Thursday, July 15, 2010

Ode to Honey Bunches of Oats

On television, hard-hatted factory workers proclaim,
"The magic's in the mix!"
And truly, every day, I have not one bowl,
But at least six.
That simple alchemy of flavor,
Texture, nine essential vitamins and minerals
Wraps a honey smile 'round my flakes.
As well, their versatility I savor,
Using them in pancakes, snacks, and dinner rolls--
One spoonful isn't all it takes.
A panel on that bright, familiar cardboard box
Says Vern's big idea's to thank
For the bunches, flakes, the meaning of expensive tastes
That do not break the bank.
Now Vern's perfect invention
Enthralls, delights in ten different varieties,
Each one the real McCoy,
Each one a reliever of tension--
Pouring manna of oats over anxieties, I lie at ease,
Sit back, and taste the joy.
I'm leaving to catch a flight to Colorado in a couple hours, but before I go, let me sing the praises of Honey Bunches of Oats, as they deserve to be sung.

My love for cereal runs deep.  I'm a huge fan of Post Blueberry Morning, any kind of Chex, and Fiber One Oats 'n Strawberry with Almonds (okay, that one's not really a cereal, but it's breakfasty and fiber-licious).  But there's a problem.  I'm not proud, but I've been known to consume entire boxes of cereal in a day.  Multiple days in a row.  For as many days as I have boxes.  And cereal -- especially "fancy" cereal like Blueberry Morning -- ain't cheap.

Honey Bunches of Oats, though, often is!  It's no Poor Man's Blueberry Morning, either.  That simple little formula of flakes plus bunches is uniquely addictive.  Three different types of hearty, familiar flakes...just sweet enough, with a hint of cinnamon...crunchy little honey-baked surprises for which it's almost impossible not to dig...perfection, and impossible not to dig.


So when they went on sale for 2/$3 last week, we bought six.  Six whole boxes!  And I've been finding ways to hoover them away ever since:

For breakfast, bowls of Honey Bunches of Oats (HBO for short) with fresh blueberries, peaches, bananas, honey, and soy milk.


For dessert, vanilla bean ice cream rolled in HBO and dusted with cinnamon.


For healthy daytime snack, HBO topped with bananas, Greek yogurt, and honey.


For sinful midnight snack, dark chocolate-banana crepes sprinkled with HBO.  (I didn't take pictures.)

And for a family dinner to remember, sweet-and-citrusy, sharp-and-peppery, HBO-crusted mahi mahi on a bed of delectable salad.


Citrus Honey Bunches of Oats-Crusted Mahi Mahi with Baby Mixed Green Salad
(very) lightly adapted from Pham Fatale and the HBO Website

Ingredients
  • 1.5 lbs mahi mahi fillets
  • 2 cups Honey Bunches of Oats (I used HBO w/ Almonds)
  • 2 tbsp crushed black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 lemons
  • 2 large valencia oranges
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 cups baby mixed greens (romaine, arugula, chard, frisee, radicchio, etc.)
  • 1/3 cup mixed herbs (parsley, dill, cilantro, etc.)
  • 1/2 cup nonfat Greek yogurt (improves lactose intolerance!)

Directions

Rub the mahi mahi with the salt, 1 tsp crushed black pepper, and a tiny bit of olive oil.  Sprinkle with the garlic, cover, and let sit in the fridge for half an hour.

Grind the Honey Bunches of Oats in a food processor.  Zest a lemon and an orange into the mix, and add 1.5 tbsp crushed black pepper and 1 tbsp olive oil.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Rub a baking tray with some olive oil.  Heat the remaining oil in a pan, and sear the fillets for about a minute on each side.  Move them to the baking tray and liberally press on the cereal mixture.  Bake for about 10 minutes.

In the meantime, whisk the Greek yogurt with the remaining black pepper, zest and juice from one lemon, and zest and juice from one orange.  Toss with the baby mixed greens and herbs.  Divide into shallow bowls, and top with slices of the second orange.

Place the fillets on top, squeeze the remaining lemon over each to taste, and sprinkle with orange zest.


Okay, off to Colorado.  When I get back -- cookies!

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