Making up for lost time
For most of my life, I've given oatmeal the cold shoulder. Called it names like gummy, mushy, and even gross. I tried some once or twice as a kid, back when I thought Fruit Rollups were the best food on the planet and couldn't stand it. I preferred oatmeal cookies, preferably with chocolate chips, or golden brown granola, with crunchy, toasted oats.
But about a month ago, I decided to give oatmeal another chance. I needed new things to feed Nico since he was requesting peanut butter and jelly sandwiches around the clock. My friend Whitney suggested oatmeal, telling me how much she and her son Liam love it. Nico, my name-changing child, often insists we call him Liam. When he does, he refers to me as Whitney, Leo becomes Liam's baby sister June, and Daniel is Justin, Liam's dad. So, when I served a bowl of warm oatmeal dotted with dates and apples one morning and went on and on about how it was Liam's breakfast of choice, Nico dug right in and dramatically praised each bite. When I tried some, I finally saw what all the fuss is about.
I referred to this recipe from the kitchn. I liked the idea of sizzling some apples and letting them release their juices. Now I seem to have some every day and think it's a good breakfast, lunch, or snack, especially when you've sworn off sweets for 40 days and need something to fill the void. Thick rolled oats probably caused my sudden change of heart and using milk in place of water. I like mine a little soupy and since I can't add sugar to anything for a few more weeks, I've been playing around with all sorts of mix-ins (prunes! blueberries! pears! bananas!). They act as natural sweeteners, but I know I'll be ready to break out the maple syrup and brown sugar soon.