Although I love oatmeal and could eat it any time of the year, there is something so comforting about serving up a steaming hot bowl in the cooler seasons of fall and winter. Not only is oatmeal delicious, it's lest costly and much more nutritous than cold breakfast cereals (full of sugar, improper grain preparation, etc...), making it the ideal breakfast for families.
It is important to prepare in advance when making an oatmeal breakfast. To ensure optimum nutrition, oats must be soaked overnight to release phytates, a chemical in all whole grains that prevents nutrient absorption. To soak my oats, I place about 1 1/2 cup rolled oats in a mason jar, add enough water just to cover the top, my acid medium of choice for oats, 1 tsp. yogurt and about 3 tbsp. whole-wheat flour (not necessary, but helps break down phytates more quickly). You could also choose to use an acid medium of apple cider vinegar, lemon juice or kefir (like yogurt, only more liquidy) if you like, but I prefer to use the yogurt for oatmeal and save the vinegar and lemon juice for beans or other grains as they are more sour! Shake up all the ingreedients in the jar and set on your counter to soak all night. If I am adding any kind of nuts to my oatmeal, I add them with the rest of the ingreedients to let them soak all night as well. In the morning, just dump the entire contents of the jar into a pot; add additional cooking liquid if you like, or keep it as is for a more porridge consistency. Cover and allow to simmer about 5 minutes. Serve with your favorite toppings. My family likes dried cranberries, raisins, honey and milk, cinnamon, butter and sometimes even fried apples.