All About Oats

I’ve mentioned them before, but the folks at Food 411 send out fabulous newsletters every month jam-packed with cool food info. If you like learning about the history and origins of food, you’ll love Food 411. And no…they don’t pay me to say this! I don’t even think they know about my blog. It’s just a really cool thing that I wanted to share 🙂

When the weather is cold and blustery, nothing is better than a hot bowl of oatmeal!


  • Did you know? Oats were the last of the major cereal grains to be domesticated and they originated as weeds that grew within cultivated fields of various other crops.
  • Oats were a lowly horse food for the Romans, even today, less than 5% of the oats now grown commercially are for human consumption.

Horses can run pretty fast, maybe it’s the oats?

From Food 411’s November Newsletter:

Varieties of Oats

Oat groats, or whole oats: The least processed, only the outer hull is removed. Very nutritious, but need to be cooked and/or soaked for a long period of time. Oat groats are chewy, nutty-tasting grains similar to wheat berries; they make a good substitute for rice in soups and stews

Oat bran: The outer casing that is removed from the groats. The bran is particularly high in soluble fiber. Oat bran is very versatile, and can be used with groats or alone, and as an addition to baking recipes, or even raw in shakes.

Steel-cut oats, or Irish oats: Groats that have been chopped into small pieces. They have a firmer texture than rolled oats. Steel-cut oats have a mild flavor & a starchy texture; and can be substituted for rice in pilaf or risotto or used as a delicious topping for salads

Rolled oats, or old-fashioned oats: Commonly called oatmeal These are oat groats that are steamed and flattened with huge rollers so that they cook quicker, in about 5 to 15 minutes. They are a great binder for meat loaf and can be used in stuffing for chicken or turkey.

Quick oats: These are groats that have been cut into several pieces before being steamed and rolled into thinner flakes, thus reducing the cooking time to 3-5 minutes. While they cook quicker, any oat aficionado will tell you that they lack the hearty texture and nutty flavor of the less-processed varieties.

Instant oats: These are made by chopping groats into tiny pieces, precooking them, drying them, then smashing them with a big roller. They need only be mixed with a hot liquid. They usually have flavorings and salt added. All of this processing removes all traces of the original texture and rich flavor of the groats.

Oat flour: Oat flour is made from groats that have been ground into a powder, and contains no gluten so it does not rise like wheat flour. It can also be made at home by grinding rolled oats into a powder in a blender. It has a delicate texture that will produce moist & tender baked goods.

Oatmeal Mix-in Ideas:

  • Sliced peaches, brown sugar, and cinnamon.
  • Sliced banana, vanilla yogurt, and chopped walnuts.
  • Diced apple, chopped prunes, and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
  • Peanut butter, raisins, and honey.
  • Sliced banana, dried cranberries, and shredded coconut.
  • Dark chocolate chips and peanut butter (tastes like Reese’s!).
  • Canned pumpkin, cinnamon, and brown sugar.

My favorite oatmeal recipes:

Pear Peanut Butter Cup Oatmeal

Pumpkin Oatmeal

Overnight Oatmeal

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip M&M Cookies

Kath’s Baked Banana Oatmeal

Holly’s Truffled Butternut Squash Oatmeal

Question: What’s your favorite thing to add to oatmeal?

P.S. Pressed for time? Check out this article on how to actually run your errands!

  • I like to add sliced pears with a sprinkle of ginger and cinnamon- so good! And talk about a great dose of fiber from the fruit and the oats!

  • No matter what toppings I put on my oats, my favorite is to add peanut butter too!

  • I’m so happy you posted oat love today! My family pokes fun at me for eating oatmeal most days, I can’t get enough.

    Hmmm, favorite combo… It’s a tie between oats with cranberries and brown sugar, and oats with pineapple and coconut–morning pina colada, minus the rum, of course 😉

  • I can’t do oats! I wish I could but they just mess with my system and get me all stopped up(sorry for tmi!).

    I wish I could eat them because this looks amazing.

  • Tammy

    Lately I have been adding a little pumpkin, flaxseed, nutmeg, and hazelnuts…with just a tiny bit of sugar free syrup. YUM!

  • I love pumpkin and peanut butter with oatmeal(and if a cookie slips in there, that’s fine too). I’m definitely signing up for this newsletter!

  • I love oats! I try to keep mine pretty simple though and usually just add a pinch of cinnamon sugar or a drizzle of maple syrup. Then I can have a nice big bowl of it and it keeps me full for hours!

  • Oatmeal is so much fun to explore, but I think my absolute favorite thing to add to oatmeal is nut butter. It’s so creamy and melts like butter in a hot bowl of oats.

  • Katie

    Ultra informative!

    I’d love for you to check outmy blog – giveaway coming and workout songs!


  • I love love love almond butter in my oatmeal. Also any kind of pureed vegetable or fruit (pumpkin, squash, banana etc) added to the oatmeal makes it so much more filling too.

  • Yay for reading all about oats! I liked their combo suggestions – no new ingredients but definitely some combos I haven’t tried! Huzzah!
    I adore adding almond butter, almonds, raisins and almond milk – so delicious!

  • My breakfast on most days: Oatmeal with flaxseed meal, pumpkin, pumpkin-pie spice and a little sugar-free maple syrup. SO delish! Thanks for the additional recipe ideas, in case I’m ever tempted to mix things up!