Clockwise, from top, center: Pistachios, Vanilla Beans, Prunes, Blueberries, coco nobs, raisins, hazelnuts, cherries, pecans, oranges, apricots, coconut sugar, sunflower seeds, white sesame seeds, ginger, pumpkin seeds. Center: Steel cut oats. 

You know that guy from middle school who was kindof dorky and wore glasses and you ignored him and now that your a grown up, you're like, he's hot and successful and really nice -- wow -- I was stupid for ignoring him? Oats are like that.

We're so used to them being served like flavorless mush, we forget how great they are. They are so fantastic, in fact, that I made a temporary shrine to them on my kitchen table which you can see above. What inspired this? Well, first is we've been a little down on our blog game of late and since none of the other sisters [MERCINA] are going to pick up their game [AHEM AHEM SNEEZELIBERTYKIMBERGLORIANNA COUGH COUGH] I thought I would do it. Secondly, I ate a lot over the holidays. I think I personally consumed over three dozen cookies. This is never a good idea. Especially when cOATs will be coming off soon enough and everyone will see the remnants of the cookie. So I thought, "I should take it easy on the sugar. Why don't I have some steel cut oats for breakfast?" But right there was the rosemary maple glaze my eternaboo had used the night before to cook. I thought, "I'll just cook them in there." Peeps, it was fantastic. Since then, I've been on a bit of an oat kick. Yoni left town, I emptied the cupboards and made an oat foodscape. You could say oats have kind of changed my life.  

So to kick-start your resolutions, I give you a few ideas:

OAT BASICS: 4 parts liquid to 1 part steel cut oats

Sautée onions in a little butter. Add 1 cup steel cut oats. In another pot, boil 3 cups veggie stock and 1 cup white wine or beer. Ladle into oats, letting them absorb the moisture. When you've used all of the liquid, add some pecorino cheese and sautéed mushrooms

VARIATION: Sautée oats and onions and boil 2 cups broth, one cup beer and one cup apple juice. Ladle liquid into oats until absorbed. When done, add grated cheddar and chunks of apple and sausage. Serve with freshly grated cheese.

Steel Cut Oats with Maple, Sage, Dried Apricot and Pumpkin Seeds
Cook the rosemary with the oatmeal and add an extra pinch of salt. Either serve it with cream and extra maple syrup for breakfast -- it's really good -- or serve it as a side. I think it would be particularly good with beef or anything that is a little gamey.

Morning Oat Mixes: Dried cherry, Cocoa Nibs and Hazlenut. Blueberry, almond, cinnamon, dried ginger and brown sugar. Toasted Sesame, Coconut and dried mango. Apple compote, cream and pecan.

So enjoy your hotee (cereal) this morning and if you'd like, every morning. Seriously.