Oatmeal Dinner

comments: 45

Oatmeal3In anticipation of the food-fest Thursday, I simmered some oatmeal for dinner last night. This kind, steel cut Irish, is the only kind for me. We've been so busy lately — Andy is crazy-busy at work, not getting home until 9 p.m. (and he leaves around 6 a.m., so that's a long day) and I've been here, working only, not cooking, not shopping for groceries, not even going out or having anyone over. So, dinner for one at the end of a long day, two days before a feast: oatmeal. Yummy.

Oatmeal1Do you know how to make it? It's not that hard and so much better than instant (to me, anyway). They're barely even the same grain, in my opinion. Steel-cut oats look like Grape Nuts, like coarse sand. Rolled oats are pressed flat and look like flakes. When I make steel-cut oats, I put 3 cups of water in the kettle and put it on to boil. Then I put a tablespoon of butter in a non-stick saucepan (the cooked oatmeal will turn into paste, so cleaning the pan is easier if it's non-stick, but you can use any saucepan and just soak it right away). Melt the butter and then add 1 cup of oats. Stir them around over medium heat for about two minutes; you will start to smell their delicious, nutty flavor.

Oatmeal2When the water boils (and it should be around the same time the oats are finished toasting), carefully pour the water into the saucepan with the oats. It will bubble like crazy, so just give it a stir and turn it down if it's a little out of control. It will settle; give it a stir. Turn the heat so that things are simmering, and leave it all uncovered to bubble gently for about 25 minutes. When the water is absorbed, give it all a stir again and plop it in your bowl.

Oatmeal5Perhaps use a deeper bowl than this one. I was talking on the phone while doing this so things got a little overflowy. I top my oatmeal with the classics — brown sugar, milk, and raisins. I don't stir — I layer, then hunt and peck. Besides being good for you (perhaps with a bit less sugar, ahem), Irish oatmeal tastes awesome.

Tomorrow my family comes for Thanksgiving. I'm very excited to get in the kitchen and get cooking; I feel like it's been weeks since I made anything fancy. It will also be the first major doorbell-ringing test for the new-and-improved Audrey-and-Alicia duo. Thanks for all the advice yesterday. I felt really bad that maybe I was being too tough on my dog, and was just punishing her instead of praising her. I actually think she's relieved to have some boundaries set, but I did want to make sure I was praising the good behavior.

So yesterday when the mailman came, I walked over to her and put her leash on. We walked over to the middle of the room and she sat down. We stood there quietly as the mailman clambered up the stairs and banged on the metal mailbox (which typically sends the dog into a hysterical frenzy, sort of like a squirrel loose in the house; she has jumped right through the screen door to get to him). But this time, nothing. A little whine, a quiver, a shift. I stood patiently. He left. She stayed quiet. I stood amazed, absolutely amazed. I lavished praise and thanks. She seemed very proud of herself. We went to the kitchen to get a treat and — we were out of treats! Agh! It was so funny. But she did so well. What I do feel bad about is not having done this years ago. I don't think she enjoys freaking out like that at all, but we really never effectively prevented her from doing it, or gave her an alternative. And she definitely needed the leash — it's almost like a potential splash of cold water on someone who is hysterical. I'm glad that someone said not to open the door until she was completely calm, and to teach her to sit politely to greet guests. I think we are supposed to have a special place for her to go to, so I need to work on that. That is my big goal. I have been watching the Dog Whisperer show a lot since this summer, when I first saw it, and that has taught me a lot. I hope that we can do well tomorrow when my family comes over, but I am planning on it taking a while before "calmness" rather than "calamity" is the new paradigm. I'm really excited about it, though. I actually haven't stopped talking about it for two days. It feels so good to know, to see, that relationships can change, grow, improve, become completely different. This is something that has been bothering me a lot more than I realized, so, among so many other things, I'm incredibly grateful for this experience. It's so inspiring.

Happy, healthy Thanksgiving, everyone. Thank you for being a part of my life. xoxoxxo


Before you know it, Audrey will behave as beautifully as she looks. Now, if it were only so easy to change the behavior (bad habits) of us humans. Hmmm ... perhaps there's a market there for human leashes for training purposes - just kidding, but it's an idea.

Best wishes for a very Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family Alicia, and thanks for giving us so much.

Cheers ... Cindy

Another dog comment to add to your list - I love dogs and I always feel bad when I visit someone and their dog is badly behaved because I end up not liking the dog and that's really not fair because it's not their fault. It's the dog's person's (a lot of apostrophes) responsibility to teach them to be polite. You are not just doing yourself and your guests a great service in teaching her manners, but Audrey too. Someone once told me that the rule for dogs that they lived by was "if it's not cute in a grown dog, it's not cute in a puppy". I think she meant that if we indulge puppies they are only confused as adults when we then expect different behavior in them. She of course had to live by this becasue she has Newfounlands - and they are big! Have a great - and well behaved - Thanksgiving.


Happy Thanksgiving Alicia. Glad Audrey is behaving so well, What a good girl.

I've always wondered about this oatmeal when I see it in stores. It's more expensive, so I haven't bought it, but you've piqued my curiosity. I'll have to go on a hunt in local shops.

Yay Audrey and Alicia ! What a team effort! Congratulations.

May your Thanksgiving be filled with Love, Joy and of course Gratitude !

I laughed as I read yesterdays post and then the proud moment of peace in today's post. My Sammy goes nuts if you let him out the backdoor at night to do his thing...I discovered that if I simply put my flip-flops on and my winter coat on (over my jammies), put Sammy on his leash and go out with him...peace and quiet!!! Oh happy day!

I've been hooked on the flake oatmeal from McCann's for years...I"ll try the steel cut now that I know your butter trick. Have you ever added craisins? Or nutmeg? Yum!

Happy Thanksgiving, and thank YOU for such a lovely blog.xx

I'm going to get Simon to read this. He adores anything with oats and anything with raisins. In fact he would add either/both to any recipe, given the chance. And does, when I'm not in the kitchen.

I just bought some of the same oatmeal and Alice asked if she could have the tin afterwards. I thought it was great that a 13 year old appreciated the old-fashioned packaging. And it looks great on your blog, too.

Happy Thanksgiving - hope you have a great time.

Ooooo....I second the oatmeal recommendation. Yummmmmmmm. Reminds me of the cracked wheat cereal I had as a kid. :)

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

Your oatmeal looks sooo yum. My English grandfather always insisted that his oatmeal be steel cut, and my mum could never figure out why...perhaps because her mother would boil the oatmeal into a grayish blob and then press the guts out of it and serve it in a solid block - not so yum! But your method sounds delicious, so now I'll have to try it...oh and my favorite oatmeal topping? Dark chocolate covered raisins...delish!

Happy Thanksgiving in return!

OH! I am addicted to the steel cut oats! Here's a southern addition...crumbled crispy bacon on top. Not healthy at all, but oh so delicious! And you know what else? I just make a ton of it at once and keep it in the fridge for my kids...that way the 30 minute cooking time doesn't impede the enjoyment.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to you Alicia and Andy. I'm so grateful for living on NE 24th St. and wondering into your fabulous shop, only to meet you. I'm grateful that you started a blog to tell your daily story. You make many a day so much brighter and you often provoke much needed thought.

(mailman just put mail through the slot -- half expected to hear Audrey go nuts -- see the effect you have :))

I think you should sumbit this post to Ceaser -- he would welcome your success story. Happy Thanksgiving new-&-improved Audrey!!!!

Cheers! Mmmm... can't wait for the Prosecco!

Thank you for that last comment. Although you should be thanked, for posting so often and so beautifully and always being inspiring and honest.

And congratulations to Audrey!

A very happy and healthy Thanksgiving to you and yours Alicia!

So glad that Audrey is doing well. Will be trying some of those techniques on my own barking maniac!
That oatmeal looks amazing. If only the grocery stores weren't overflowing, I run down there right now to get some...yum!
Have a great Thanksgiving and enjoy the cooking.

Thought I'd share with you a yummy recipe for steel cut oatmeal that I got from my local Trader Joe's. While the oatmeal is cooking, saute some apple slices in butter, brown sugar and cinnamon. Then top the oatmeal with this delish pie-like topping and drizzle with some milk or half and half. My hubby adores this any time of day! Bon Appetite!

ohh this is my favorite !!!!!! Clarice

Yes, I do know how to prepare steel cut oatmeal. My husband just loves it. We purchase it at our local green grocery store. I find that it's more nutty tasting.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family as well. And thank YOU for being a part of our lives too. You always bring alittle bit of sunshine to my (our) day!


The way you are training your dog for receiving visitors bears much similarity to how we have to train our kids - boundaries, rewards, etc. And a dog that is treated as a child is a very very nice thing to hear about.

We ate the same for dinner last night and we were thinking we were all crazy. So it's nice to know our friends are crazy, too :D


Heather Bond says: November 22, 2006 at 01:27 PM

Nice idea with the butter, I'll have to try it. I'm lazy and just let it soak overnight so it takes a fraction of the time to cook in the morning. Kudos on the Audrey training. She's such a beautiful girl and now so well behaved. A very happy Thanksgiving to all of you at Chez Posey!

We eat the Irish oats for breakfast in the morning. We put them in the crock pot over night a la Alton Brown from Good Eats and they are ready when we wake up. It really helps on New England winter mornings to know there is a hot bowl of steel cut oats ready for you if you...just...get...out...of...bed!

Wonderful holiday wishes to your family, Alicia- including the new-and-improved Audrey :)

I'm a sucker for oatmeal too...went all the way to Italy and most of the time I ate oatmeal!

Have a yummy Thanksgiving and thank you so much for letting us be a part of your life!!

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About Alicia Paulson


My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at aliciapaulson.com




Since August of 2011 I've been using a Canon EOS 60D with an EF 18-200mm kit lens and an EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens.