Cranberry Oatmeal
A Diabetic-Friendly Breakfast by S. John and Sandra Ross, ©2003

I love cranberries in a way that borders on the wrong. I'm a winter-and-autumn kind of guy anyway, so the food traditions of the season are doubly comforting. Being diabetic, I also treasure those food traditions I can still enjoy, and cranberries are a very diabetic-friendly fruit, mainly because they're as bitter as the Devil's own sarcasm, with barely a speck of natural sugar inside them. Just about anything worth eating with cranberries involves sweetened cranberries, but when I can do my own sweetening, its easy to use Splenda and other non-impact alternatives.

Cranberries also freeze perfectly, with no loss in quality. Grab several packs (the supermarket sells them in 10-ounce plastic bags in the produce section) when they're in season, and stock up for the entire year - a little fresh cranberry sauce in the middle of summer feels good.

Anyway, here's a breakfast Sandra and I have been making for one another a lot lately. I whipped it up playfully a few weeks ago and we've gotten addicted to it. It's warm, filling, super-tasty and brain-dead easy:

  • 3 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • A dash each cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger
  • 2/3 cups Splenda (substitute sugar if you prefer, adjust to taste)
  • A handful (about 3-1/3 ounces) fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1-1/2 cups raw rolled oats

Combine everything but the oats in a saucepan - one that leaves a bit of headroom for boiling. Bring it to a boil, cooking the cranberries until they pop. The little buggers can stain anything, so keep a cover handy and wipe any spills immediately with a damp cloth. Once the berries are popped, stir in the oats, stir 'em for a bit, then lower them to the gentlest of simmers. Cover and let stand for a few minutes until the oatmeal is thickened to your taste (I usually let it go 10 minutes or so). Serve hot. This serves Sandra and I as a standalone breakfast, or you could split it three or four ways as an excellent accompaniment to a protein breakfast, like a hot slab of pan-fried ham and an egg or two. Cranberries and ham go nice together.

Half the pot - a very substantial bowlful - has just 47 grams of carbs, 8 of which are fiber (net impact 33 grams, about the same as two modest slices of bread). I like a splash of unsweetened soymilk on mine; Sandra and I eat our oatmeal curled up together on the couch while watching music videos, Buffy reruns or our Lord of the Rings DVDs. Enjoy!

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