Wednesday, January 16, 2013

National Oatmeal Month

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By Chef Diane

The boss can tell you I am a creature of habit.  When it is warm outside, I like to start the day off with a bowl of bran flakes, soft and soggy with milk.  However, if it is cold outside, I like to warm up my insides with a nice hot bowl of oatmeal, with brown sugar and cinnamon.
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Not only is Oatmeal delicious and sticks to your insides, and give you energy during the morning, but it is also great for your health.  It reduces the cholesterol in your blood, and provides fiber to keep you regular.

You don't have to just have a warm bowl of oatmeal though.  You can have oatmeal in cookies, breakfast bars, even add it to pancakes or other foods.  It’s not just for breakfast either, you can enjoy it any time of day. lists some other ways to enjoy oatmeal:

Keep the oatmeal handy. Mix oatmeal into homemade meatballs and meatloaf to help meat hold its shape better during cooking. Make a unique pie crust by using oatmeal for half the flour. Add oatmeal to thicken chili. Stir oatmeal into muffins, pancakes and breads for nutty flavor and healthy fiber.

Cleanse skin with an oatmeal scrub. Homemade or store bought, an oatmeal scrub is a natural way to get rid of dead skin cells and exfoliate hands and face. The oatmeal relieves itchy skin and protects against dryness.

Pamper your dog with oatmeal shampoo. Oatmeal reduces inflammation and itchy skin. Allergic dogs often bite at their paws and rip out fur to attack inflamed skin. Use the oatmeal pet shampoo as directed to ease itching from allergies, hot spots, irritated skin and insect bites.
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Make oatmeal clay for rainy day child play. Mix 1 cup oatmeal, 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup water. Children can mold and form the knobby clay into shapes. Use a blender to grind oatmeal into powder for smoother clay. Make colored clay by adding food coloring to the water. For another day of play, let the artworks dry. The hardened oatmeal clay can then be decorated with non-toxic paint. This oatmeal clay is fun but not edible.

Treat poison oak or other rashes with an oatmeal paste. An old home remedy advises soaking oatmeal in water to make a paste. If a smooth paste is needed, blender the oatmeal into powder before adding water. Put the oatmeal paste liberally on the rash and leave it for up to 20 minutes. Folklore says as the oatmeal dries, it absorbs the oils that make the poison itch and spread. Peal off the paste and wash the affected area gently.

Pack an oatmeal poultice for day trips. Put a couple tablespoons dry oatmeal in an old clean sock for the travel kit. When rash strikes or insects bite, soak the oatmeal sock in water. Apply as a cooling pack to ease the bites on children and pets. Repeat as needed. A wise camper also packs oatmeal cookies for the people and oatmeal treats for the dogs. Take a well-earned cookie break and celebrate National Oatmeal Month.
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January is National Oatmeal month, so this month, stop by the grocers and grab a box of instant, or can of rolled oats, and see how many different uses you can come up with before the month is over.

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