Power Up Your Morning Oatmeal with These Nutritious Mix-Ins

When the mornings are brisk and the skies are dreary, there’s nothing like a hot cereal to warm you up from the inside out. An old standby for hot cereal is oatmeal, and it’s my personal favorite. Oatmeal for breakfast is healthy and versatile. People visit my house and frown at their idea of oatmeal, a sludgy, tasteless porridge, but ooh and ahh at the sight and taste of my morning creations. Read on for some of my secrets.

a warm cereal covered with berries, chopped pecans, and coconut flakes
Photo by K8 on Unsplash

First some fun facts:

  • Oatmeal is gluten-free. While there are some increasing concerns about the content of grains and how much we eat them, oatmeal will keep most tummies happy and healthy.
  • Speaking of healthy digestion, oatmeal is high in fiber. Fiber is essential to human diets; it can clear the digestive tract, and when eaten regularly, it contributes to a healthy diet. High-fiber diets make for good poops, lowered cholesterol levels, and reduced blood sugar over time.
  • A bowl of oatmeal is not only a breakfast hero but also a beauty secret. It’s soothing effects on the skin are so renowned that it’s a main ingredient in Aveeno’s line of products. Oatmeal in a bath is a home remedy for itchy, dry skin conditions such as poison oak, chicken pox, and eczema. At-home spa experts ground it up with banana and honey to make a soothing, moisturizing facial.

In my house, oatmeal’s best quality is its versatility. There are so many mix-ins that you can add to make it more tasty and to boost the health impact of your breakfast meals.

The Classic

Simple oatmeal is simply the best. I stir in butter, milk, cinnamon, and a teaspoon of sugar at the end of cooking to boost the creaminess and coziness factors.

The Brain Booster

Classically cooked oatmeal can turn into brain fueling magic with a last minute stir in of ground flaxseed, chia seeds, or hemp seeds. All three boast an amazing amount of omega-3 fatty acids, which are proven to promote brain health, prevent metal decline, and help alleviate common mental disorders in adults and children. My favorite way to eat these seeds is in a bowl of oatmeal; they have minimal flavor impact and can make oatmeal thicker, which is good for when your water or milk ratio is off, or for picky eaters for like oatmeal with more texture.

Word to the wise: chia seeds can get a little slimy. To prevent this, I add them at the very end of cooking, so they don’t have much moisture to absorb and become gel like. Whole flaxseeds have the same effect, which is why I recommend milled, also added at the end of cooking.

The Harvest Festival

Classic oatmeal becomes a festival of flavor and health when you add fruits, nuts, and seeds. If you’re in a hurry, dried fruits are good add-ins. You can cook the oatmeal classically and forgo the sugar—dried fruit is usually coated in a little sugar and will serve as a natural sweetener for your oatmeal. My go-tos are cranberries and raisins. Dried blueberries, raspberries, or strawberries will give you an antioxidant boost, too. Antioxidants fight cancer-causing free radicals in the body.

For a fresher boost and even sweeter flavor, try frozen berries instead of dried. Frozen fruits are good for on-the-go cooking because you don’t have to cut them, wash them, or even thaw them! Just stir them in after the oatmeal has done a little cooking. As the oatmeal continues to cook, the fruits thaw, adding flavor and color to your heart-healthy meal. Dried fruits can go in at the end, since all they’ll need to do is absorb some heat.

When your oatmeal is ready to serve, stir in your favorite nuts and seeds to complete the harvest! Try the brain boosters listed above, or more classic choices like walnuts, pecans, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, or almonds. Like the seeds listed above, many of these have a great deal of health benefit—adding fiber, protein, and omega fatty acids with each handful.

The harvest festival is one of my favorite ways to make a decadent bowl of oatmeal. With so many textures and flavors combined in one bowl of creamy hot cereal, you have no choice but to feel loved from the inside out. And with all of the added health benefits, your body will surely love you back!

You can shop our online store for power boosting flax, chia, and hemp seeds, or check out this blog post for my pro-tips for making perfect oatmeal in a rice cooker.

Until next time,

Happy Eating!

Disclaimer

We are not doctors, and nothing here should be read as medical advice. Consult your doctor before committing to major dietary changes.

Sources

All health claims are sourced from Healthline, which aggregates public health research and provides information about what’s true, what may be true, and what’s still under investigation all in one place. Specific pages referenced for this post include:

Sweet Juicy Pomegranates

Pomegranates are my favorite winter fruit. They symbolize fertility and wealth in many ancient cultures and boast a powerful health profile. Most importantly, they are a joy to eat! From the satisfying sound and feel of opening one to the fun crunch of popping each aril like juicy candy, to the tarty sweet taste, I absolutely cannot get enough of pomegranates! The experience of eating a one is even more special because the fruits are only in season from October to January in North America.

You’ll have notice the rich garnet color of the juice seeping across your cutting board right away.

At first, this heavy, rounded fruit can seem intimidating, and cutting into it like an apple will give you some resistance, but mastering the technique for cutting one is easy. Simply slice off the stem-end of the fruit, making the cut as shallow as possible. You’ll have notice the rich garnet color of the juice seeping across your cutting board right away. Then, cut a plus sign into the top of the fruit, deep enough for you to get a grip with your thumbs at the center. More juice here too! Place your fingers around the outside; then, pull it apart. Be careful, pomegranates don’t shy away from spattering your work area or your clothes. Some people open them in water to minimize splatter, but I like to see the juice stain my cutting board. Once you pop it open, the pomegranate will reward you with hundreds of little jeweled seeds called arils.

If I can’t be bothered with arranging them nicely, I eat the arils right out of the pith. If I want to be more civil, I’ll submerge the broken pieces in a bowl of cold water, which helps get the arils out. Many of them will sink, and the pith will float, making it easier to separate the edible seeds from the non-edible creamy white pith. Finally, I’ll pile my seeds into a bowl with some rich dark chocolate, pop on a movie, and eat them like popcorn. Each pomegranate is packed with vitamin C, fiber, and tons of antioxidants that fight cancer-causing free-radicals.

You can eat them plain or there are dozens of ways these sweet little surprises can take winter dishes to the next level, adding nutrition and a pop of beauty to every meal.

Schitt’s Creek Travel Guide

Alt-title: Things to Do in Schitt’s Creek During Single’s Week

Schitt’s Creek is among our favorite small towns in Ontario. The community is open and welcome to newcomers and the downtown area is bustling with new businesses. Schitt’s Creek is putting small towns on the map as the go-to location for latest trends, the sweetest cinnamon rolls, or your new love interest!

As you prepare to visit the town for their annual Single’s Week, let us share with you some of our favorite spots.

Where to Stay

The best and only place to stay in Schitt’s Creek is the Rosebud Motel. Recently renamed and under newish management, it boasts no amenities. What is lacks in a pool and laundry service it makes up for with award-winning customer service and a drying line for your self-service laundry. They also have 100% Egyptian cotton towels monogrammed with the hotel’s initials in red—adorable!—and the complimentary toiletries come from Rose Apothecary. Rosebud Motel’s location in the center of town makes it an ideal place to stay for single’s week. A booking there will ensure that you are walking distance from all of the main events, including the highly anticipated “Love is Messy Sloppy Joe Eat-a-thon. There are only seven rooms, so make sure you book your stay early!

Source: https://schitts-creek.fandom.com/wiki/Rosebud_Motel

Where to Eat

Also located in the center of town, Café Tropical has a wide selection of entrees to fit any budget or food preference. With a 20 page menu, it seems that the extremely versatile chef has no specialties. As any foodie would know, this cuts both ways. For breakfast, the cinnamon buns are the best choice—they are fresh baked daily by local baker and quarry worker Ivan who delivers them by hand every morning. Lunch and dinner fare includes a rotating menu of daily specials. One such special Meatloaf Tuesdays, comes highly recommended by local businessman and manager of Rosebud Motel, Johnny Rose. His favorite menu item is another carnal dish; he reminded us several times, “Don’t forget to try the brisket. It’s lovely.”

At Café Tropical, the food is hot and will keep your stamina up for the busy week. However you won’t want to try to eat while on-the-go. Mutt Schitt warned us against trying the smoothies, so you’ll want to order another drink, like a coffee or tea. Also, as the only sit-down place in town, meal times can be busy. There are no reservations during Singles’ Week, so plan your meals accordingly.

Where to Shop

Rose Apothcary is your go-to destination for locally-sourced, wild-crafted, spa-quality beauty products and seasonal gifts. Working with local farmers and artisans allows them to sell unique gifts and beauty products all-year round. Our favorite aspect of this store is the seasonally rotating products. Owner David Rose even stocks items exclusively for Singles’ Week. You’ll want to get some patchouli rose scented massage oil before they sell out. “We stock this for those singles who plain to get lucky,” David Rose told us with a wink and a smile.

His partner, Patrick, marvels at the items, which also include a glossy scented lip balm, tasteful edible undies, and an array of condoms. “We sell out every year. David must be some kind of oracle or something.”

“It’s a gift,” David quips.

The store also sells locally grown produce, home-grown kombucha, and specialty goat’s cheese from Warner’s Farm. The cheese is to die for, but you don’t want to lose your date over it. Pack some in the cooler to take with you or ask about overnight shipping, as the cheese, like many items in the store, is sold exclusively at Rose Apothecary.

A Thing to Do

Singles’ Week! It’ll keep you busy.

But if you’re visiting outside of the annual event, or you and your hook-up want to look cute and get back to Nature, check out The Moira’s Rose’s Garden. It is a tulip and lily filled garden named for local celebrity and former daytime television star Moira Rose’s rose collection. Well, that’s the grammar anyway. The story behind the name is a local secret. When asked, Mrs. Rose would only say, “It’s no theater at UCLA, but it’s touching to have something so beautiful named for oneself.”

Another Thing to Do

Take a picture with the town sign. The “Welcome to Schitt’s Creek” is legendary. It features a man and woman dressed in 19th century clothing. The woman bends over to get water from a little puddle of water, assumedly the town’s eponymous and mythical creek, with her dress pulled up above her knee. A red-breaded man in a brown jacket and black pants stands behind her, frontside to backside. They both wear an expression that can only mean they are getting lucky. Single’s week lucky. The town’s motto emblazoned across the sign as well: “Where everyone fits in!”

In any case, visiting the sign is a perfect photo op for documenting your single’s week visit. Plus, you have to see it to believe it.

Local mayor, Roland Schitt, takes pride in the sign. “That’s my great-grandfather up there, Horace Schitt. He was a visionary…He discovered this land, he developed it, and turned it into the little slice of heaven that it is. I’m proud of him.”

When questioned about the sexual implications of the sign, Mr. Schitt was incredulous. “That isn’t even Horace’s wife! It’s his sister…I don’t know how they do things where you come from, but around these parts, we don’t do that sort of thing with our sisters. That’s why I added the sign, to explain. It’s not sexual, he’s holding on to her to keep her from falling into the creek.”

He explained this to us with a straight face, so we’ll take his word for it.

In any case, visiting the sign is a perfect photo for documenting your single’s week visit, plus you have to see it to believe it. Bonus points if you score a photo with a new lover.

Schitt’s Creek is about 2 miles from end to end, and with a minimum speed limit of 50 kilometers per hour, you might blow right through the little town. You might be mad if you did, as the SC, as we like to call it, is up and coming. Teeny Town Times rated it number one on their list of top small towns in North America. So if you have the time, stop by the cafe, which does have really good brisket; or shop for unique gifts at Rose Apothecary.

Whatever you do, don’t bother searching for the creek. We never found it.


I’ve been watching a lot of Schitt’s Creek and thought it would be fun to write a snarky travel guide, but it became even more fun to write a mostly sweet one, which is a better reflection of the show’s tone by about season five. Most of the quotes a made up, but I pulled Roland’s directly from the show and combined it with something Ray said; both quotes are from season one, episode three. The rest is my writing in the mind of the show.