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How to Cook Oatmeal Perfectly

How to Cook Oatmeal Perfectly

Oatmeal is a great choice for breakfast because it’s a whole grain, which is good for your heart and digestive health, and full of fiber, which keeps you feeling full longer. It’s easy to customize oatmeal in a lot of different ways, which makes it less boring to eat regularly.

When cooking oatmeal, there’s a fine line between a delicious bowl of breakfast and a sticky, unappetizing mess. Learn how to cook oatmeal perfectly and you’ll have no more disappointment at the breakfast table.

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Types of Oatmeal

Before you think about how to cook oatmeal, you need to know what kind of oatmeal to buy. There are three major types that you can buy at the grocery store: instant or quick-cooking oats, rolled oats and steel-cut oats.

Steel-cut oats are the most traditional and longest-cooking variety. They are cut and steamed before packaging and are usually chewier than other varieties. Rolled oats are produced in much the same way but they are also rolled into flakes that make them a more consistent size and allow them to cook more quickly. Quick-cooking oats are rolled oats cut into smaller pieces that can cook in about a minute (compared to five minutes for the “slow” version), while instant oats are precooked and cut before packaging.

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Instant oats are usually sold in individual packages with seasonings included. Add boiling water, stir and they’re ready to eat.

Any kind of oatmeal can be cooked well, but your choice will depend on how much texture you like your oatmeal to have and how much time you have to cook it. Most people will be happy with rolled oats, which only take a few minutes to cook perfectly but have more texture and flavor than the quicker-cooking varieties.

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Preparing Quick-Cooking Oats

To make a single serving of quick-cooking oats, you’ll need a cup of water or milk (milk makes the creamiest oatmeal) and a little bit of salt, as well as half a cup of oats. Bring the liquid to a boil, stir in the oats and cook on the stove top for about a minute, stirring regularly. You want the water to be absorbed but don’t let them get too thick.

You can also cook quick-cooking oats in the microwave; just mix all the ingredients and cook on high for one to one and a half minutes.

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Cooking Rolled Oats

Regular rolled oats are cooked in much the same way as their quick-cooking counterparts, and they only take a little longer. Use the same ratio of half a cup of oats to a cup of liquid, but let the oatmeal cook about five minutes on the heat before serving. You can also cook them in the microwave for two and a half to three minutes.

How to Cook Steel-Cut Oats

Steel-cut oats are the least processed oats and thus take the longest to cook. The best way to cook steel-cut oats is to start the night before in your slow cooker. Combine two cups of oats with six cups of water and a pinch of salt, and cook on low for six or seven hours (or on high for three to three-and-a-half hours).

Seasoning Options

Don’t buy oatmeal in a preseasoned packet. It’s not as tasty and you’ll end up eating a lot more salt and sugar than if you just made it yourself. There are a lot more options if you do your own mix-ins: my family’s favorite sauteed diced apple and pecans with a little maple syrup served on top.

Other great options include:

  • cinnamon or other spices
  • nuts
  • peanut butter
  • jelly or jam
  • honey
  • dried fruit
  • applesauce—plain or flavored

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Last Updated on January 11, 2021

11 Hidden Benefits of Using Oil Diffusers

11 Hidden Benefits of Using Oil Diffusers

Affordable, relaxing, and healthy, oil diffusers are gaining popularity with people everywhere due to their extensive benefits. Oil diffusers work through the simple process of oil diffusion, which uses heat to turn oil into a vapor that is then spread around a living space. Diffused oil can have several relaxation and health-related benefits, including safe scent-dispersion, mosquito and mold defense, stress relief, and more!

Read on for 11 hidden benefits of using oil diffusers.

1. Safe Scents That Make Sense

Unlike candles or air fresheners, oil diffusers release cleansing molecules into your air that work to purify it, not overload it with unhealthy chemicals. Electronic diffusers also do not pose the fire risk that candles do. Plus, they contain the added feature of interchangeability, which means you change oil types for different scents and health benefits.

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2. Stress Relief

Several lab studies have confirmed that diffusing essential oils like lavender have been shown to reduce stress and help relieve anxiety in medical patients. Preliminary studies have also shown that oil diffusers can help alleviate symptoms of depression.

3. Improved Sleep

Diffused oil has relaxing properties that can help people of all ages fall asleep quicker and sleep more soundly. Electronic diffusers not only have the option to mix and match different oil blends (Try a lavender, Bulgarian rose, and Roman chamomile blend to help with insomnia), they also run at a gentle hum that helps relax an agitated mind. Many also come with an auto shut-off feature to help conserve oils once you have fallen asleep.

4. Appetite Control

Much like gum, oil diffusers can help stimulate the senses in a way that works to curb appetite. New research has shown that diffused peppermint oil can help curb appetite by inducing a satiety response within the body. Diffused peppermint oil has also been shown to increase energy.

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5. Bacteria and Mold Killing

When essential oils are diffused in the air, they break down free radicals that contribute to the growth of harmful bacteria. Eucalyptus, thyme, and tea tree oils are especially good for this purpose. Diffused oil is also highly effective when it comes to combating fungal yeast threats, as the oil help makes the air inhospitable for yeasts such as mold. Pine and red thyme essential oils are best for combating mold.

6. Decongestion and Mucus Control

Ever tried Vick’s Vapo-Rub? Its decongesting powers come from active ingredients made from the eucalyptus tree. In principle, oil diffusers work the same way as Vapo-Rub, except they diffuse their decongesting vapor all around the room, not just on your chest or neck. Oil diffusers have been known to cure pneumonia in lab mice.

7. Mosquito Repellant

Nobody likes mosquitoes — but when the trade-off means using repellants full of DEET, a toxic chemical that can be especially harmful to children, mosquito control can often seem like a lose-lose. However, scientists have shown that oil diffusers can be used as a safe and highly effective mosquito repellant. Studies have shown that a diffused oil mixture containing clove essential oil and lemongrass essential oil repelled one type of Zika-carrying mosquito, the Aedes aegypti mosquito, at a rate of 100%.

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8. Pain Relief

While applying oils directly to areas of your body may be the most effective way to alleviate pain, diffusing essential oils can also be an effective means of pain relief. When we inhale healthy essential oils, they enter our blood stream and can help internally relieve persistent pain from headaches, overworked muscles, and sore joints.

9. The New Anti-Viral

Research into the anti-viral effects of oil diffusion is now just gaining steam. A recent study showed that star anise essential oil was proven in medical experiments to destroy the herpes simplex virus in contained areas at a rate of 99%. Another study showed the popular DoTerra oil blend OnGuard to have highly-effective influenza-combating powers.

10. Improved Cognitive Function

Diffusing essential oils has also been shown to improve cognitive function. Many essential oils have adaptogenic qualities, which can work twofold in soothing us when we’re stressed, and giving our bodies a pick-me-up when we’re feeling down or sluggish. By working to level out an imbalanced mood, diffused oils also help us to focus. There are also several essential oils which have been shown to help balance the body’s hormones. With prolonged use, these oils can work to repair the underlying causes responsible for hindering cognitive function.

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11. Money Saving

With ten clear benefits of oil diffusers already outlined, there is one more that should now be obvious: using an oil diffuser will help you to save money. As an anti-viral, bug repelling, and stress-relief solution rolled into one safe product, an oil diffuser used with the proper oils will save you money on products you might otherwise be buying to help cure those pesky headaches or get your kids to fall asleep on time. If you’re wondering just how affordable oil diffusers can be, check the buyer’s guide to the best oil diffusers — you’ll be sure to find one that fits your budget!

Featured photo credit: Jopeel Quimpo via unsplash.com

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