September 27, 2013
It’s easy to fall into a weekday breakfast rut. Ours? Fruit plus one or more of the following: cereal, toast, hard boiled egg. Day after day, every Monday through Friday. Now that it’s getting colder, though, I’m pulling oatmeal back into rotation. That may not seem like the most exciting addition to the line up, but here’s the thing about oatmeal: you can flavor it a million and one ways.
This Coconut Chai Oatmeal used to be a favorite around here. (Don’t you love rediscovering dishes that mysteriously fall out of regular rotation?!) I’m bringing it back. And, with it, a bunch of pre-made spice and blends that play well with oatmeal and other hot cereals like farina and polenta, all of which make great breakfasts for everyone 6 moths and up.
The coconut chai blend is mostly what you’d expect—shredded coconut, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, and cloves—but also with a dash of black pepper. Trust me: it makes all the difference, but not in a way that will turn the kids off. And, if it does, ignore them.
I’ve also made a pumpkin pie spice blend with chopped walnuts, ginger, allspice, nutmeg, and cinnamon.
If you prefer savory breakfasts, here’s something crazy: try a breakfast sausage blend to spice up scrambled eggs. They cook up even faster than oatmeal and with a bit of sage, nutmeg, garlic, marjoram, and black pepper are an awesomely delicious way to start the day.
All spice and nut combinations should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Blends made only with ground, dried spices will last up to a year. If you add wheat germ, ground flax and/or ground nuts, they will keep for up to 3 months. And only use fresh herbs if you plan on using the blend within 24-48 hours, at most.
Do you have a favorite blend that you use to spice up your breakfast?
Coconut Chai Oatmeal
(Can be shared with kids 6+ mos)*
Spice quantities for a single serving
Milk, your preferred variety
2 tablespoons shredded, unsweetened coconut
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
Dash black pepper
1 tablespoon honey* or maple syrup
1. Cook rolled oats in milk according to package directions, adding the spices at the same time that you add the oats to your pot.
2. Remove cooked oatmeal from heat and stir in honey or syrup.
*Note: Oatmeal made of whole oats is a wonderful food for beginner eaters, especially when flavored with spices that will excite the palate. Just remember to puree the oatmeal into an age appropriate consistency before serving and also be sure to avoid honey for eaters under 12-months-old due to risk of botulism.