Samantha Stephens's Oatmeal Secrets

Samantha Stephens's Oatmeal Secrets
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Samantha Stephens's Oatmeal Secrets

Read on for New York City's OatMeals founder Samantha Stephens's tips to make oatmeal taste sensational.

Selecting the Best Oats

"In the store, I mostly use a large rice cooker to cook my Quaker Steel Cut Oatmeal. While stovetop preparation is very simple for old-fashioned, rolled or instant oatmeal, if people are looking for a super easy way to properly cook steel-cut oats, purchasing a rice cooker is a very affordable option! It's as simple as throwing in your oats and liquid (water or milk varieties) and pressing a button!"

When it comes to nutrition, "you definitely get great health benefits from eating any kind of oatmeal. Convenience-wise it does take longer to cook steel-cut oatmeal, so for people on the go, it [may be] easier to stick with old-fashioned rolled oats or instant oatmeal," Sam explains.

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Best Ingredient Pairings for Oatmeal At Home

"I always like differences in texture, so if you want to add peanut butter then it might be nice to have something crunchy along with that, like fresh diced apple, some almonds or walnuts," shares Sam. "I think any kind of dairy with fruit is great. I strongly suggest a dollop of Greek yogurt with a little honey and blueberries." Blueberries, walnuts or almonds "can just make your oatmeal a little more exciting every morning."

"Slow cookers are also great for cooking oats while infusing wonderful flavors," she says. "You can throw your oats and some apples, dried cranberries, cinnamon, walnuts, milk and brown sugar (or any fresh fruits, sweeteners, milks, nuts and dried fruits you like) into your slow cooker in the evening and wake up to the sweet aroma of cinnamon apples!"

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Unexpected Ingredients Perfect for Oatmeal

"Definitely, any cheese: parmesan, cheddar, gruyere, gorgonzola, goat cheese or manchego. People don’t think about putting cheese on their oatmeal, but that’s the quickest way to take it into the savory world and probably the easiest. Then oils like olive oil or truffle oil [are] super easy. You probably have [them] in your house and that’s very simple. Also, ham or turkey [are great on oatmeal, and] you might have a little deli meat in your refrigerator [already]. For a couple of the bowls in the store we just sauté deli meat [like] ham... and It’s just wonderful. You could [also] fry yourself an egg, cook some oatmeal and have a very simple dinner," says Sam.

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The Best Spices for Oatmeal

"In the Indian Spiced Bowl, we use cardamom and it is wonderful in oatmeal. People don’t ever think about putting cardamom in oatmeal! Then pumpkin spice is great. Obviously cinnamon and nutmeg, but if you want to get crazy you can do chili flakes or something spicy like chili powder," Sam explains.

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Ingredient Swaps for Oatmeal

"In the store, I offer a water-based oatmeal or a skim-milk based oatmeal," Sam explains, "We do have people who are lactose intolerant or vegan, [so] we also offer almond, soy [and] coconut milk. If you cook the oatmeal in almond milk or in coconut milk that can be really tasty. I think people who think oatmeal is bland should try cooking oatmeal in [one of them] because they may like that creaminess."

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Best Sweeteners for Oatmeal

"We have brown sugar, honey, agave [and] maple syrup [in the store]. If you buy the grade A, really nice quality maple syrup, that’s a great way to sweeten your oatmeal," says Sam.

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Biggest Oatmeal-Making Mistakes

Oatmeal is actually very easy to make. "I think that everyone has their [own] way to eat oatmeal. Some people like it a little thicker, some people like it a little runnier," Sam says. To help, "steel-cut oats can also be soaked overnight to reduce cooking time. You simply boil your oats in water for one minute, then cool down and leave the pot in the refrigerator overnight. In the morning, it just needs to be reheated and stirred," Sam explains. A couple of tries and anyone can shed their fears of cooking oatmeal.

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Storing Extra Oatmeal

"You can totally put [oatmeal] in the refrigerator or in the freezer and then just pop it in the microwave and reheat it. You could add a little water to it to loosen it up a bit when reheating, but it is really cool that you can make a huge pot at the beginning of the week and just work from it throughout the week, or even portion it out into small containers. I’ve seen people get muffin cups and stick oatmeal into them and then just pop them into the microwave in the morning, so that they have premade portions. You can definitely make it ahead of time, and it holds very well," Sam explains.

Image Credit: Getty Images


To Sam Stephens, oatmeal is no ordinary dish.

As Quaker's Creative Oatmeal Officer and as the owner of New York City's OatMeals, Sam has made a career out of perfecting oatmeal. With the help of basic ingredients, she has managed to transform oatmeal from a simple breakfast food into so much more.

Check out the slideshow above to learn Sam Stephens's expert tips to amp up oatmeal and to make it extra delicious.

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5 Reasons You Should Eat More Oats
The Dos and Don'ts of Eating Healthy Brunch Foods
Cinnamon Oatmeal Apples

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