1. Type of oatmeal: I usually stick with my Quaker rolled oats, but if I have 15 minutes to spare in the morning, I make Steel-Cut oats. I suppose if you really like the steel-cut oats, you could make a big batch beforehand and store it in the fridge, but I'm not that organized. Also, there are other options besides oats for hot cereal. Other grains, or even Grits or Cream of Wheat, could be used instead of oatmeal for a whole new experience.
2. Liquid: Water, Milk, or even Juice or Pop?? I cook my oats in water in the microwave, but you can cook them in milk for a creamier texture. Adding more or less liquid makes the oatmeal thinner or thicker. I like thick, sticky oatmeal, so I only add enough water to just barely cover the oats.
3. Toppings! Oh boy! The possibilities are endless! You can make oatmeal sweet, savory, whatever you want! Of course, plain oatmeal or oatmeal with just a touch of brown sugar is glorious in itself, but you can really have fun with your oatmeal toppings. Basically anything can go on the oatmeal, and it will taste good, because oatmeal doesn't have any overpowering flavors to mess things up. Here I have pictured 10 different options, but these are just ideas to get you started!
-Dried cherries and chocolate chips. Substitute any other fruit.
-Cardamom, yogurt, and raisins. (Inspired by rice pudding)
-Peanut Butter and Jelly. Nutella is an amazing substitute for Peanut Butter, but alas, I don't have any.
-Fruit! I won't post a picture of EVERY type of fruit, because that would take forever. Yogurt and cinnamon go very well with fruit. Apples and cinnamon is great. I love to add bananas, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, (well, any kind of berries), peaches, pears, apricots, any kind of dried fruit...the possibilities are endless! I have not tried adding Oranges or any other citrus, though. All those little peely membranes don't appeal to me.
-S'more (Mini marshmallows, chocolate chips, crumbled graham cracker)
-Bacon and Maple Syrup (Trust me, it's SUPER good! Try it!)
-Ginger Snap Cookie (Molasses and ginger. Crushed ginger snaps if you have them. I used Nilla wafers.)
-Pumpkin Pie (Pumpkin seeds, allspice, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg. If you have pumpkin puree, add that too!)
-Walnuts, blueberries, and yogurt, cooked in crystal light
-Almonds and cocoa powder (or chocolate chips. I ran out.)
More ideas not pictured here:
-Coconut milk, shredded coconut. Would go well with pineapple.
-Mint Chocolate chip (peppermint extract or mint leaves)
-Any jam or jelly as a mix-in
-Any flavored syrup
-Cheese (yes, oatmeal can be savory!)
-Coffee (instant coffee granules, or oatmeal cooked in coffee.)
-Basically, any flavoring you can think of!
I hope you enjoy your oatmeal as much as I do!