Berry Coffee Oatmeal

(Psst! Don't forget to enter my giveaway for a free box of Blueberry Acai Balance Bars! Giveaway open until Friday at 12noon EST.)

The path that led to this oatmeal recipe is actually fairly long, and perhaps even a little twisted. It began months ago, at a 50’s style diner where L and I took my parents as a holiday gift. This diner is known for many things, one of them being their milkshakes. So, although we were decidedly stuffed by the time we finished our meals, we each ordered one of their special shakes to go, to eat later, once our stomachs had recovered from the ridiculously delicious but very, very caloric meal we had just consumed. Now, their milkshake menu is extensive – it has every single flavor you could possibly imagine. And if that weren’t enough for you, you can combine any of those single flavors to create this personalized, fantasty mega shake. I went with a Chocolate-Cherry & Almond combo, which was really good, except the cherry tasted a little artificial and ultimately left me disappointed. L on the other hand ordered a coffee almond combination that was one of the most fantastic flavor combinations I’ve experienced. It was delicate, subtle, sweet – really, really good. And from the moment I took a sip of his shake, I knew I needed to recreate that flavor combination in other food (I also tried secretly plotting ways to switch our shakes so that I could have more of his, but we won’t tell him that).

I made a mental note of the combination, but it wasn’t until I found myself with an overwhelming amount of leftover oatmeal from an event that my Student Dietetic Association had organized that I was actually able to turn it into a dish. I needed a creative way of using the oatmeal up, because the thought of eating the same thing over and over again for a week straight is definitely not appealing. If you’re not careful, breakfast can so easily fall into a boring routine of eating the same thing day in and day out, and as much as I love my breakfast staples, a full week of leftover oatmeal was just too much. So I eyed this container of leftover oatmeal, and then my eyes wandered to two other items in my fridge: almond milk and instant decaf coffee. It didn’t take long for that light bulb to go off!

That is how this Coffee Berry Oatmeal was born, and I have to say, it was all that I had imagined. The almond milk and berries round out the slight bitter edge from the coffee. It’s creamy, but substantial. And the colors are definitely pleasing to the eye. I ate it cold, but you could just as easily cook ⅓ cup dry oats in the almond milk-coffee granule mixture to serve it hot if that’s more your style. One thing I like about cold oats or oatmeal is that it lends a sweetness that I think gets muted by heat (in general, I tend to find flavors stronger when a food has cooled), but it shouldn't make a very big difference. Either way, this is a perfect breakfast monotony breaker and a real treat.

Berry Coffee Oatmeal
Yield: 1 serving

The Ingredients
⅔ cup leftover oatmeal, cooled
⅔ cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
⅔ teaspoon decaf instant coffee
⅔ - 1 cup frozen mixed berries, thawed

The Method
Heat the almond milk and instant coffee until the latter has dissolved, then gently mix in the leftover oatmeal (off of the heat). Top with thawed berries, and enjoy!


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