Posted by: Kath Usitalo | January 12, 2010

Holy Rolled Oats: It’s National Oatmeal Month

Start the day with hot oatmeal and a dab of locally made Eight Mile Rd. Honey

Until fourth grade I never knew what oatmeal was. Oh, our family consumed plenty of it; on chilly days when other kids had bowls of steaming Cream of Wheat following them around, my siblings and I had kettles of hot rolled oats on our tails.

But it took me a while to realize that oatmeal and the stuff we called puuro, a Finnish word for porridge, were one and the same. Our Finnish-American Grandma, who lived more than 99 years, ate puuro religiously and the word rolled off her tongue. We kids unpoetically pronounced it something like boo-du-wah. Appetizing, eh?

January is National Oatmeal Month so it’s okay for you to go crazy with rolled oats. Pulverize them and add to bath water, whip up a facial mask, make a batch of cookies or muffins (see recipe below), or try this Michigan Baked Oatmeal from Mr. Breakfast.

One January morning when Paige and Graham were about 7 and 11 years old I put bowls of steaming puuro in front of them and told them that I’d just heard on the radio that students who ate oatmeal did better in school than those who ate other breakfast foods. Our kids gamely eat just about everything, but they never warmed up to boo-du-wah. Paige, who simply does not like the texture and has to choke it down, gave me a “nice try” look and said, “Mommy, I think we’re doing pretty good already.” (A pointed reference to both hers and Graham’s straight-A elementary school records.) She got a pass on the oatmeal that morning.

It’s still not a favorite of the kids, but TJ and I often eat oatmeal. I like to add a little Eight Mile Rd. Honey made by Green Toe Gardens, which keeps bees in the city of Detroit and its near north suburbs. Green Toe Gardens carries 8 honeys made by Michigan bees; we bought our Eight Mile Rd. and Wild Detroit honeys at Avalon International Breads in Detroit, but they’re also sold at the Farmer’s Market in Royal Oak.

Lee Womack, who leads the wellness programs at Forest Dunes, shares a healthy muffin recipe that includes oatmeal

At last week’s Women’s Wellness retreat at Forest Dunes in Roscommon we had a cooking class and learned to make tasty-and-good-for-you muffins, which we enjoyed at breakfast with—what else—a bowl of oatmeal. (Check back tomorrow for more about the Women’s Dynamic Winter Wellness retreat; the upcoming event dates are February 5-7.)

Whole Grain Blackberry Spice Muffins

Courtesy Lee Womack, Forest Dunes Wellness Director

1 C unbleached organic flour
1 C organic whole wheat flour
1 C rolled oats
1 C packed dark brown sugar
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp apple pie spice

1 C Fat-free milk
3 Tbs butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1-1/c C frozen blackberries, coarsely chopped
1/4 C granulated sugar

Dense and delicious muffins for breakfast

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flours and next 6 ingredients (through apple pie spice) in a large bowl. Make a well in center of mixture. Combine milk, butter, vanilla and egg in a small bowl; add to flour mixture, stirring until just moist. Gently stir in blackberries.
Spoon 1/4 cup batter into each of 17 paper-lined muffin cups coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400 degrees for 16 minutes. Sprinkle muffins evenly with granulated sugar; bake 3 minutes or until muffins spring back when touched lightly in center. Cool in pans on wire racks.

(Note: Other berries may be substituted.)



  1. Horray for oatmeal! I love it…..with raisins and brown sugar! Yummo!

    • True story: I got TJ into eating oatmeal and initially he loaded it up with so much honey he earned his first cavity! He still adds the nuts and raisins, though.

  2. Can attest to the tastiness of the muffins – they’re yummy! And I think there must be something to this healthy eating thing – or maybe it was just spending time with Kath. Post wellness weekend, I felt energized.

    • It was all in the way you stirred the batter!
      Tomorrow I’m going to make them with some Southwest Michigan blueberries that have been in the freezer….

  3. I found this by searching for Finnish and oatmeal because I was trying to spell “puuro” and translate wasn’t helping. I didn’t find out what oatmeal was until about 6th grade! It’s fun to find a stranger with such an interesting connection.

    • Hi Kari: It’s a small world thanks to the internet, isn’t it. I really need to update this because now my daughter Paige likes oatmeal (her older brother, not so much).
      I have posted other Finnish recipes if you’re interested.
      Thanks for checking in at Great Lakes Gazette!

  4. […] Whole Grain Blackberry Spice Muffins […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: