My Favorite Weird Oatmeal

by Maria Theresa Maggi on October 25, 2016


When I was little, the term OCD wasn’t in common parlance. At age 4 or 5, though, I’m pretty sure my bedtime requirements would have met such criteria. They were, not in exact order, as follows:  I needed to be covered with my kitty and doggy blanket; I needed to have Mozart’s Symphony in G played on my little record player; I needed to have the hall light on, and the bedroom door open to just the right angle to let a spear of light fall into the bedroom; and I needed to have a drink of water brought to me once I was in there and before I got kissed good night. There may have been some other ones (I’m guessing “tickle my arm” might have been one, and also making sure my sleepy baby was tucked in with me), but the reason I remember these is the parody my Dad made of it all when he was put on tucking-in duty, which wasn’t his usual beat. As I tried to instruct him on what I viewed as the natural order of things for getting a good night’s sleep, and he kept leaving certain key elements out, he exploded in humorous exasperation, with something like the following parody of my requests. “Well,” he said, “why don’t I just go get all the cats and dogs in the neighborhood and dump them on your bed,  bring in a pail of water, turn on all the lights in the house, and break a record over your head??!!” For some reason I wasn’t too worried he would actually do this, and the story got told as a joke a lot when I was growing up, mostly as a case in point about my Dad’s lack of patience with some aspects of parenting.

If it was supposed to, his outburst never had much of an effect on whatever I consider a good routine, whether it’s at the end of the day or the beginning. Over 50 years later, I’m still riding long waves of successive sameness until at some point, they peter out and I catch a new one, usually quite spontaneously. And then I ride that one for a while.

This very weird oatmeal has been my current favorite breakfast for a while now. I think it emerged in late summer, when I suddenly got tired of making myself a kale/blueberry/banana/hemp smoothie in the morning to help me absorb the vitamin D for babies my body likes best (some of us just never quite grow up all the way). After going to the beach in early August, where my son treated us to one of his delicious versions of baked oatmeal, I decided I wanted to go back to a hearty bowl of it each morning, instead of a tiny one to go with the smoothie. Perhaps it was the change of season and the cooler temperatures at the beach that weekend. Perhaps it was my willingness to experiment with how to add my teaspoon of spirulina to something other than the smoothie. . .maybe I got tired of listening to the blender in the morning. . in any event, a perfect storm of change started to brew, and before long, this oatmeal was born. And I’ve been eating it ever since.

One other influence I must give inspirational credit to is The Full Helping’s post about savory oatmeal. I thought I would try it, but in the end I was actually too lazy to make the recipe. So instead I covered my bowl of oats with lots of the same spices–a kind of “dry rub” on top of a bowl of oatmeal–and I liked it so much that I never returned to make the recipe. But if you are less lazy than I’ve been, and you want to try a truly savory oat dish, you might want to explore making Savory Turmeric Chickpea Oats instead. They look really yummy.

This is a template, which has gotten more elaborate as times goes on. I laugh at myself every morning as I get into my oatmeal ritual, but I also wouldn’t miss it for the world. Since I’ve been at my beach trailer, I discovered I could make it while doing my yoga, thus cutting down prep time and helping us get out the door for our morning walk, which has become even more germain now that I have acquired yet another Silken Windhound to learn the ropes from Romeo. Routines upon routines, intertwining, and hopefully staying just flexible enough to morph into something else when the time is right.

I don’t expect everyone to jump up and down in eagerness to make this weird bowl of oatmeal. Instead I’m posting it in celebration of the sometimes strange plant-based breakfast rituals we come to love. Here’s to the joy and satisfaction of food rituals–short or long lived–and rituals of all kinds, compulsive or otherwise–with a shout out to my old kitty and doggy blanket, which I saved so my son could use it. He called it his “mamet,” and literally loved it into tatters.

Maria (moonwatcher)


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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Teresa Schmalz October 26, 2016 at 8:59 am

Maria, this sounds delicious to me! I’ve never tried spirulina; I need to research that! Your life in Oregon continues to sound wonderful!


2 Maria Theresa Maggi October 26, 2016 at 9:14 am

Thanks Teresa! Glad you are game to check it out. 🙂 Life here at the coast has it’s challenges, certainly, but on the whole it is, yes, truly wonderful!!


3 Marilyn October 26, 2016 at 12:21 pm

Hi Maria – so glad to see a new post. I’m glad you’re happy and busy at the beach, but so missing your updates :). Thanks for the weird recipe; the weirder the better if it’s one of yours – that’s my motto! Who would ever have thought of eating kale with oats??? But, now I do it everyday. Ha! Thanks for changing my world so wonderfully 🙂 Marilyn


4 Maria Theresa Maggi October 26, 2016 at 1:32 pm

OH how sweet of you, Marilyn! You’re welcome! 🙂 I like your motto. 🙂


5 jacquie October 26, 2016 at 3:50 pm

my first thought was what is so weird about that? 🙂 I was curious as to where you got your spirulina from as i’m hesitant to buy supplements from just any place especially after they start to become popular. do you have a brand you would recommend?

Glad to hear you are loving the beach so much.


6 Maria Theresa Maggi October 26, 2016 at 5:31 pm

Thanks Jacquie-glad you’re game to try this out! The spirulina I like the best is one I can buy in bulk at my co-op called Health Force Naturals. It’s relatively mild tasting and supposedly organic and “clean.” They do vary widely in taste, depending, and some are organic and some not, so find one you feel comfortable with. I liked being able to buy a small amount to try it out.


7 Veronica October 28, 2016 at 11:46 am

We always have our big bowls of oatmeal every morning, too. 🙂 But ours is filled with fresh strawberries from the market (year round here!! I’m in heaven…) and any other berries we have, lots of cinnamon, a splash of maple, pea-protein milk, and a nut butter, sometimes topped with cacao nibs. I really like your idea of simmering some apple in with the oats as it cooks! We use Irish steel cut oats, so it cooks for a while, and I think the apple would dissolve in there nicely.
Adding in the spirulina is a great idea! I usually only add it to smoothies, but why am I constraining that?? Thanks for some wonderful ideas on how I can update our oatmeal habit, add a bit of interest and change (but not too much change!). 😉 xoxo


8 Maria Theresa Maggi October 28, 2016 at 4:24 pm

Thank you, Veronica–I so love how you ended this comment with adding a bit of interest and change to the oatmeal habit (but not too much change!)–amen to that!! 🙂 I took the plunge to add spirulina to mine and would be interested in what you think of it if you try branching out from just putting it in smoothies. xoxo


9 Gena October 31, 2016 at 5:26 am

Maria, I’m so tickled that my savory turmeric chickpea oats inspired you! And I’ll have you know that I am reading this post at the very same time as I eat a bowl of rolled oats and kamut flakes with chopped dates and hemp seeds — no joke — so it feels all the more timely. Some garam masala would have made it even better 🙂


10 Maria Theresa Maggi October 31, 2016 at 9:14 am

Hah! Synchron-oats-ity!!! 🙂 I, too, was eating this bowl while I read about you eating yours–I just love it! 🙂 And thanks again Gena, your recipes–and your life– continue to inspire me, and that’s such a lovely thing. xoxo


11 Lee November 2, 2016 at 5:50 pm

Maria, this sounds delicious, if a little off the beaten [oatmeal] path. 😉 I’ve never tried spirulina; how’s the taste?

And I didn’t know you’d gotten another dog; intern life has behind on just about everything. Off to check out your last post!


12 Maria Theresa Maggi November 2, 2016 at 8:40 pm

HI Lee, Spirulina, well, tastes, as my son and daughter-in-law put it, like swamp water! Or grass. . .that’s why it usually gets mixed with other stuff. 🙂 It just gives a nice jolt of good greenies, I find, but it is, well, algae, what can I say?! And yes I have my hands full with two Silkens these days. I hope your internship is going well.


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