Sunday, March 1, 2009

Fresh Strawberry Oatmeal

As an avid runner, oatmeal is more than just a delicious and nutritious breakfast food. It's a training tool. When I am running high mileage weeks, eating becomes less of a pleasure and more of a science. What to eat, how much to eat and, most of all, when to eat. Life can be a delicate balance when you are pushing yourself to exhaustion on the roads, but want to avoid sugar headaches and chemical-laden 'energy bars'.

Usually, my breakfasts consist of sauteed vegetables and an egg with some fruit. It's delicious, filling and good for me. But this week, I really amped up the mileage. A couple of days in, and I could tell my normal nutrition just wasn't cutting it. I needed more carbs. I was craving them. So after a particularly beautiful morning run, I went back to the breakfast drawing board.

Check out that sky, and that beautiful running friend!

I have to admit. I'm a bit of a purist when it comes to oatmeal. I don't believe in making it savory, and I don't mix up my recipe. My oatmeal, developed by watching my grandfather for years, is made with milk. I add almonds and raisins and a little honey. It's delicious, and perfect. But, it's also a little heavy. A little too heavy for my delicate after-run stomach.

So instead of my normal recipe, today I grabbed a pint of strawberries and used the microwave. The result was amazing. If you like oatmeal at all, you have to try it. You do. Come now, it only takes 5 minutes.

I keep thinking of variations. Maybe apple/cinnamon oatmeal? Pear and cardamom? What about adding orange zest? Let me know what you try!

Fresh Strawberry Oatmeal
Serves 1

What You'll Need:
1 small bowl, or large coffee mug
A microwave

1/3 cup oats (may use instant, I didn't)
3-4 fresh strawberries, diced finely
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp honey (optional)
1/2 cup milk

What You'll Do:
In your small bowl or mug, fill the bottom with sliced strawberries. Over the top of fruit, sprinkle spices and honey. Add in oats over the top of strawberries, and pour in milk. You want to make sure there is enough milk added to cover the top of the oatmeal. At this point,there is no need to stir your mixture.

Place your cup in the microwave. Cook on high for 3-5 minutes. Watch carefully. As your oatmeal cooks, the strawberry goodness will rise up and bubble out. Don't let it overflow, it can be a disaster to clean off the bottom of your microwave. Remove from the microwave and stir. You may need to cook an additional minute or two after the initial bubbling.

Wait for oatmeal to cool slightly and add another tablespoon or so of cold milk. Stir well and enjoy!

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