Let me share my reality with you. Here in Minnesota, it’s been dark and bitterly cold since mid November. We lived through January with temperatures so low that even the “All above average” children were not allowed to go to school. This isn’t just uncomfortable cold. It’s serious.
We take a strange pride in being able to live here. Bundled in parkas and swaddled in scarves, we give our neighbors a quick but decisive nod as we shovel snow, hoping that our tears won’t freeze. We are the strong, the Minnesotans.
As long as we have a couple of pairs of socks on.
It’s a mental game, really. After a few months of being trapped inside, a weaker person might fall prey to self-medication. Drinking, eating, watching TV, all of these things offer comfort when the very landscape we inhabit seems to want to kill us. It’s easy to drown your sorrows in coffee and donuts, or beer and crunchy snacks. Netflicks goes from a tv channel to a friend to a lover, whose stories mainline a fantasy of another World into our cabin-fevered brains. All while we take up a little more room on that couch every single day.
So now that you know where I am coming from, I hope you will understand my current love affair with Oats. A couple of weeks ago it was Biryani, this week, I’m delving into my steel cut oat habit. Because I need some comfort, and I want to get it in a way that doesn’t have me adding an hour on the treadmill. It’s always best to know your weaknesses and plan for them.
That’s why I’ve been cooking up a pot of apple cider-infused, ginger and cinnamon spiked steel cuts, and keeping it in the fridge. We know from the biryani post that oats have a high satiety factor. Oats will help you lose weight, even out your blood sugar, and lower cholesterol. Oats are famous for their healthy benefits.
Well, the oats may be the star, but the apple juice is no slouch, either.
But did you know that apple juice, the other magic ingredient in this warming breakfast, is a potent antioxidant that protects your heart? In a study done at The UC Davis School of Medicine, researchers found that drinking 12 ounces of apple juice, or eating two apples, dramatically slowed the oxidation of LDL cholesterol in the blood. The longer it takes to break down, the less it can clog up and cause atherosclerosis.
That’s great news, since I’ve always liked cooking and baking with apple juice, because it adds a sweet-tart flavor. Cooking these oats in juice instead of water sweetens them just enough for my taste, so that they need no further sweetening.
So, after filling your belly with this comforting breakfast, the combination of healthy beta glucans fiber and antioxidant-rich apple juice will be clearing out bad cholesterol in both your gut and your bloodstream.
Just another example of how incredibly tasty and comforting a healthy food can be.
Apple Cider-Cinnamon Steel Cut Oats
Serve these piping hot with your favorite milk, whether that is non-dairy or dairy, or yogurt, whatever you prefer.
2 cups apple cider
3/4 cup steel-cuts oats
1 pinch salt
1 slice fresh ginger
1 stick cinnamon
1 medium apple, chopped
Combine all the ingredients in a 1 quart pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20-25 minutes. Stir a few times. At the end it may seem a little soupy, but if you stir and let it cool it will thicken up.