Tag Archives: steel cut oatmeal

The Perfect Steel Cut Oats

Forbidden Rice Blog | Perfect Steel Cut Oats (5 of 6)

There is something perfectly simple, hearty and delicious when it comes to a bowl of steel cut oatmeal. This time of year, especially, a warm bowl of oats is gratifying and the perfect way to celebrate cold winter mornings. As a kid, my mom would regularly make a pot of oatmeal for before-school-breakfasts. Usually plain oats that had been perfectly cooked, and on the counter would sit little dishes of brown sugar, raisins, milk and butter to add to our individual bowls.

I didn’t care for oatmeal then, although that probably had more to do with my lack of interest in breakfast, in general… Or perhaps it was the time crunch of struggling to stay in bed as long as possible, followed by a shower that took nearly too long, then the mad dash to the bus stop, sometimes literally racing the bus up our street, hoping to get there in time. Who has time for breakfast in that madness (which, lets be honest – was probably served up with some teenage sass as well)?

As an adult, my tastes have changed. While I still don’t typically eat breakfast before noon, I find myself thoroughly enjoying a bowl of oats. Plus I’m old enough to appreciate the health benefits, too! They’re relatively low in calories, contain lovely amounts of fiber and they are a good source of protein providing, 7 grams per 1/4 cup serving.

Besides, oatmeal is super customizable. You can let the following recipe merely act as a base and add toppings or other ingredients to your liking. Feel free to make this bowl your own and enjoy it often, throughout this winter!

Forbidden Rice Blog | Perfect Steel Cut Oats (2 of 6)

Perfect Steel Cut Oats

Serves 6 or so

2 tablespoons butter
2 cups steel cut oats
6 cups boiling water
2 cups whole milk
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
additional milk, brown sugar and cinnamon for serving

Forbidden Rice Blog | Perfect Steel Cut Oats (3 of 6)


In a large pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the oats and sauté, stirring, for about 3 minutes until the oats smell toasty.

Add the boiling water, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Keep on a low simmer for 25-30 minutes.

Gently stir the milk into the oats. Cook for another 10 minutes. Stir in the brown sugar, maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon and salt. Cook for 5 more minutes, then scoop into serving bowls.

Top with additional milk if you’d like, brown sugar and cinnamon to your liking.

  • You can easily add other toppings if you’d like. Some favorites around here:

— Mash a banana or two, then stir that in along with 2 tablespoons of peanut butter when you add the milk to the oats.

— Peel, then dice up an apple into bite size pieces. Add to the oats when you add the milk, along with 1 teaspoon cinnamon.

— Sliced pears are great on oats.

— Stir in cranberries, raisins, currants, chopped pecans, chopped walnuts, etc.

Forbidden Rice Blog | Perfect Steel Cut Oats (4 of 6)

Forbidden Rice Blog | Perfect Steel Cut Oats (6 of 6)

Overnight Peanut Butter Apple Cinnamon Oats


Lazy Girl Breakfasts : they are the best. This oatmeal totally falls into that category. Since I don’t often eat breakfast at normal person breakfast hours, I often try to think of something that will feed everyone else but still be easily consumable somewhere near lunch-hours, when I am actually hungry. The thing about overnight oats is that all the work happens in the crock pot as you sleep and it serves both those needs – it’s ready at breakfast time, but still tastes wonderful at lunch time .

Steel cut oats are generally nuttier in flavor and break down much more slowly than rolled oats. When cooked slowly in your crock pot, they become creamy and extremely flavorful, while maintaining some stability rather than turning into a pot of mush. I’ve posted various versions of these oats before, such as these pumpkin oats, or this version with apples, pears, and walnuts, or this blueberry nut version

But the last few times I cooked this type of oatmeal, Silas very hesitantly ate them, saying he didn’t like them. I decided to take a chance anyway because, quite honestly, I am sick of eating pancakes – the sole breakfast request from Mr. Silas Henry these days. I added more liquid this time, hoping for a creamier oatmeal come morning time. I also used mashed banana, mainly to add some natural sweetness. One ingredient we’re all fans of in oatmeal these days is peanut butter… so that went into the crock pot, too.

This may have been my favorite pot of overnight oats. It’s creamy, but flavorful in a completely un-overwhelming way. Plus I made Silas a bowl, topped with a little bit of butter, whole milk, and dried blueberries. He demolished the first bowl, demanded a second and then ate that as well. It was certainly kid-approved despite previous hesitations. I’m certain this flavor combination is going to stick around for a while.


Overnight Peanut Butter Apple Cinnamon Oats

Serves 6-8 people.


2 cups steel cut oats
8 cups water
1 1/2 cups whole milk, coconut milk (canned works), milk of your choice
2 cinnamon sticks
1/4 cup smooth unsweetened peanut butter
1 large banana, mashed
1 large fuji or gala apple, peeled, cored, and diced
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

optional toppings such as: dried cranberries/blueberries/raisins, shredded unsweetened coconut (toasted or plain), milk, butter, light brown sugar, maple syrup, chopped fresh apples, sliced fresh banana, etc.

for more of this post, read on here…

When Winter Moves From Inside-Out


Since I was about twelve, I’ve known what it’s like to ride out lows that feel like they’re going to bury me alive. That’s a decade and a half filled with periods of wanting to close myself off to the world, week-long – month-long, periods of time where unburying my head from under my pillows feels like the most grandiose chore. Major and minor times of depression, where it feels like the rest of the world couldn’t possibly have any idea why I’m not at all hungry, why it feels like work to move from one room to the next, where my mind recesses itself when all I’m trying to do is sleep, why I don’t want to talk about it.

When you’re in it, it’s big and overwhelming. I’ve been medicated for it, but not since I was a teenager, because once I turned eighteen, I had some say in deciding that it felt better to actually feel things (even if it got to be a lot sometimes), rather than numbing my feelings away to move through my days. The truth is, I still have periods like this in my life. Times where I don’t want to socialize, I don’t want to talk about how things feel. Times where it takes a lot of effort to motivate myself to get up and be productive. Even if “productive” means spending some time in fresh air, or doing a few loads of laundry, or writing things I’ll never attempt to place on this blog or submit to some poetry journal out there in the world.

This time of year, where sunshine is limited and the cold clings under my skin, I find that the chances of low-feeling days are increased drastically. While I like to allow myself to feel those things, at some point I have to decide how much it’ll overtake my life. So I try going to the gym even though I don’t want to. I make the effort to laugh or find humor anywhere I get the chance. I cook things that are filling and have some nutrient value to them, even if my body says it isn’t hungry. I’ve found that things like the following oatmeal are easily filling and help keep the motivation going. But even if you’re not depressed, or sad, or tired and unmotivated, these oats are lovely. And really, most of the work happens overnight while you’re sleeping, so as far as motivating yourself goes – it just takes the tiniest push.


Blueberry-Nut Overnight Slow Cooked Steel Oats

Serves 4-6


1¼ cups steel cut oats
1½ cups blueberries (frozen or fresh)
2-4 tbsp. unrefined cane sugar
½ cup shredded coconut flakes
¼ cup sliced almonds (roasted or raw)
¼ cup chopped walnuts
1 vanilla bean, scraped (or ½ tsp. vanilla extract)
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. sea salt
¼ tsp. ground ginger
½ cup unsweetened applesauce
3 cups milk (keep this vegan by using nut or rice milk)
2 cups water
2-3 tbsp. unsweetened dried cranberries (optional)


If you’re using frozen berries, rinse them under cold water until the water runs clearly rather than purple. Allow the blueberries to drip-dry for a minute or two.

In your crock pot, stir together the oats, berries, sugar, coconut flakes, almonds, walnuts, vanilla bean, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cranberries if you’re using them, until all the ingredients are well mixed.

Stir in the applesauce, milk, and water until just combined. Set the crock pot to low heat, then cover and cook overnight (or 6-8 hours).

When ready to serve, fluff the oatmeal gently with a fork or spoon. Add enough milk to your individual serving in order to get the consistency you prefer.

Slow Cooked Steel Cut Oats with Apples, Pears and Walnuts


One of the more difficult things about this blog really isn’t the cooking, or experimenting with recipes, or even the photographing (except perhaps this time of year, when I’m hoping for daylight, but don’t have dinner ready at 1 o’clock in the afternoon for photographing…). The most challenging thing is often sitting down and figuring out what to write here.

Do I tell you about the overcast and pink-gray skies that have been threatening snow or rain, or rainy snow all day? Do I tell you about the crickets that are currently residing in our pet frog tank, driving me nuts because they won’t stop chirping at any hour of the day (and freaking night)? Do I tell you more about my crazy brain and the constant back and forth I seem to reside on, between completely rational and then entirely, unnaturally, insane? Maybe we need to discuss my re-found love for a hot toddy that has just the slightest splash of bitters and then a knob of ginger, perfect for any day in January? Shall I share soley about oatmeal?

Maybe I should just tell you we got a crock pot from Craig’s aunt (thanks, Phyllis – I know you’re getting this message via e-mail :) for Christmas and I love the thing. At the moment it’s housing homemade vegetarian sloppy joe mix that’s deep crimson due to all day slow simmering (and most certainly, there are the easiest dang homemade hamburger buns relaxing on our countertop waiting for my husband and stepson to come home from the gym for dinner). We have made family-thrown together-black eyed pea stew in this new gift. And my personal favorite so far, the following recipe. The crock pot makes steel cut oats so simple for a breakfast dish, deliverable at normal human breakfast hours. They cook overnight and the flavor is huge. Once I had placed all the ingredients for these oats into the crock, the closest reminiscent flavor I could name was apple pie. The flavor isn’t very far off, either… and who wouldn’t appreciate pie for breakfast?


Slow Cooked Steel Cut Oats with Apples, Pears and Walnuts

Serves 6.

1¼ cups steel cut oats
1 large apple, peeled, cored, diced into small cubes (I used Braeburn)
1 large ripe Green Anjou or Bartlett pear, peeled, cored and diced
¾ cup raw walnuts, chopped into small pieces
¼ cup dried unsweetened cranberries
¼ cup packed light brown sugar
½ tsp. ground Ceylon cinnamon
¼ tsp. fresh ground nutmeg
pinch of ground cloves (small pinch!)
½ tsp. vanilla extract
2½ cups milk
2 cups water


Combine all of the ingredients in your crock pot. Stir to combine everything evenly, then cover and set the crock pot to low heat, for 7-8 hours (overnight).

The following morning, uncover the oats. Stir everything. Add enough milk to individual servings, until the oats are your preferred consistency. Enjoy while still warm.

Overnight Pumpkin Pie Steel Cut Oats

As I’ve mentioned before, if I am going to eat breakfast at breakfast time (rather than for dinner), I like recipes that are easy to throw together. I like the bulkiness of steel cut oats, although preparing them in the morning means I need to get up forty-five minutes earlier than I would need to if I used quick-cooking oats instead. But I don’t enjoy the texture of quick oats nearly as much, so what to do.

The beauty of steel cut oats is that you can prepare them ahead of time and they don’t lose their consistency whatsoever. These oats are made the night before, thus the bulk of the work happens while you’re fast asleep.  I decided to flavor these oats like pumpkin pie, using the spices that are familiar to this fall-time dessert.

While walking out the door to Silas’s flag football game, I placed a serving of oats in a jar to go, then topped it with a spoonful of almond butter, a couple tablespoons of unsweetened coconut, and a small handful of dried cranberries. It was a delicious blend of flavors and very filling along with a hot cup of coffee!


Overnight Pumpkin Pie Steel Cut Oats

Serves 4

2 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 cup steel cut oats
3 cups water
pinch of salt
pinch of ground cloves
¼ tsp. all-spice
¼ tsp. ground ginger
½ tsp. fresh ground nutmeg
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ cup light brown sugar
½ cup canned pumpkin
2 tbsp. pure maple syrup
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
whole milk



In a large saucepan, melt the two tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat. Add the steel cut oats and stir frequently, until the oats begin to smell toasty (5-6 minutes).

Stir in the water, salt, cloves, all-spice, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, brown sugar, pumpkin, and maple syrup. Continue stirring until everything is well combined.

Bring the mixture up to a boil. Boil for two to three minutes, then cover the pot and allow it to sit overnight (at least 8 hours). You can leave it on your stovetop or refrigerate the oats.

The next morning, bring the mixture back up to temperature over medium heat, occasionally stirring. Mix in the maple syrup and unsalted butter, along with enough milk to get the consistency you prefer.

Serve hot, either plain or add toppings you’d like.