Berry Blasted Oatmeal

There are two kinds of childhoods to have in America: the one where you’re allowed to have sugar cereal and the one where you’re not.

I’m the product of the former sort of childhood and Craig’s the product of the latter. If scientists were to study us to see how my consumption of Lucky Charms, Corn Pops, and Frosted Rice Krispies (yes, that was a thing) and Craig’s non-consumption of these breakfast sugar bombs affected us in later life, they probably wouldn’t be surprised to learn that I have an enormous sweet tooth and Craig usually wants to skip dessert. Also, I do crossword puzzles in pen, get to the movies twenty minutes early, and I almost always choose escalators over elevators when given the choice. Whether this is the result of eating sugar cereal as a child is anyone’s guess.

The point is, as a conscientious adult, I’ve struggled to dial down the sugar in my breakfast. That means more eggs, less pancakes; more oatmeal, less brown sugar mixed in. I also try to buy berries every Sunday at the Atwater Village Farmer’s Market because they’re naturally sweet and they taste good mixed in with yogurt and just the teensiest bit of granola. Also, my 95 year-old Uncle Jerry says the secret to his longevity is eating berries every morning.

This morning, though, the idea of just plain berries in yogurt with granola sounded boring. And plain oatmeal sounded boring too. So I decided to shake things up a bit… and thus my BERRY BLASTED OATMEAL was born.

Here’s what I did (and there won’t be a printable recipe at the end, so pay attention!) (Are you mad?) In a pot, I added ONE TABLESPOON of butter and ONE TABLESPOON of brown sugar:

I realize there are some health nuts out there who will see that and write a comment along the lines of: “OH MY GOD HOW COULD YOU SAY YOU’RE CONSCIENTIOUS AND THEN PUT A WHOLE TABLESPOON OF BUTTER AND A WHOLE TABLESPOON OF BROWN SUGAR IN YOUR OATMEAL YOU MONSTER?!?!?!” To these people I say: middle finger emoji.

Now, you crank up the heat and let that brown sugar cook with the butter for a second until it’s a bit combined and bubbly:

To that, add a bunch of berries. How many berries? As many as your heart desires. I added the whole carton of blackberries, about half a carton of raspberries, and same with the blueberries:

Add a pinch of salt, crank up the heat, and then add a squeeze of orange juice or lemon juice, whatever citrus you have lying around. Just not grapefruit, that’d be weird:

You could also add some booze here like Brandy, but that’d be a totally weird thing to do at 8:30 in the morning, so I’m not saying that I did it. But you could do it (just be sure to pour the brandy into a little measuring spoon first so you don’t pour directly from the bottle over the open flame, or you really will be berry-blasted):

Let the berries cook until the liquid is super syrupy and the berries are mostly broken down:

Then pour the berry compote (because that’s what this is, really) into a separate bowl:

Then, in your now-empty berry pot, add a cup of water:

Bring that to a boil with a pinch of salt and then add half a cup of old-fashioned oats (this serves one, btw):

Stir that in, lower the heat a bit, and cook until your oatmeal’s thick and there’s almost no liquid left. It’ll be a cool pink color:

Pour that into a bowl and then drizzle your compote over the top. Sprinkle on some fresh berries and behold…

… a berry-blasted breakfast that has just a little bit of butter and a little bit of sugar. If you start doing crossword puzzles in pen, showing up to movies twenty minutes early, or riding escalators over elevators, you’ll have this oatmeal to blame.

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