January has been deemed National Oatmeal Month for the simple reason that more oatmeal is consumed during this time than during any other month. It makes sense since January is a month of cooler, or down right freezing temperatures, depending on location, making us long for foods to warm us up, as well as a month of new beginnings which tend to consist of resolutions to lose weight or lower LDL (the “bad”) cholesterol – both of which oatmeal is helpful in doing! Other health benefits of oatmeal include: control of blood glucose levels, reduced risk of certain cancers, and perhaps even reduced blood pressure.
In honor of National Oatmeal month, today I am sharing my Wintertime Oatmeal recipe (check out my Fall and Summer oatmeal recipes too)….Peppermint Hot Chocolate Oatmeal. I love oatmeal and I love peppermint hot chocolate so I decided to combine the two and see what happened. Well the result was quite tasty – certainly the most unique oatmeal I have ever had! However, I am not enough of a chocolate lover to start my mornings like this on a regular basis! Chocoholics may feel differently though!
Ingredients (for 2 servings):
- 1.75 cups soy milk (or milk of choice)
- 1 cup old-fashioned oats
- 3 T cocoa powder or hot chocolate mix of choice
- slightly less than 1/2 tsp peppermint extract
- 1/8 tsp vanilla extract
- sweetener of choice, if desired
- optional – crushed peppermint candies, for garnish and extra minty flavor
Directions (on stove top):
- Bring milk to a boil.
- Add in oats, reduce heat to medium, and cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally
- Stir in other ingredients about 3 minutes in.
- Cover, remove from heat and let sit for 2 minutes.
- Sprinkle with crushed peppermint pieces and serve!
So there is one way of celebrating National Oatmeal Month! Here are some ways to incorporate oatmeal in to lunch and dinner meals instead of the typical oatmeal for breakfast:
1. Substitute oatmeal for rice in stir-frys, gumbo, casseroles, etc. Think of all of the time that will be saved on meal preparation since you will not have to wait 30-45 minutes for rice to simmer!
2. Use in place of breadcrumbs in meatballs and meatloaf. This will make your meal healthier and change-up the texture of your meatballs – in a surprising, yet pleasing way.
3. Oatmeal crusted chicken, tilapia, eggplant, etc.
4. When making pie crusts, substitute oatmeal for half of the flour.
What is your favorite oatmeal recipe? Who else was happy to see the Patriots dominate on Saturday (or was I the only one not cheering for Tebow)??