Monday, November 22, 2010

An Ode to Oats (and other musings)

Ah, oats...

The ultimate comfort food that can be granola-fied...

made into a satisfying snack to go...

or cookies...

pancake bites...

or a simple sidekick to eggs in the morning...

Whether you make them sweet or savory, rolled oats are one of the cheapest and most versatile ingredients you can keep in your kitchen.

So do yourself a favor and get on it!

Your taste buds and hot bod will thank you.

Health benefits of rolled oats (i'm not talking instant, people) include:

  • Reducing your risk of heart disease by lowering your LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. Thank you, soluble fiber!
  • They're a great source of insoluble fiber which contains cancer-fighting properties and keeps your system movin' right along.
  • Since they're "slow release carbohydrates," they're great for maintaining blood sugar levels and serve as the perfect muscle building fuel for all your mini meat heads in training out there.

In honor of my love for the little grain, I spent a large portion of my day preparing it in a couple different forms.

First? A perfect breakfast for this uber-chilly, central heat-less LA morning at home...

Pumpkin-Banana-Protein-Spiced Oats

(another thing that's so great about raw oats: you can add almost ANYTHING and they'll taste fabulous)

Into the saucepan went:

1/2 cup almond milk

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup rolled oats

1 dollop of pumpkin puree

1 sliced banana

1 tsp cinnamon

1 1/2 Tbs protein powder

1 1/2 Tbs flax meal

Bring to a boil while stirring, then reduce heat and watch pot carefully- stir often.

Pour into bowl and revel in the season-appropriate orange tint...

Then add nut of choice or whatever your heart desires... (brown sugar is delightful)

They kept me warm and full throughout a grueling workout and then some.

This afternoon, my second- albeit lackluster- attempt came in the form of:

Muesli Granola Bars

from this recipe on Kath's blog.

With a little over 3 grams of fiber and 5.4 grams of protein, they certainly looked more filling and blood sugar-stabilizing than your average sweet treat.

Put all the mixin's together in a large bowl,

including dried peaches...

... Perdy... these are pre-diced, of course.

Dump it all onto a parchment-lined pan

And spread in a zen-like manner (maybe that's just me)

Put them in the oven for 30 minutes, et voila:

Homemade granola bars.

How do they taste?

Mehhh, they're not quite sweet enough for these buds, but that's easily fixable next time around. The consistency was a little chewier than I expected, but that was no doubt my glitchy oven.

Alas, not everything can turn out perfect.

So about that blog news...

I'm sure this will be the most anticlimactic thing you've heard all... hour.

Simply and cryptically put: be prepared to see some big changes here at Stepping to the Brightside come 2011.

I want to make this little corner of the internet a place where we can all come to share, browse, learn and escape from the daily grind.

In order to do that, I'll be organizing the site differently, as well as changing the general layout and themes. Have no fear- it'll still be chock-full of health tips and food pics, just with a little added spice.

I know this doesn't leave you with much to go on but trust me: it's going to be AWESOME!

I hope you'll come along for the ride.

Until tomorrow, xoxo

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