Perfect Overnight Oatmeal

Simple, overnight soaked oats: ready when you are

Simple breakfasts are often the best. Soaked, overnight oatmeal, topped with just a few real ingredients, is at the top of my list. It's at the top of my kids' list too. Last time I made this, my oldest got off her stool, walked over to me, and hugged me from behind. She was that happy about warm oatmeal in the morning. 

Oats, comforting oats

Growing up, I normally ate the packets of instant oatmeal. I loved those, because I loved sugar. Occasionally we would have real oatmeal in a pot, and I loved that even more. Swimming in milk, cinnamon and raisins, it was such a comfort. My girls and I like to top our oatmeal with butter or cream, toasted walnuts, raisins and cinnamon. They have a bowl or two; I stick to a small serving alongside my eggs.

The breakfast that guarantees hugs from my daughters

What is phytic acid?

As I've learned more about food and health over the years, I have realized that it is important to soak your oats before cooking them. Since oats are grains, and grains are seeds, they contain something called phytic acid. This phytic acid prevents your body from absorbing certain nutrients such as iron, zinc and calcium. The phytic acid can also cause digestive upset. 

Oats are a traditional food, but much of the traditional wisdom has been forgotten as we've handed over our breakfast options to cereal manufacturers. Now people are starting to relearn the traditional ways of preparing food. Oatmeal is no exception.

My oats, after soaking them overnight

How to soak

It is simple to soak your oats ahead of time. Combine the dry oats with warm, filtered water and a splash of something acidic, such as vinegar, whey or lemon juice. Let the mixture sit overnight or up to twenty-four hours ahead of time. When you are ready to cook them, add a bit more water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about five minutes. Turn off the heat and add butter or cream. It is important to add some fat to oatmeal to help your body absorb the nutrients.

Now, it's your turn

What will you add to your overnight, soaked oatmeal? As classic as the cinnamon and raisin combination is, there are some other wonderful options. One of our favorites is peanut butter and banana. A couple of tablespoons of peanut butter, half of a banana or more and some chopped peanuts make a delicious breakast. Blueberries and maple syrup with butter is another great option. Finally, diced apples sauteed in butter and spooned on top of a bowl of warm oatmeal is another favorite. How will you make yours?

Plan ahead and grab your ingredients

Don't forget to start this recipe ahead of time; the oats need at least twelve hours to soak.

After a long soak, they're ready in five.

Perfect Overnight Oatmeal

Serves 2

1 cup oats
2 cups filtered water (divided)
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, lemon juice or whey
pinch salt
raisins, cream, cinnamon and walnuts for topping

1. The night before or up to 24 hours before, combine oats, 1 cup water and apple cider vinegar. Let them soak.
2. When you are ready to cook the oats, add 1 cup of water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, stir once, then reduce heat and simmer for five minutes. 
3. Divide oatmeal between two bowls, add butter or cream and your choice of toppings.

Other breakfast options