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Raisin Spice Oatmeal

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When I was growing up, breakfast was a fairly predictable pattern – cereal in the summer and fall, instant oatmeal (or, as we called it, hot cereal) in the winter and spring.  When I stayed over at my grandma’s house and had her oatmeal, it was always a fantastic treat – of course, I later realized that she made hers from whole rolled oats rather than a package, which was why it was so good.  In an effort to incorporate more whole grains into my eating,  I have been eating more oatmeal lately, and I’m remembering how much I loved real oatmeal as a kid.  In experimenting with different ways to flavor my oatmeal these days, I remembered my childhood favorite flavor of “hot cereal” – Raisins & Spice.  The following is a combination of my new method of cooking oatmeal and my old favorite flavor – a perfect fusion of creamy oats, juicy raisins and warming spices.  Enjoy!

Raisin Spice Oatmeal

Ingredients for a single serving of oatmeal
1/3 cup raisins
1 tablespoon agave nectar
scant 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch nutmeg

  • Follow the instructions on the packaging of the oats you buy (I used Quaker today, but I also like McCann’s and the Whole Foods 365 Organic Rolled Oats) to make a single serving of oatmeal.
  • Take off heat and stir in agave nectar, raisins and spices.  Taste and make adjustments as needed.

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Yield: Serves 1

Source: Inspired by Quaker Instant Oatmeal, Raisins & Spice.

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Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  How many times have we heard that one?  It might just be that the truest truisms are also the most often repeated, because breakfast really is important.  It jump-starts your metabolism for the day, fills you up so that you are less likely to overindulge at lunch or on snacks, and provides a foundation for healthy eating throughout the day.  For me, breakfast is especially important because I am a morning person, and I need that jolt of nutrition to power my running around until 1:00 or so.  But I don’t really care for cereal – so where does that leave me?  Usually, I grab a yogurt out of the fridge in the morning, stir some granola into it at my desk at work, and get going.  But there are some mornings when I need something special, something homemade, something that reminds me of the weekend.  And it doesn’t hurt if it’s healthy, too.  That’s where muffins come in.  I load them up with fruit and whole grains and bask in the fiber I’m getting – and these are perfect, only very lightly sweet, with bits of juicy peach floating throughout.  If I close my eyes, I can even convince myself that it’s Saturday morning.  Then my desk phone rings and shatters the fantasy… but at least I’ve still got a muffin.

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Peach Oatmeal Muffins

1 cup white whole wheat (or all-purpose) flour
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
2/3 cup old-fashioned oats
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup honey (or pure maple syrup)
2 large eggs
1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3 peaches, peeled and diced

  • Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Fit paper liners into a 12-well muffin tin.  Place the muffin tin on a baking sheet.
  • Whisk together flours, oats, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.  In another bowl, whisk together buttermilk, honey, eggs and melted butter.  Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and stir to blend.  Stir in diced peaches.  Scatter additional oats over top of muffins, if desired.
  • Divide batter evenly amongst muffin wells and bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until the tops are golden and a toothpick inserted into the center of one of the muffins comes out clean.  Cool for 5 minutes in the muffin tin, then lift muffins out and cool on a rack.

Source: Loosely Adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s “Great Grains Muffins”

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