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Eat Oatmeal, Slurp Soup, and Drink Hot Tea in January!

January is National Oatmeal Month at CHEFScatalog.com
January 13, 2014

When I was a kid, my parents couldn’t get me to eat oatmeal in any form for love nor money. I disliked the sticky, pasty consistency of the version that was often dished up for breakfast. The few times that I gave in to eat oatmeal it was usually in cookie form.

My opinion of the mighty oat changed in college, when I experienced steel-cut oats. Honestly, I probably would have never given them a second look, but I was hungry, extremely cold, and had yet discovered a love of coffee. A friend handed me a bowl of the stuff.

The nutty flavor of the steel-cut oats changed my opinion about oatmeal pretty quick. It has become one of my favorite cold-morning breakfasts. I eventually learned to like rolled oats, and use it in cookies often.

What’s the difference in steel cut and rolled oats?  Steel-cut oats (aka Scotch oats or Irish oatmeal or pinhead oats) are unrefined and closely resemble the natural oat grain. The hulled grain, called a groat, is simply sliced. For rolled oats (regular or old-fashioned) the groats have been steamed and rolled, reducing the cooking time to approximately 15 minutes. Quick oats, are groats that have been cut into pieces and rolled even finer to cook faster, about 5 minutes. Instant oats are made with cut groats that have been precooked and dried before being rolled. most instant oatmeal is packaged with salt, sugar and other flavorings.

One thing to note about recipes and oatmeal: old-fashioned and quick oats can be interchanged in recipes. Instant oats cannot be interchanged for quick or old-fashioned oats.

Top 5 reasons to eat oats

  1. Oatmeal is very high in fiber: It will keep you feeling full for a long period of time.
  2. Oatmeal also has the highest protein content of all cereals: This makes it a great post workout meal.
  3. Health benefits: Oatmeal may help reduce the risk for type 2 diabetes (according to the American Diabetes Association; reduce high blood pressure and risks of heart disease (according to the American Heart Association), and reduce the risk of certain cancers (according to the American Cancer Association). Talk about your super foods!
  4. Oatmeal is quick and convenient: Great for breakfasts or snacks on the go. And savory versions make a great side dish.
  5. Oatmeal is yummy! What better reason could there be?

Other January food holidays

In addition to oatmeal, January is also National Soup Month, Soup Swap Month, and Hot Tea Month! As far as I'm concerned, every month could be National Soup Month. But, according to the website Gone-ta-pott-com, although the month is an American holiday, it is gaining traction elsehwhere. Why? "Because everybody loves soups and every country is famous for their own soups. Because of the Internet, the whole world can connect with one another and share many different soup recipes."

January is National Soup Month and Soup Swap Month at CHEFScatalog.com But, what I really love is the idea of swapping soup with neighbors, friends, and family members! What is a soup swap and how does it work? Again, Gone-ta-pott provides the answer:

  • A soup swap is when friends, family, neighbors or even organizations get together and share in a meal of homemade soup. Each person brings a pot of soup and at the end of the meal, everyone exchanges bags or containers of soup. The idea is to help everyone fill their freezers with many different soups to help get through the cold winter months. (Learn more about Soup Swap Month.)

Is that not a wonderful idea? If you decide to participate in Soup Swap Month (you'll have to hurry!), let us know how it goes. We can see all sorts of families, civic organizations, houses of worship, and more participating.

Finally, Hot Tea Month. I admit, I'm not much of a hot tea drinker, but bring on that Southern Sweet Iced Tea! Still, with health benefits like these I may have to change my mind:

  • "Studies show that tea aids in the ongoing battle of the bulge and increases the body's immunity to colds and flu. Three cups of black tea per day produced five times the amount of germ-fighting cells. (Tea also) contains antioxidants, substances that can reduce oxidative damage in the body, helping maintain healthy cells and tissues. So drink your hot tea everyone. It not only tastes good, but it's good for you!

Still need more?

January is full of food celebration days such as: National Strawberry Ice Cream Day (Jan. 15), National Peking Duck Day (Jan. 18), National Peanut Butter Day (Jan. 24), and National Corn Chip Day (Jan. 29). See them all.

Here are a few oatmeal-based recipes to try.

Print Dark Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies recipe at CHEFScatalog.comDark Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

Adapted from Bev’s Chocolate Chip Cookies @Eating Well

Ingredients

1-1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats, ground

1 cup almond flour

1 cup whole-wheat flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup butter, softened

2/3 cup brown sugar

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cups dark chocolate chips, 60 percent cacao

1 cup pecans, chopped

Cooking Instructions

KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixer at CHEFScatalog.com Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat 2 baking sheets with cooking spray.

Grind oats in a blender or food processor. Transfer to a medium bowl and stir in almond flour, whole-wheat flour, baking soda and salt.

Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, cream together butter and sugar until fluffy. Add egg and vanilla; beat until smooth and creamy. With the mixer running on low, add the dry ingredients, until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts.

Drop the dough by heaping teaspoonfuls, at least 1 inch apart, onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake cookies, 12 to 15 minutes until light golden brown. Cool the cookies for 2 minutes on the baking sheets, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Store in air tight container. Makes 4 dozen

Print Steel-Cut Oatmeal with Apples and Cinnamon recipe at CHEFScatalog.comSteel-Cut Oatmeal with Apples and Cinnamon

Ingredients

2 tablespoons butter

1 cup steel cut oats

2 apples, peeled, cored and cut into ½-inch pieces

3 cups boiling water

1/2 cup whole milk

1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Cooking Instructions

In a large sauce pot, melt butter. Add the oats and stir for 2 minutes to toast. Add apples and stir to combine. Add the boiling water and reduce heat to a simmer. Keep at a low simmer for 25 minutes, without stirring.

Add milk, buttermilk, sugar and cinnamon. Stir, gently, to combine. Cook for an additional 10 minutes. Spoon into a serving bowl.

To reheat, place 1 cup cooked oatmeal in microwave proof bowl. Stir in 1/3 cup buttermilk. Microwave in 1 minute increments, stirring between, until hot.

Overnight Variation Using Slow Cooker

Use a 3-1/2 quart or larger slow cooker. Spray the inside of the crock with nonstick spray. Add all ingredients in the crock. Set slow cooker to cook on low for 6 to7 hours.

Print Fruit and Nut Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies recipe at CHEFScatalog.comFruit and Nut Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies

Ingredients

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temp

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar

2 large eggs, beaten

1/2 cup applesauce

1 teaspoon vanilla

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 cups rolled oats

1 cup diced dried fruit

3/4 cup chopped walnuts

Cooking Instructions

CHEFS Stainless Steel Mixing Bowl Set at CHEFScatalog.com Preheat oven to 350 F. In large mixing bowl, cream together sugar and butter with an electric mixer until light and creamy. Add eggs, applesauce, and vanilla; beat well.

Add flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt; mix well.

Fold in oats, dried fruit, and nuts until combined.

Drop cookie dough by large rounded tablespoonfuls on to silicon-lined cookie sheets (or spray with non-stick vegetable oil), press with the back of a fork to slightly flatten. Bake 15-20 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.

Cool for a few minutes on the pan, and then transfer to a wire rack. Cool completely before storing in an airtight container or cookie jar.

Print Steel-Cut Oatmeal Pilaf recipe at CHEFScatalog.comSteel-Cut Oatmeal Pilaf

Adapted from McCann’s Irish Oatmeal Pilaf

Ingredients

1 cup McCann’s Steel Cut Irish Oatmeal

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup onion, diced

1/2 cup fennel, diced

2 tablespoons celery, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced

1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme, minced

1/2 teaspoon fresh marjoram, minced

3 cups vegetable broth, warmed

salt & pepper to taste

1 cup red bell pepper, diced

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Cooking Instructions

January is National Oatmeal Month at CHEFScatalog.com Preheat oven to 400 F.

Distribute oats evenly over a baking sheet with sides. Place in preheated 400° oven and toast for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.

Heat olive oil in a heavy saucepan over medium high heat. When hot, stir in onion, fennel, celery, garlic, and herbs. Sauté for 4 minutes or until vegetables are soft.

Add oats and stir to combine. Stir in warm broth. Raise heat and bring to a boil. When boiling, lower heat. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Cover and simmer for 25 minutes or until broth has been absorbed and the oats are just tender. Remove from heat and stir in red pepper and pepper flakes. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper, if necessary. Serve hot.

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Tags: Oatmeal, Breakfast, Cookies, Food Holidays

Categories: Food & Recipes