“There is no greatness where there is not simplicity, goodness and truth.” — Leo Tolstoy

After all the excitement of Halloween is over, the costumes packed away and the last of the super sugary and sinfully sweet indulgences have been digested, it’s time for a bit of stomach soothing simplicity.

Oatmeal is one of the most soothing and satisfying of simple meals. Whether quickly whipped up in the microwave, prepared on the stove top or simmered overnight in a slow cooker, oatmeal is simple to prepare and ever so satisfying.

Made from oat groats, oatmeal is either coarsely ground or cut into small pieces, known as steel cut. Steel cut oats are slightly chewier and nuttier tasting than the regular or quick cooking oatmeal found in round paper canisters. The preparation time is a bit longer for steel cut oats, but the full flavor and pleasing texture is worth the extra effort.

Oatmeal is a particularly amenable ingredient, partnering well with a wide array of fruits, spices, nuts and sweeteners. Try adding crisp chunks of apple, or a spoonful of applesauce to your steaming bowl. Blueberries, raspberries, blackberries or cranberries will add luscious layers of sweetness or tempting tartness. Bananas, peaches, figs and pears are all appealing additions as well. Add some crunchiness with toasted walnuts, almonds, pumpkin or sesame seeds and top it all off with a serious shake of cinnamon and a drizzle of maple syrup.

Containing both soluble and insoluble fiber, simple oatmeal reaches superhero status when it comes to healthy benefits. Insoluble fiber may have cancer preventative capability by reducing the toxicity of disease causing bile acids. Soluble fiber may have a significant impact of reducing LDL cholesterol, the not so good cholesterol, while maintaining levels of “good” HDL cholesterol. Consuming more oatmeal may have a positive effect of the heart by helping to prevent the development of heart disease. A good source of vitamin E, zinc, selenium, copper, manganese and protein, oatmeal will keep the body healthy and happy.

Savor the simplicity of delicious oatmeal as you prepare your delicious life.

Simple and Sweet Oatmeal

Serves 4

(you will need a crockpot)

1 cup steel oats

1 cup dried cranberries

1 cup dried figs or golden raisins

1 cup dried apricots (cut into small pieces)

1 Tablespoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

½ teaspoon allspice

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

4 cups water

½ cup milk (skim milk, almond milk)

Place all the ingredients in a (4-6 serving)  crockpot and set to low heat. Put the cover on and let cook for 8 hours. Serve with a drizzle of half and half, a sprinkle of brown sugar or a drizzle of maple syrup and add a handful of roasted nuts or seeds, if desired, for crunch.

For more information on Robin Glowa, HHC, AADP, “the Conscious Cook,” go to www.theconsciouscook.net