My husband Rich and I have been trying to eat healthier. No more bacon, egg and cheese sandwiches for our weekend breakfasts! I’ve discovered steel-cut oats. I love the texture of the oats—nutty, crunchy, so good ! They are the healthiest variety of oats, but also take the longest to prepare. Crock-Pot to the rescue!! Since it’s just the two of us for breakfast, I purchased a small Crock-Pot just for the oats—a 1 1/2 to 2-quart size works great, plus they are inexpensive. I start the oats the night before and have a healthy breakfast in the AM. I add lots of good toppings, too!
- Be sure to spray the inside of the Crock-Pot with vegetable cooking spray. If not, the oatmeal forms a sticky crusty coating on the sides of the Crock-Pot.
- Add dried fruit such as cranberries, blueberries, raisins, pineapple, apricot, apples—the combinations are endless.
- Add nuts, flax seeds, toasted wheat germ, granola—be creative!
- You can also add fresh fruit. If I do, I get up a little early and add it about 1/2 hour before the oatmeal is done.
- I love adding brown sugar or a touch of maple syrup (okay, so much for being healthy!)
- If you have a large family, use a larger Crock-Pot and double or triple the recipe. To make a smaller amount as in this recipe, it is important to use the right size (smaller) Crock-Pot as specified above.
Here’s the recipe:
Makes 2 heaping servings
4 1/2 cups water
1 cup steel-cut oats
1/4 cup dried fruit
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Spray inside of 1 1/2 – 2 quart crockpot with vegetable cooking spray.
- Place all ingredients in Crock-Pot. Cover and cook on LOW for 8 hours.
I’ll never forget the first Banana Health Shake I enjoyed many years ago at Ellen’s Stardust Diner in NYC. Since then, I’ve often experimented with making my own breakfast smoothies. For me, coming up with the right combo of ingredients was not just about trying to eat healthier & losing a little weight… it really had to taste great, or I wouldn’t go through all the trouble. I discovered that one of the secret ingredients in Ellen’s shakes was toasted wheat germ. It added a bit of crunch to the shake, which I love, and is also an excellent source of vitamin E & folic acid. For fruit, I use bananas, strawberries, and blueberries. The trick is to freeze the fruit before blending, so that your shakes come out thick & cold. I like to prep about a weeks worth of fresh bananas & strawberries, so that I can make a shake in a matter of minutes. For ease, I use Wymann’s Fresh Frozen Wild Blueberries. I also add flax oil because of its high concentration of Omega-3′s. For protein, I use an all-natural vanilla whey powder, and to get my veggies, I add a scoop of Macro Greens ”Nutrient Rich Super Food Supplement.” When my photographer friend Francis first suggested I try Macro Greens, I was a bit leery about adding a veggie supplement. But after trying it, I was sold. So blend away, and by all means, experiment with different ingredient combinations of whatever makes you sing !
- For best flavor, allow bananas to ripen thoroughly before freezing.
- Wild blueberries are higher in antioxidants than cultivated blueberries.
- When fruit is out of season, blend in a packet of stevia, or a tablespoon of honey to sweeten the mix.
Here’s the recipe:
Makes 1 ( 18 oz. ) serving
1 cup skim milk
1 heaping scoop of vanilla flavored whey protein powder (about 3 tablespoons)
1 level scoop of Macro Greens (about 1 tablespoon)
2 tablespoons flax seed oil
1 tablespoon Mother’s Toasted Wheat Germ
1 packet stevia all-natural sweetener – Sweet Leaf or other brand (optional)
3 tablespoons frozen wild blueberries
5-6 strawberries, frozen
1 banana, peeled and frozen
-Place first 5 ingredients, plus sweetener (if using) into blender; blend for about 15 seconds.
-Add frozen fruit; blend until thick and smooth.