Today is the coldest day of the year. This morning when I went out for my eight mile run the mercury registered -22 °F (-30 °C). The windchill factor was even lower at -38 °F (-39 °C). Needless to say I needed tummy warming nourishment when I got back. I had some steel cut oats already prepared in the fridge. I usually make a nice big batch on the weekends and eat it all week long. I like to follow the recipe from Cook's Illustrated. It calls for proportions of 1 cup oats to 1 cup milk and 3 cups water. The oats are toasted in a hot dry pan (you can add butter if you like) to bring out a wonderful nutty flavor. The toasted oats are added to the simmering liquid and allowed to cook slowly at a simmer without stirring for 20 minutes. Then a pinch of salt is added to bring out the flavors even more and it is stirred gently with the round handle of a wooden spoon until it reaches the desired consistency - about 8-10 minutes more. The oats come out with a nice creamy texture yet still maintains a nice chew on the grains.
While I like fruit and honey or cinnamon sugar on my oats I much prefer them savory. I like to place a poached egg on top, season with salt and pepper, and stir the whole thing up together. Today, however, I was HUNGRY from the run. So I needed more. I also wanted to do away with as much fat as possible. So I cooked up a healthy egg white omelette to go along with the oats. I sautéd together some chopped carrots, celery and lean ham. Four egg whites were whipped up with a splash of milk to a nice frothy consistency. I should mention how I cook the eggs. I like to put them into a hot pan and then pour some water around the edges using my spatula to get the water underneath the eggs. I cover it and let it steam in the pan. The rapidly bubbling water makes the eggs froth and rise to give a very nice light texture. The eggs don't get browned if there's water present. You can do this with scrambled eggs too. Maybe not the best technique for a traditional omelette but it worked great for my purposes. I folded the eggs around the ham and veggies. I love cheese but I omitted it today to keep it low fat. A tiny bit of a really flavorful blue cheese would probably take this one notch higher. However, it was quite satisfying.
Egg whites are essentially pure protein. All of the fat in an egg resides in the yolk (5 grams per egg). If you cut the yolks and have the only the whites you lower the calories and cut out all the fat. Each egg white has about 16 calories and 3.5 grams of protein. One cup of the oatmeal contains 150 calories, 2 grams of fat, 25 grams of healthy carbs and 6 grams of protein. The egg omelette I made has 174 calories, only 4 grams of fat (from the ham), 11 grams of carbohydrates, and 24 grams of protein. A healthy, low fat, carb/protein balanced meal.
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