A thrilling and arousing event took place on Friday, my friends: it snowed in Houston! A rare sight in our subtropical part of the world, it caused squeals of excitement that could be heard all the way from the end of the street! The earliest snowfall in any year on record, some areas near Galveston received as much as one to three inches. Quite an experience for some kids who have only seen the white powder in pictures.
The following (cold and icy) morning our droopy roses looking like they were made of crystallized sugar.
And the clouds gave way to beautiful crystal clear skies.
With all the Holiday parties, cookie exchanges and baking, it’s a good idea to make sure that one’s system is moving, if you know what I mean! Oatmeal is a heartwarming way to start the day, especially when you’ve braved a snow storm and sub zero temperatures, such as we have!
I like to use Scottish oats because they are ‘steel-cut’ and minimally processed . The oat groats are ground into a coarse meal, resulting in a chewy, yet creamy oatmeal. Irish oats (also steel-cut) are coarser, and must be cooked longer. Steel cut oats differ from rolled (old-fashioned) oats because rolled oats are groats that have been flattened and softened into flakes which are then steamed, thus allowing them to cook quicker. High in iron, protein and fiber, it is best to cook steel-cut oats al dente to maintain their nutritional benefits. Instant oats are precooked, prefabricated and dried and provide far fewer nutritional benefits. The faster the oats cook, the quicker they will cause a spike in insulin - so don’t bother with Instant oats at all, plus the packets are loaded with way too much sugar.
Fresh cranberries are a staple in my refrigerator at this time of year, but they can and should be eaten year round - they freeze well and maintain their juices and flavor. I must be one of the few crazy people who can tolerate their tartness and eat them raw…pucker! I’m always looking for new and inventive ways to incorporate them into our meals and desserts, other than with the standard turkey or ham stay tuned for more recipes. They are loaded with Vitamin C and are high in fiber and when made into a tangy compote, they will perk up your everyday oatmeal!
Scottish oatmeal for two
½ cup Scottish oatmeal (I like Bob’s Red Mill, available in many grocery stores)
pinch of salt
1½ cups cold water
pinch of ground cinnamon
Whisk oatmeal, salt and water in a small pot and bring to a boil on medium heat. Reduce heat to low and allow oatmeal to cook for about 8 - 10 minutes, whisking occasionally. Remove from heat and serve with cinnamon, Cranberry-orange compote and a little milk, if you so wish.
Cranberry-orange compote for two
½ cup fresh cranberries
1- 2 tablespoons white or brown sugar
zest from about half an orange
¼ cup water
Place all ingredients in a small pot and stir to combine. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and cook for about 8 minutes or until the cranberries are soft and the compote has thickened.
Serve hot with Scottish oatmeal.
I couldn’t resist grating some extra orange zest on top of it all!