I spent a week in Washington DC on business travel eating garbage. I don’t mean literal garbage, of course, but I did eat fast food nearly every night. No. It was every night. And it may have been “gourmet” fast food but it was fast food nonetheless. In fact, I ate Shake Shack twice! My last night there I gave up on not having fast food for the fifth night in a row after walking around downtown DC in the pouring rain going in and then immediately out of any decent looking sit-down restaurant I could find. They were all packed!
So I gave up and took the Metro back to Union Station and bought my second and last meal of Shake Shack for the trip. Then, when I got back to my hotel (Shake Shack bag and Crumbs bag in tow), a guy riding up in the elevator commented on my choice of dinner. I’m sure he was just trying to make conversation and I believed him to be somewhat tipsy but still I turned to him and said: Look. Don’t judge the fact that I have had Shake Shack twice in one week. This was a hard week. And this is my reward for passing an exam today. I said this jokingly but with a straight face. He looked bemused when he clarified that he was not judging me but was more jealous that I was eating Shake Shack and he wasn’t. He departed the floor before mine. My friend pointed out that in a rom-com I would have suggested another night that week where I could have my third meal of Shake Shack and invited him to join me before he got off the elevator. Ha!
I digress. After eating garbage all week long I began dreaming about eating healthy food to compensate. I will admit that it’s easier for me to eat something healthy if I feel like it’s also slightly indulgent. So I began dreaming about food that would be both. I came up with this oatmeal recipe sorta based on the fact that oatmeal was served for us the last day of our conference (with all sorts of toppings to dress it up) and the fact that oatmeal drowning in butter, brown sugar and half-and-half was described in a book I began reading on the flight home. It seemed like Kismet or some sort of sign for me to eat oatmeal, at the least.
So I figured I could add a small amount of butter, brown sugar and half-and-half into regular old morning oatmeal and then healthify it with superfoods to make a protein and fiber packed steaming morning bowl of cooked oats.
This bowl is relatively high calorie (almost 500 calories) but should keep you full about four hours. (That’s how long it was until I got hungry anyway.)
- 1/2 c. rolled oats
- pinch of salt
- 1 c. water
- 1 to 2 T. half-and-half (or your milk of choice)
- 1/2 T. butter (optional)
- 1/2 T. dark brown sugar (or your preferred sweetener)
- 1 T. hulled hemp hearts
- 1 T. ground flaxseed
- 1 T. chia seeds
- 1/2 oz dried goji berries
- acai berries or powder, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, dried mulberries and goldenberries, cacao nibs, coconut, almonds, cashews, walnuts, pistachios, sunflower seeds, and pepitas are other superfoods and nuts/seeds you could use, too
- Cook oatmeal according to standard directions. You should be able to find directions on the canister of oats you purchased but if you buy oats in bulk (like I do) you can used this basic recipe from Better Homes and Gardens. I made mine in a microwaveable bowl. I added the oats, salt and water to the bowl, covered with wax paper, and cooked the oatmeal on high for about two minutes two to three minutes. Note that you want your oatmeal to be somewhat running when you pull it out of the microwave because it will firm up as it sits. So if it’s dry when you pull it out, it’s only going to get more dry as it sits. No worries – just add more milk to up the creaminess factor.
- Top oatmeal with brown sugar, butter and half-and-half. Stir to incorporate. Stir in your superfoods. Adjust the creaminess by adding additional milk, if needed. Enjoy!
I considered adding protein powder to this recipe to increase the protein but didn’t for two reasons: 1) I wanted to use ingredients that added both protein and fiber 2) I don’t like the taste of protein powder. It makes things taste like … protein powder. This recipe has approximately 15 grams of protein and 14 grams of fiber, which I thought was pretty good for a breakfast that doesn’t contain eggs or meat!
You can easily and quickly make this meal before you head off for work. Or, if you’re like me and you do not wake up hungry, prepare some dishes the night before to take with you to work. You’ll need a container for the oats and salt (I used a mason jar), a container for the wet toppings (butter and milk) and a container for the dry ingredients (sugar and superfoods). Just add water and microwave while at work and you can have your warm oats with superfoods at your desk in the morning.