Quick things to understand and accept if you plan to be my friend: I’m something of a food snob, and I love peanut butter. These little facts are somewhat unrelated but equally important. Cookies should not exist unless they are made from scratch, and almost all cookies could do with a healthy dose of peanut butter in the dough. Personal opinion… but it’s objectively correct.

In the morning, I am often awake at an unnaturally early hour (for a college student), frantically searching the kitchen for anything to do that is not my homework. Luckily, the list of things to do in my kitchen is long and ever growing: wash the dishes, wipe down the kitchen table, clean the floor, and cook. Once I complete that list, I can start over because there are new dishes to clean, more dirt on the table, and inevitably more crumbs on the floor. Homework? What’s that?

I do have one morning routine that actually allows me to read a couple pages. When I’m not in the mood to make something excessively extravagant, I can always fall back to a homey standby: oatmeal! Growing up—and still when I go home—my mother would make oatmeal at least two or three mornings per week. (My dad usually prepared breakfast, but my mom has the unique magic touch with oatmeal.) Never in the microwave, always on the stove. And always with excessive amounts of fruit.

Now that I live on my own and on a college-student budget, berries are out of the question, but I can still replicate those homemade breakfasts by making oatmeal on the stove. As for productivity, this allows me to stand at my kitchen stove with a wooden spoon in one hand and a pen in the other with a book or article open next to the pot. (But not too close. LoRise smoke detectors tend to get touchy about things like burning books.)

Here’s the food snob part: I would never make oatmeal in a microwave or by pouring water out of an electric kettle. Only old-fashioned, traditional oats. Never instant or quick-cooking oats.

As for the peanut butter, just follow my golden rule: add peanut butter, and it will taste better.

Peanut Butter Oatmeal

Ingredients

1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
pinch salt
1-2 tbsp. milk
1-2 tbsp. brown sugar
1-2 heaping tbsp. peanut butter

Directions

1. Bring one cup of water and a pinch of salt to boil in a small saucepan.

2. Turn down to medium-low heat. Add oats.

3. Cook about five minutes, stirring occasionally, until oats are soft.

3 1/2. Do your homework.

4. Stir in milk, brown sugar, and peanut butter to taste.

5. Enjoy!

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