor? Sure, why not.
However, when I’m back home, I will gladly make this with my usual mix of almond milk and water. 🙂
Oh, and one more thing: my mom, sister, and I are going to a play tonight. We’ll be staying in a hotel, and the website promises that their continental breakfast has hot cereals. I’m hoping that means they’ll have packets of plain, unflavored instant oatmeal, and I can spruce it up with the jams and fruits they have on hand. Wish me luck! 🙂
What you'll need:
- 1 cup milk of choice, or water or orange juice
- 1/2 cup rolled oats (I use Country Choice Organic)
- 1 orange
- 1/4 tsp almond extract
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp poppy seeds
- pinch of salt
- sliced almonds
How to make it:
- Bring milk (I used half orange juice, and half water. I highly recommend not using all water for this recipe) to a boil.
- While you're waiting for the liquid to come to a boil, this is an ideal time to "prep" your orange. Cut it in half across its mid-section, like you would for a grapefruit. Then, I take a paring knife and slide it down each side of every segment. That will make them easier to spoon out.
- When the liquid begins boiling, add oats, and reduce heat to medium.
- Spoon/cut out orange segments (from both halves) and add to the oatmeal. Stir.
- Once more of the liquid has absorbed, add both extracts, poppy seeds, and a pinch of salt.
- If you'd like to add any extra ingredients (coconut oil, raisins, dried cranberries, sunflower seeds), do so now.
- When you're pleased with the consistency of the oatmeal, transfer to a bowl. Serve with another splash of your milk of choice, sliced almonds, and any other additional toppings (shredded coconut, nuts, etc.). You could also top with orange zest.