Serves 4-6

Coconut is such a summer flavor to me.  It reminds me of beach time and suntan lotion.  Wait… did I just imply that I eat suntan lotion?  I think the smell of coconut is something most people agree reminds them of summer.  And while I don’t eat oatmeal as much in the summer, I decided to try out making this one the night before so I could enjoy it cold the next morning.  I have to admit, it’s feeling less like summer as kids are starting to go back to school, and it seems like everyone’s thinking ahead to fall.  I love fall, but I am also holding on to the last few wisps of summer while I can.

One of the things I really love about steel cut oats is that when you cook them they release more of their soluble fiber than rolled oats, which means you can add more liquid and when chilled the liquid forms a gel.  I thought the texture would be reminiscent of custard, like in coconut cream pie.  Of course, its still oatmeal, so you are getting a bunch of oats in there too.  But it worked really well overall and was definitely a great way to kick of my day.

I always order my vanilla beans online; they seriously rip you off if you try to buy them at the food store.  These are the vanilla beans I buy.  In this recipe I scrape and then plop the bean into the liquid (you get more flavor out of it that way) but if you ever have a recipe that calls just to scrape it, put the remaining bean into your sugar.  It’s a lovely way to get the most out of them. I have like 12 in my sugar, so you can just keep sticking them in there with no worries.  If you don’t want to shell out for the beans, no worries, you can just use 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract in here.

This makes a fabulous dessert, it is really similar to rice pudding.  In fact, rice pudding is a favorite of hubby’s, so he was pretty excited about this one when he tasted it.  He thought it was more pudding than it was oatmeal.  I’ll take it!!  So what I’m getting at is don’t feel weird making this for dessert.  In fact its a super healthy one that is really filling.

Health highlight of oats:  Oats are packed with fiber and antioxidants, and can help reduce your cholesterol (from all that aforementioned soluble fiber).  Oats have also been shown to help reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes, and help stabilize blood sugar.  They have been shown to protect your heart, and contain a lot of great vitamins and minerals.  Oats are a great source of manganese which serves several important functions in your body including protection from free radical damage.

Ingredients:

1 can Coconut Milk
2 ¼ cups Water
1 Vanilla Bean
1 cup Oats
¼ cup Maple Syrup

Optional toppings: Berries, Toasted Coconut Flakes

Instructions:

  • In a large pot combine the coconut milk and water
  • Cut the vanilla bean in half lengthwise
  • With the back of a small knife, scrape out the gooey seedy middle of both halves of the bean and add it to the coconut milk mix in the pot
  • Add both vanilla bean halves to the pot
  • Bring the coconut milk, water, and vanilla mixture to a boil
  • Add the oats and maple, stir well
  • Reduce the heat to low, add the lid and cook for about 30 minutes or until the oats are the consistency that you like em
  • Enjoy warm, or refrigerate overnight and eat them cold in the morning with your toppings of choice
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