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Breakfast: Hearty, thick-cut oats

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The Northwest is experiencing a frigid arctic blast of below freezing temperatures. The body is slow to get going in the morning and needs to be warmed up with good eats.

Bowls of steamy hot oatmeal have been gracing kitchen tables, thanks to The Quaker Mill Company since the late 1800’s. However, the grain itself dates back almost to infinity, or more accurately, around 2000 BC.

Oats are grown world-wide in some of the poorest of soil conditions. They are loaded with nutritional goodies like fiber, manganese and zinc, to name a few of oatmeal’s credentials. Heart-health benefits and cholesterol-lowering properties set aside, oats taste fabulous, due in part to roasting of the grain after harvest.

Oatmeal in a little flavor-added packet is okay in a pinch. On the other hand, it only takes a few minutes to cook old-fashioned rolled oats, and long-cooking steel-cut oatmeal can be placed in a slow-cooker overnight. Talk about instant breakfast in the morning.

Bob’s Red Mill has a plethora of oats to choose from, thick-cut oats being one of the varieties. Slightly chewier and nuttier, this type is hearty and toothsome. Try them with the addition of pears, almonds and a sprinkle of ginger. The Quaker site offers a recipe featuring apples, bacon and cheddar cheese. Here’s the latest craze in our home:

Thick-Cut Oats with Apples and Pumpkin Pie Spice
(serves 2)

2 cups water
1 cup thick-cut oats (or type of choice)
Pinch of salt
1 large apple, diced in ½ inch chunks
¼ cup chopped, toasted walnuts
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
½ cup vanilla yogurt

Bring water and salt to a boil and add oats, reduce heat. Cook 2 to 3 minutes until oats are al dente and most of the water is absorbed. Divide between two bowls and top each with apple, walnuts, yogurt and pumpkin pie spice. Stir and enjoy.

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