I confess that I am a serial cerealist. I’ve been eating the same boxed cereal for years (and years and years). There have been periods in my life, when my cooking skills were underdeveloped and my interest in food in its infancy, where I would sometimes eat said cereal for two meals a day (hey undergrad). If asked, I’ve ever been able to say what my favorite food is, but I don’t think there is any other food that I could eat day after day without the slightest fatigue. I’ve even gotten others addicted.
But I’ve had guilt over the whole thing as well. I like making my food from scratch most of the time, and I try to avoid giving lots of money to big corporations that I don’t really care for. And the stuff is so darn expensive. I don’t want to think about all the money I’ve spent on cereal over the past 10 years.
A couple of years ago I tried switching to oatmeal for breakfast but found that it left me in moderate GI discomfort by the afternoon. I recently revisited oatmeal, however, and found a method that solves both my cereal dependence and my oatmeal sub-tolerance. I believe, though it’s just an educated conjecture, that by soaking the oats in a milky yogurt bath overnight, the cultures in the yogurt break down some of the fermentable fibers in the oats and make it easier to digest. The dates dissolve into the oatmeal and sweeten it almost like brown sugar, while the raisins give a pop of fruity sweetness, and the pecans provide a nutty crunch for some texture variety. I’ve been taking a jar to work with me in the mornings for my 9 am second breakfast, and it keeps me full until lunch. It’s delicious, quick, and well tolerated.
Overnight Oatmeal with Dates, Raisins, & Pecans
- 1 c rolled old-fashioned oats
- 2/3 c plain, unsweetened yogurt
- 1/3 c milk, plus more to your taste
- 2 Medjool dates, pitted, chopped small
- 1.5 tbs raisins
- 1/8 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 c pecan halves
The night before you plan to eat your oatmeal: In a medium bowl add the oats, yogurt, milk, dates, raisins, vanilla, and a pinch of salt. Mix well. Transfer to a pint jar or other lidded container and refrigerate overnight.
The morning of: Place the pecans in a dry skillet and toast over medium heat until the nuts are fragrant and have darkened in color. Remove from the pan, let cool, and then roughly chop.
This oatmeal can be eaten cold or warm. If you prefer it warm, heat the oatmeal gently through in a small saucepan or in the microwave. Add more milk or water if you like your oatmeal thinner like I do. Divide between two bowls and top with the toasted pecans. You won’t miss the boxed cereal.