Sunday, March 4, 2012
A morning bowl of oatmeal or other whole grain food can help to maintain healthy blood pressure levels. Emerging research suggests that oatmeal may even help reduce blood pressure by preventing the narrowing of the arteries that occurs following a high fat meal and promoting better blood flow.
Hot oatmeal often comes to mind when oats are mentioned. One can make breakfast and other meals interesting by using oats in different forms. Precooked groats can be reheated with new toppings. Granola and muesli mixtures can be alternatives to cereals, or add some creative toppings to cooked oatmeal.
Baking with oat products adds flavor to many products. Add oat flour or oatmeal to breads for extra nutrition and flavor. Use oatmeal to thicken soups and stews and as a filler in meatloaf and casseroles.
Oats come in many forms:
Oat groats- Whole oat kernels, which can be cooked like rice or wheat berries. Pre-soak to shorten cooking time. They have a nutty, slightly sweet flavor. Try them (cooked) as a topping on apple crisp, serve as a side dish like rice, or in salads and stuffing.
Steel cut oats – These are groats that have been cut into chunks by steel blades. They are sometimes imported from Ireland in tins. They have a fairly long cooking time and a chewy texture. They are not rolled and look like coarse bits of grain.
Rolled oats – Probably the most familiar form to consumers. The kernels have been heated and pressed flat with steel rollers so they cook more quickly.
2 teaspoons vanilla (optional)
½ - 2 cups fresh fruit (like apple slices)
¾ cup raisins or walnuts (optional)
Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9” X 13” pan. Mix together oil, sugars and eggs. Add oatmeal, flour, baking powder, salt, vanilla and milk. Fold in fruit and nuts, if desired. Bake for 30 – 35 minutes. Serve warm with milk and cinnamon or brown sugar.