breakfast, the best meal of the day // apple-cranberry oatmeal


breakfast, the most important meal of the day right? well that may be easy to say it isn't always easy to do. growing up i never had the discipline of sitting down and actually eating before i would head out the door for school but as the years have gone by, i have realized the importance of taking the morning in, pausing from rush to get out the door, and actually taking time to eat breakfast. for the most part i make a breakfast smoothie for chad and i every morning. with him not being a big breakfast eater, he still manages to have a healthy meal before work with out actually having to chew ;) but as for me.. i have become quite the breakfast lover, especially oats (i love granola and monster cookies.. ) some days when i am wanting a quick breakfast that takes less then 10 minutes i whip out my favorite oatmeal. even if you aren't a fan of the sticky traditional oatmeal you have to give this one a chance. i promise, there is no stickiness. oatmeal is a great way to start you day because it is a whole grain and is filling, full of fiber, and even may lead to lower cholesterol, a much better choice compared to sugary, processed cereal.

apple-cranberry oatmeal, serves one

1/2 cup old fashion oats
1  cup water
dash of salt
dash of vanilla
slice of butter
juice from 1/2 lemon
granny smith (or any variety) apple, cubed
handful of orange flavored dried cranberries (can be found at trader joes)
sliced almonds
some brown sugar or maple syrup if desired, this oatmeal turns pretty sweet with the little butter, lemon, and vanilla, but if you want to sprinkle a little dusting of brown sugar that never hurts ;)

1. in a small sauce pan, boil water with salt. upon boiling, add 1/2 cup oats and reduce to simmer. add vanilla and cook for 5-10 minutes, or until water is absorbed.
2. once water is absorbed add butter and lemon. remove from heat.
3. in a small bowl add the cooked oats, apples, dried cranberries, and almonds.
4. eat right away! nothing worse the cold oatmeal. :)

** if you wanted to make this a real time saver you could use quick cooking oats in the microwave (but don't buy the prepackaged flavored kind, there is a lot more "stuff" in there when it is actually cheaper and healthier to buy the quick cooking oats plain, then add the flavors in naturally such as maple, cinnamon, etc.). i personally like the flavor of the old fashioned oats better but somedays you need something QUICK like in less then 2 minutes. so the plain quick cooking oats are a great swap out. i personally have never added the other stuff in the recipe to to the plain cooking oats but if i were to do so i would probably omit the vanilla, butter, and lemon ( i don't think it would stir right into the quick cooking oats), keep the apples, dried cranberries, almonds, and add brown sugar to help sweeten it. just an idea to help you get that breakfast in and out the door on time!**

now i challenge you to make sure you take time for breakfast, even if it is just 15 minutes of peace quite and your food, because mother knows best and she always said breakfast was the most important meal of the day!

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