How-to: Cook Breakfast in your Thermos Overnight
June 13, 2011 3 Comments
By way of saying thank you to my buddy Flea over at Be a Survivor, who was kind enough to throw up an unsolicited plug this morning and let people know I am blogging again – I figured I would do a preparedness related post today. Both as a way to push people back to Flea and as an accommodation to his readers who I’m sure will stop-by.
For those who didn’t know, I used to do a preparedness/survival/bushcraft/gear related blog called RangerSquirrel’s Ramblings. I had a lot of fun with that project, made a lot of good friends and even started getting some serious hits near the end – but it stopped being fun and I ran out of things to write about – so I stopped. As soon as I started getting sponsors posting became a responsibility to my sponsors rather than a responsibility to my readers. That was the end for me.
For those who drop by that used to read my old blog, welcome! You’ll notice some changes here. First – no sponsors. This isn’t a money making venture – it’s a hobby. Second, no theme. This blog will reflect me and I’m not one-dimensional. Posts will run the gambit of topics ranging from business to family life to gear to gadgets and more. The only topics I probably won’t touch are religion and partisan politics (except to complain about the latter). Third, I’m no longer anonymous – my name is James and my picture is pretty much everywhere.
Now – the meat of the post – how to use a thermos to cook:
There are 3 reasons I have identified to think about thermos cooking:
1) Fuel. There may be times where you are interested in conserving cooking fuel – whether that fuel is wood, propane, natural gas, electricity, whatever. The real-world situations where I’ve had that concern are largely camping related, but as fuel costs continue to rise I’m sure the concerns will spread to other areas of life as well. In most of the cooking systems around my house, it takes less than 4 minutes to boil a cup of water and using thermos cooking, I can take that cup of water and 1/4 cup of steel cut oats or grains and turn them into a healthful, tasty, 2 cup sized meal a few hours later with minimal effort on my part.
2) Nutrition. As a man in my mid-thirties, I’m getting to the age where I’m concerned about things like cholesterol and fiber. As someone who watches his caloric intake, I’m very conscious of the ways cooking affects nutrition (when you’re only getting x calories a day, you need to make them count). As someone who buys and uses bulk food to save money (I have 4 kids remember?) I’m always looking for ways to use certain foods that I have in bulk – rice, steel cut oats, beans, wheat, et cetera. Thermos cooking emphasizes healthy, whole foods and it cooks in a closed system – which greatly reduces nutrient loss due to cooking.
3) Ease. When I’m in the woods, I put everything I have into the tasks at hand. As a result, when I wake up – I don’t have much energy. The last thing I feel like doing is cooking. When I’m back at home – I wake up hungry and I tend to go for the easy option when it comes to breakfast. When I started dropping weight, I discovered that a large portion of my daily calories were from bad breakfast choices. Thermos cooking is easy and it’s done the night before (or if you’re planning for dinner – you do it as you eat breakfast).
Rather than explaining the thermodynamics and the theory behind this cooking method, I’ll just share a recipe that illustrates the basics. The recipe uses steel-cut oats, but you could substitute whole wheat berries or just about any grain. The recipe also includes Chia seeds – which I’ll expand on further in a future post – if you don’t have them on-hand you can leave them out.
- Start with a food thermos – not a coffee thermos. You need something you can get a spoon into and reach the bottom. Something along these lines.
- Before you go to bed – put 1/4 cup of dry, uncooked steel cut oats, a teaspoon of honey, and a tablespoon of chia seeds into the Thermos. (You can also add some dried fruit, but remember to compensate at a 1:2 ratio with extra water).
- Boil 1.25 cups of water, pour it into the thermos and tighten the lid. If you decide against the Chia seeds (they can be hard to find), you can drop the water down to 1 cup. The Chia adds protein, healthy fats, and fiber with virtually no effect on taste.
- Give it a shake, set it on the counter (or if you’re camping, keep it close to your body) and go to bed.
- 6% RDA
- Saturated Fat 0.25g
- 1% RDA
- Cholesterol 0mg
- 0% RDA
- Sodium 1.5mg
- 0% RDA
- Total Carbohydrate 34.66g
- 11% RDA
- Dietary Fiber 6.5g
- 26% RDA
- Protein 5.5g
- 11% RDA