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Sunday, August 03, 2014

Swap Your Grits for Oatmeal and UP the Nutrition!

Dear Folks,

So why am I saying swap grits for oatmeal?  Because grits and eggs are a favorite comfort for many folks and while tasty, the grits are not as nutrient dense as oatmeal.  So while you don't have to abandon a favorite meal completely, give oatmeal and eggs a try as an option from time to time.  See the recipes below.

From Leanne Brown's wonderful new cookbook "Good and Cheap" based on budget limitations of SNAP (Food Stamps) one of the best is her use of a fried egg with a savory oatmeal base. (Photo from her cookbook.)

You do not have to be getting food stamps to be 'food insecure' - you just have to be budget-crunched and weary from trying to make good food choices with limited money and trying to figure out ANY good information from food ads and labels.  Having children asking for junk food and sugary cereal (really a dessert and not a breakfast) ups the weariness factor.

Check out the nutrition information for grits vs. oatmeal.

Catherine's Nutrient Density Factor - the lower the number the more nutrient dense - maximum for best nutrition is 20
Note:  Nutrition information is from the USDA Nutrient Database and the Label info on the Quaker Old Fashioned Oatmeal container.

corn grits, yellow, regular and quick, enriched, cooked with water, without salt
1 Cup
Calories 151
Protein 2.87g
Fiber, total dietary 1.6

2.87 + 1.6 =  4.47 divided into 151 = 34

corn grits, white, regular and quick, enriched, cooked with water, without salt
1 Cup
Calories 182
Protein  4.39
Fiber, Total dietary 2.1

4.39 + 2.1 = 6.4 divided into 182 = 28.44

Quaker Oatmeal, Old Fashioned (cooks up in 5 minutes)
1 cup
Calories  150
Protein  5 g
Fiber, Total Dietary  4 g

5 + 4 = 9 divided into 150 = 16.67

Note:  "Instant" oatmeal is "okay" if you do not have anything else, but good Old Fashioned oatmeal cooks up in 5 minutes on the stove and about 2 minutes in the microwave and it has a whole lot less 'stuff' - the instant packages have more sugar etc. and less nutrition.

Extra:  How to, really, fry a sunnyside egg

From America's Test Kitchen comes the best, I mean the best, way to fry perfect sunnyside, 'basted' eggs.

You will have to join their site to print the recipe.

In a nut shell you preheat the pan for longer than you think you should, crack your eggs into a bowl, add salt and pepper.  Use a combination of oil and butter in the pan and have the lid and a timer ready.

I have now used this recipe multiple times and the eggs come out perfect every time.  As good a cook as I think I am (and other agrees) I never quite got the hang of basted sunnyside eggs - this got me doing it right.

For the oatmeal and egg recipe below I have halved the ATK recipe.  I also found that you can reduce the amount of oil and butter and you can also combine them at the same time -- the real trick is hot pan, swirl the fat, add the eggs, cover, cook 1 minute, remove from heat and let sit, covered, 1 minute. Ta-Da!!! Perfect eggs.

Christopher Kimble and the folks at America's Test Kitchen are artists!!

Perfect Fried Eggs

vegetable oil
salt and pepper
unsalted butter

Heat the pan for 5 minutes, add fat, swirl, add eggs, cover, cook for 1 minute, remove from burner and let sit, covered, for 45 seconds to 2 minutes depending on how cooked you want the yolks.

My Notes.  I found 1 minute off the buner perfect for our large to jumbo eggs giving us a fully cooked white with runny yolk.

Savory Oatmeal

Serves 2
1 cup rolled oats
2 cups water
1/4 teaspoon salt
2-3 scallions, finely chopped
1/4 cup sharp cheddar, grated
1 teaspoon butter
2 eggs

Cook the oatmeal with the scallions.
Just before it is done, add the cheese.
[Divide into bowls]
Melt the butter in a pan on medium heat.
Crack in the eggs, then cover.
Fry until the yolks are runny, but the whites are cooked, then top each bowl of oats with one fried egg!

I encourage you to purchase Ms. Brown's cookbook and forward to your favorite food pantry / charity working with the hungry / low income.  She offers a discount on the printed book to non-profits.

Read my blog post of a couple days ago on food insecurity.

Food Insecurity 

-- Catherine, The Herb Lady

Check out The Herb Lady's books:


amazon - print

Kindle is supposed to be getting the two books sometime in the near future.

Barnes & Noble - print and Nook ebook