Food 10 Things Oatmeal

Fresh ideas for dressing up that basic bowl of oatmeal

BY ALISON LADMAN | ASSOCIATED PRESS

Oatmeal is the vanilla ice cream of the breakfast world. Some of us like it plain and straight up, appreciating its clean, oaty flavor, its firm yet giving texture, the way it cloyingly stays in your mouth just a second longer than you think it should.

And then there is the rest of humanity, those folks who — as with vanilla ice cream — treat oatmeal as a carrier for whatever you care to pile on and mix in. This list is for those folks, the people who like to dress their breakfasts to impress — or at least to taste awesome.

Start with your favorite way to prepare a bowl of oatmeal, whether it’s cooked steel-cut oats, slow-cooked extra-thick oats, or a packet of instant. Jazz it up by adding any of these toppings:

— Tropical: Stir in 1 tablespoon of cream of coconut, then top with a spoonful of crushed pineapple and chopped toasted macadamia nuts.

— Morning glory: Stir in 1/2 cup finely grated carrot, 1 teaspoon orange zest and a handful of golden raisins. Top with toasted sunflower seeds.

— Caramel mocha: Stir together 1 teaspoon instant coffee granules, 1 tablespoon cocoa powder and 2 tablespoons half-and-half. Stir into the oatmeal, then drizzle the top with caramel sauce (optional, of course).

— Spinach, tomato and feta: Stir in 1/4 cup chopped, cooked, well-drained spinach and 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano. Top with roasted marinated tomatoes (often available where fine olives are sold) or jarred sun-dried tomatoes and crumbled feta cheese.

— Banana bread: Mash a very ripe banana and stir into the oatmeal along with a pinch of nutmeg. Sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar (optional) and toasted walnuts.

— Raspberry-lime: Stir in the zest and juice of 1/2 lime and a spoonful of brown sugar. Top with a handful of fresh raspberries and a drizzle of fresh cream.

— Honey-pear: Stir in a chopped ripe pear, drizzle with honey.

Associated Press