November 21, 2012

Steel cut oats failures

You know what time I woke up this morning? 4:45.


My kids spent the night with my parents, Jerry was at work, I didn't have a run on the schedule, so it was the PERFECT morning for sleeping in. And I was wide awake at 4:45. This insomnia I've had lately has got to go.

Anyway, today is Wednesday--my weigh-in day :) I was pleased with the scale this morning:
135.5... so I am just 2.5 pounds away from my goal weight! I used every available PointsPlus this week, too. ALL of my daily points, ALL of my 49 weekly points, and ALL of my 27 earned activity points.

Yesterday, I had a really big craving for steel cut oats for dinner--which is very strange, because I never eat steel cut oats! So I made a big pot of them for dinner, being careful not to ruin them like I usually do, and Jerry and I each ate it. I thought they tasted funny, and especially smelled weird (kind of like cardboard), but I figured that's how they were supposed to taste/smell.

I had used the last of them, and when I went to Kroger for grapes, I also bought some more steel cut oats. Last night, I opened the new oats to smell them, just to see if they were, in fact, supposed to smell like cardboard. And no, they smelled very nutty and fresh. I'm guessing the ones we ate for dinner were at least three years old, if not older. Blech!

Since I had screwed that up, I was still craving a good bowl of the oats. So I put them in the crock pot to cook overnight. (Let me just preface this by saying that the reason I never eat steel cut oats is because I cannot, for the LIFE of me, cook them--they either burn, or boil over, or undercook, or I use oats that are 3+ years old). Here are a couple of past attempts:
Microwave fail

Stove top fail
At 5:00 in the morning, way earlier than I should have been awake or eating, I went to check on the oats--and they were burned to the side of the crock pot! I tasted them, and they tasted very burnt, surely because I put the sugar in to cook with them, rather than wait until after they were cooked. Awesome. Burnt sugar tastes great.
Crock pot fail
I threw those out, and decided to make them in a pot on the stove like I had last night, since it was so God-blessed early and I certainly had the time. I put everything in the pot, and went in the living room to watch some TV while I waited. Totally forgot to reduce the heat, and they looked like this about 10 minutes later:
I was SO frustrated. Why can't a girl just have a frickin' bowl of steel cut oatmeal at 5 in the morning?!

I gave it one last chance. I put the stuff in the pot (the bag was nearly empty already, and I had just bought it), and set the heat to LOW so that I couldn't overcook it. I set the timer every 5 minutes to check and stir. Announced on Twitter that this was my final attempt. And finally, FINALLY--at 7:00, I had a nice bowl of oatmeal. Actually, four bowls--three for the fridge and one for my belly.
Finally, I felt satisfied. The oats were delicious, and super creamy. I used 1 cup oats, 2 cups water, 2 cups milk, and a pinch of salt. Then I added 1/4 cup of brown sugar to the whole pot after it was done. At four bowls, that totaled 6 PointsPlus per bowl. I learned that low and slow on the stove, checking constantly, is the way to go when it comes to steel cut oats. I'm glad it only took me 218 tries to figure that out.

Today I went to my "first" Weight Watchers meeting. I put that in quotes because I've been to plenty of meetings in my lifetime, but this was the first in a very long time. I wore really heavy clothing, boots, and drank a ton of water before I left. I want my WW goal weight to be 143 (that's with clothes--at home, for my weigh-ins, I weigh naked). Which means I'd have to start at 148 in order to lose 5 pounds and reach goal. At the meeting, I weighed in at exactly 148 with all of my heavy stuff on. (I could have avoided all this math if I didn't have to wait so long for a new 12-week session through Jerry's work).

Anyway, I was SO nervous when I went in there that I felt like I was going to poop vomit. They had me sign in, and my hand was shaking so badly that I couldn't even read my signature. I sat down and there was another girl in there, who was probably a little younger than me, and she started chatting with me. That made me feel much less awkward. I'm terrible at small talk, and don't usually say anything until people talk to me first--and I guess that comes across as snobby. But she was easy to talk to.

Then the leader came in, and she was really nice. There were only four of us in the meeting, and I liked that it was small. We talked about Thanksgiving plans, and how to get through dinner without getting completely off track. I established myself as a total lush when the leader asked us to guess how many PointsPlus were in certain items--and the first one was a 5 oz. glass of wine. I got a little eager and said, "Four!" right away, because DUH, wine is my beverage of choice I am a total lush I drink a glass of wine every night. I knew the answers to all of them, but stopped answering because I had wine on my mind nobody likes a know-it-all.

I didn't say this at the meeting, because wine! I didn't want to seem like that girl... but Thanksgiving isn't difficult for me. I don't care much for turkey, or mashed potatoes, or any of the usual turkey dinner stuff. The only thing that I absolutely LOVE is my mom's sweet potato casserole--no doubt because it has multiple sticks of butter and tons of brown sugar. So tomorrow, I'll probably have a couple ounces of white meat turkey, 1/2 cup of sweet potato casserole, and a piece of pie.

Have a great Thanksgiving, and a safe Black Friday (I'm staying in--I'm not brave enough to do that)!


  1. Happy Thanksgiving Katie,

    I am glad your weigh in worked out. Did you feel awkward being there due to your small size? We've talked about that before and I was wondering how it felt for you. :)

    Michelle Christine

  2. I make my steel-cut oats in the crock pot. The key is to just cook it plain on low in a little crock pot, then add the toppings and mix ins later. Here's my approach:

  3. I'm glad to read that I'm not the only one out there that isn't crazy about Thanksgiving food. If I had my way, I'd just do a pot roast or a lasagna. About the only thing I end up eating besides a slice of turkey is salad and a roll.

    Hope you have a great Thanksgiving! And I'll be one of the crazy people out on Black Friday - roped my niece into going with me so it should be fun.l

  4. I have the same bad luck making rice. I have to make it in a rice cooker. I wonder if you can make oatmeal in a rice cooker and have it turn out good? I'm too lazy to make stove top oatmeal (for the reason of it being so difficult), but I'd so be down for testing it in the rice cooker.

    Also, I'm the know-it-all in my meeting. I'm the one that goes against the grain a lot of times though. Sometimes I disagree with WW on their nutritional information (or lack there of). Today I just went on my "dairy fat is good for you" tirade.

    I know you'll do great tomorrow. Have a happy and healthy day tomorrow!

    1. I have cooked oatmeal in my rice cooker and it turned out good. Right now I don't remember the exact ratios I used but I think it might have just been the usual. It was nice because I didn't have to baby sit it while doing other morning activities.

  5. I eat steel cut oats all the time. Love them! I get Coach's oats and follow the directions on the bag for microwaving an individual bowl and it works every single time.
    Just mix the water and oats in a bowl and microwave 4 minutes on 60%.
    'm impressed you tried making them so many times. I would have chucked the whole idea after the second fail!

  6. Have a happy Thanksgiving! Up in Canada we just started doing black friday sales, I'm a little bummed about it, because it's my birthday and now I have to work because they expect hordes of people! Oh well, it's probably smarter to enjoy family at home than to venture out! :D

  7. Your social anxiety sounds like my social anxiety. I hate how nervous I get. I tend to shake when I get nervous so then I get more nervous at the thought of people seeing me shake. It's horrible. LOL Happy Thanksgiving :)

  8. We're braving Black Friday for the first time to get phones. We're only going to the Verizon store, so we should be ok, but it's across the street from walmart, and that's kind of scary.

  9. You need to try Coach's Oats. Easy SCO's and I never ruin them :)
    I have a couple simple recipes/methods on reg SCO's I can throw your way.

  10. Hee Hee! I get so nervous and shake too! I have been very successful at WW and try not to be "that girl" but was once referred to as "the poster child for WW" during a meeting by some of the members. I always feel guilty going into a new meeting at gola I shouldnt be there. Happy Thanksgiving. I am doing a 15 mile training run early, and I think that a bowl of oatmeal will hit the spot when I am done!

  11. The slow cooker strategy for steel cut oats has NEVER worked for me - with or without sugar, always burns to the side. Stove top all the way! If you ever come across a bottle of pure maple sugar, it is quite delicious with your oats.

  12. hi, wanted to listen to your Sparkpeople interview, I do not have itunes. Is it possible otherwise?
    (Same about your interview with 'Halfsize me' I had not listened to the entire thing & the link that you provided does not have the "Listen" option anymore :(

  13. LOL at your steel cut oats adventure!

    Great loss this week! It's funny how eating more can work to our advantage some times. There are times that that can get me in trouble for the next week because my little mind games start going, "Well, since I hate xx last week and still lost I could probably go ahead and xx today and it will be ok." Do you do that sort of thing with yourself too? Ugh, I hate it when I let the little devil on my shoulder win.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family! I am very thankful for you and your blog. You have been a huge source of inspiration for me as I go through this process of losing weight, so thank you!

  14. Try making steel cut oats in your slow cooker! I've never been able to make them successfully in a pot. Just set it on high for 2-3 hours :)

  15. Ugh, insomnia and I know each other too well. Glad your first WW meeting went well.

  16. I always, always bubble over my oats in the microwave; I've grown impatient with the steel cut oats even though they do taste pretty great. They just take too darned long to cook!
    No Black Friday for me, either. I'm doing all of my shopping online this year. BIG sigh!!

    1. I've mastered old fashioned oats and quick cooking oats in the microwave and on the stove top... but the damn steel cut oats get me EVERY time!

  17. Love you dedication to the oats! I cook mine like this all the time, and love this method. I too have had horrible problems with the microwave. I love waking up and having the oats almost completely ready to eat.

    1. That's an interesting method that I'm going to keep in mind! Sounds very simple, and (I think) fool proof :)

  18. Thought of you when i found this link!!!

    1. That method is BRILLIANT!! I'm out of cooked oats in the fridge, so I'm going to give that a try tonight. Thanks for sharing!

  19. I enjoyed your journey with the oats. Maybe my method would work for you. I put 1 1/2 c. steel oats, 6 cups water, 1 Tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp salt, a handful of dried cranberries in my pressure cooker, and cook them for 18 minutes. When the pressure goes down, I add 2 big diced apples and a handful of walnuts. Stir them in. Makes me 9 morning servings of delicious oatmeal every time!


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