When the weather outside is frightful…

…my indoor stationary bike is so delightful.

There was no way I was going for a walk on snowy, slushy sidewalks. Not when I have other fitness options. (Although I am getting a bit of cabin fever…I’ve only left the house this week to feed the chickens and go to my twice-weekly biochem class.) I find that stationary biking is a boring as watching paint dry, unless I set it for a difficult interval program. But during the hard bits, I can’t read and bike at the same time. Conveniently, our little-used TV is in front of the bike. Currently I’m watching North & South for the millionth time.

I’m trying to settle once and for all the enduring debate over who makes the best romantic hero:

Richard Armitage as John Thornton in North & South?

Or Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy in the definitive version of Pride and Prejudice?

Really, it’s a question I will quite happily never answer fully. I better watch P&P again, though. Just in case.

Anyhoo, in actual nutrition news, let’s talk about oatmeal. Oatmeal is a wonderful food, when it’s not totally screwed up and turned into something less-than-healthy. Yes, I’m talking about the fact that a certain fast food behemoth is now offering oatmeal on its menu. When I first started seeing those “Bowl full of wholesome” billboards, I gagged a little. Why? I’ll tell you why:

  1. I knew that instant oatmeal would be the oatmeal on offer, and that stuff is so processed that it would be better for you to actually use it as wallpaper paste than to put it in your mouth.
  2. I knew that all sorts of artificial ingredients would be added to it.
  3. I have lingering suspicions about the value of “healthier” fast food menu options. I fear that too many people who might avoid fast food (at least some of the time) allow themselves to enter those establishments with the full intention of “ordering off the healthy menu,” only to break down and go straight for the greasy fried stuff.

So, it should go without saying that I love, love, loved Mark Bittman’s opinion piece on the matter. I loved it all the more because he pointed out how easy and fast it is to make oatmeal from actual rolled oats (not the processed-into-smithereens instant crap):

“If you don’t want to bother with the stove at all, you could put some rolled oats (instant not necessary) in a glass or bowl, along with a teeny pinch of salt, sugar or maple syrup or honey, maybe some dried fruit. Add milk and let stand for a minute (or 10). Eat. Eat while you’re walking around getting dressed. And then talk to me about convenience.”

Seriously easy stuff. Delicious and nutritious. Of course, in all fairness, I did not myself realize how insanely easy it is to make oatmeal until I saw the “Tribute to Oatmeal” on KathEats. Before then, the only oatmeal I ever made was from steel cut oats, which takes a bit longer. Totally worth it, but it’s really a weekend sort of thing. Not something you want to try to do on a busy workday morning.
Jeff and I had our own super-easy oatmeal this morning, which we made the night before. Overnight oats are the best!

I used 1/3 cup each old-fashioned rolled oats, nonfat plain Greek yogurt, and almond milk. I added some cinnamon, a spoonful of peanut flour, and 1/2 ounce of raisins. Mixed, covered, then put it in the fridge. In the morning, I added half a sliced banana. If I’d been going into the office, it would have traveled nicely in a jar or other sealable container.

If you’re hooked on those gross instant oatmeal packets (sorry, but that is really how I feel), I offer you a healthier and cheaper alternative. Mr. Bittman linked to this Simple Dollar post, which I read probably back in 2008, when it was first posted, but forgot about.