make the oatmeal from scratch it's the Guide to Living

Trust me, you’re worth the effort – and by effort I mean you’ll have to clean a pan in addition to a bowl – big deal.

My take on a recipe from The Captious Vegitarian – updated August 2012

Bring to a boil in a small saucepan:

1 cup rolled oats
just under 2 cups of liquid (milk, soymilk, water, or a combination)
1/4 cup mixed dried cranberries and golden raisins chopped
2/3 tsp. vanilla extract
1 Tbs. brown sugar
1 tsp. either/or both pumpkin pie spice/chai seasoning blend

Turn the heat down to medium but keep at a steady simmer, stirring occasionally. If the oatmeal starts to splatter, turn the heat down a little more. Cook until liquid starts to turn creamy, and individual flakes are just starting to break down. The original recipe suggested putting a pinch of salt in before the oatmeal started to boil, Alton Brown suggests not putting in the salt until the end because it prohibits the thickening action; When I Alton’s suggestion my oatmeal cooked faster and got creamier so save a pinch of salt for the end of your cook time.

For variety try adding one (or more) of the following:

shredded coconut (unsweetened)
chopped nuts or seeds – whole or sliced almonds, hemp hearts, pecans, walnuts, etc. (I like chopped pecans which I toss in to soften as the oatmeal cooks)
raisins or other dried fruit
fresh fruit (bananas, apples,…)
use almond or other nut extract instead of the vanilla
cocoa nibs or chocolate chips

I usually double this recipe and divide it up between a “bowl for now” and 5 small containers to take to work for breakfast. I love this recipe and I’m just as happy to eat it cold as hot.