Oatmeal, champion breakfast, gets by with a little help from some friends

There is something remarkably comforting about a hot breakfast.

I need coffee just to get myself started in the morning.  On a cold morning like this one, a hot breakfast helps me ease into the day.

Oatmeal does the job: it’s easy to make, takes very little time and warms the belly.  It’s also a breakfast you can feel good about, packed with nutrients, health benefits, and the filling-power needed to keep a grazer like me satisfied till lunch. By itself, oatmeal can be more than a little boring—bland and a bit soupy.

With the help of a few friends—fruit, nuts, brown sugar and cinnamon—oatmeal gets a boost in flavor and texture.  Plus it makes you feel like you’re eating a real breakfast, instead of a bowl of blah. And no one wants to start the day feeling blah.

My method: Cook the oatmeal as directed on the package. Turn off the heat, and add the flavor: cinnamon (a sprinkle), brown sugar (about a teaspoon), and the fruit (I like a lot, so I add about a cup).  Cover and let rest for about 2 minutes, then serves with a sprinkle of chopped or sliced nuts (this morning, it was almonds for me).  Eat happily.  You’re ready to conquer the day.

Other terrific add-ins for morning oatmeal:

Mashed banana, made even better with chopped walnuts

Sliced banana, cooked with a touch of butter and brown sugar

Chopped apple, raw or roasted with cinnamon (my preference)

Pears, same preparation

Any combination of fresh berries

Maple syrup

Nutmeg (a really light touch – nutmeg is powerful stuff)

Honey & a couple drops of vanilla extract

Chopped dried fruit—apricot and cherries make a great combination–plus brown sugar

Toasted wheat germ

A spoonful of your favorite jam



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