When we first started eating more consciously, that very first weekend I remember calling my dad from a grocery store near the beach, though it was off season, and asking him what the difference between steel cut oats and rolled oats was and which one was better for you. Then I saw Cheerios and asked if that was as good as oatmeal for heart health. I had no idea how to cook oats (instructions were on the back) or how a cereal could be made from oats rather than wheat. I never spent more time in the aisles reading and learning and googling and asking my dad what to do than that day.
The simple answer was that steel cut are the closest to how they’re found in nature. They’ve endured one less process than rolled oats. Steel cut oats are made from oat kernels that have been chopped into thick pieces. Rolled oats are from the same oat kernels, but have been steamed, rolled, steamed again and toasted, ending up as thin flakes. Then Cheerios were made from oat flour, which was basically rolled oats that undergo the process of being pulverized. The differences between rolled oats and steel cut oats are probably marginal. I bought both and now alternate between overnight oats (read this post for the full story of why we’re eating mostly plants now) which are made from the rolled version and these steel cut oats on weekends.
We’ve come such a long way since then, almost a year ago. Now when we go away, if we rent a car, I like to hit up all the grocery stores and thus avoid the NYC lines, stockpile pantry items at non-NYC prices and get the added benefit of not having to carry them 5-10 blocks (just a little double parking till one of us can run up the stairs). I’ll also bring my blender wherever we go to get our greens on. Eating well has become a pleasure.
This weekend we escaped to my favorite place, the Adirondack mountains to have some winter fun. I tried cross-country skiing for the first time and have the bruises to prove it. We climbed to the summit of Jay Mountain through lots of ice and freezing temperatures. But then we built a giant fire and made a cozy home in an Airbnb cottage in the middle of the mountains.
I had some leftover quinoa from the three bean chili I made the night before so I combined it with the steel cut oats and loaded the mix with frozen fruit, coconut, granola and sprouted seeds. Protein packed and cozy, this is my new winter go-to. While in NYC it’s warm, up in the mountains, I got to experience -12F and let me tell you, you feel that….until you can’t. Which is where this bowl comes in. Sometimes it’s cold enough to just stay in and watch a movie. I forced my husband to finally watch Forks Over Knives. He actually enjoyed it. My firefighter brother watched it too and he’s now all about being plant strong.
And speaking of advocacy, yesterday my clients of two and a half years, a mother and her two young boys applying for political asylum from violent gang activity in Honduras finally had their hearing and they were granted asylum by the judge after years of preparation and waiting. The government waived its right to appeal, so they are safely out of removal proceedings. I’m so happy for them and so relieved. I spent so much time and effort on this case and I’m just happy that this chapter of their journey is behind them.
I hope you all have a wonderful weekend! Snow is in the forecast here and this oat and quinoa mix is the perfect complement to cozy.
STEEL-CUT OATS & QUINOA BREAKFAST BOWL
- 1 cup steel cut oats
- 1 cup red quinoa
- 4-5 cups water
Toppings (optional) :
- sprouted seeds
- unsweetened shredded coconut
- fruits (fresh or frozen
Combine the water, quinoa and oats in a medium pot over medium to high heat. Bring to a boil and then lower heat to medium. Cover partially. Let cook for about 20 mins, stirring from time to time. As the mixture begins to thicken lower the heat to low and cover fully until water is fully absorbed. If you like it creamier add more water. If you like it dry let cook till all the water is absorbed. Serve warm in bowls and add optional toppings as desired.