Top Pick Of The Week

February 26, 2008

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Ready for breakfast: crunchy, textured oatmeal topped with brown sugar. Photography by Claire Freierman.

WHAT IT IS: “Gourmet” oatmeal.
WHY IT’S DIFFERENT: A blend of oatmeal and six other whole grains creates great texture and flavor—a world apart from Quaker Oats and other brands.
WHY WE LOVE IT: The texture and the taste— Cranberry Almond Oatmeal, for example, is not redolent of cherries and almonds. There’s just a nice, subtle touch.

Holly’s Oatmeal:
Perfect Porridge

Page 3: Holly’s Oatmeal Varieties & Oatmeal Toppings

This is Page 3 of a four-page review. Click on the black links below to visit other pages.




Holly’s Oatmeal Varieties

Holly DiMauro is a chef and restaurateur who developed her original recipe for friends and family. When she served it at her Connecticut restaurant, it became the most-requested item on the menu. As so happens in the specialty food business, people wanted to buy the oatmeal mix, so Holly sold the restaurant to focus on marketing the product and proving that just because a food is high-fiber and low-fat doesn’t mean it can’t taste great. As she notes, even the most cherished recipes can always be improved, as a taste of her “improved” oatmeal proves. There’s texture and flavor not found in commercial rolled oats, that makes the oatmeal both chewy and creamy (and more kid-friendly, since kids prefer chewy to mushy).

There’s a lot more to commend Holly’s:

  • The grains themselves are the best money can buy, from Bob’s Red Mill, one of the finest grain purveyors in the country; they’re also organic- and kosher-certified. Holly’s is working on certifying the products down the road, but for now, they are “all natural.”
  • Everything is hand mixed, to keep the grains from being crushed. You can see the different grains of the mix.
  • The cooked cereal is never gluey, like some other all-natural cereals.
  • A special blending of six other whole grains in addition to the oats, and cooking process—she recommends cooking it in soy milk, although we used fat-free cow’s milk. The blend of grains provides the heartier taste and texture.
  • More protein than any other oatmeal (9 grams vs. 4 grams in regular rolled and steel-cut oats) and soluble fiber (4 grams vs. 1 gram).
  • The 38 grams of whole grain in one 1/2 cup portion are almost the daily required 48 grams.
  • There’s no salt, no saturated fat, no trans fat and no cholesterol.
Holly's Oatmeal
Who’s more fun: Holly (shown cooking up some oatmeal, above) or that old Quaker dude?


Cooking in milk or soymilk instead of water makes the oatmeal more creamy and nutritious, but adds the milk calories. Skim milk makes it just as creamy as whole milk—so save the calories and fat. The porridge cooks in 6 minutes on the stove, 3 minutes in the microwave. Stovetop versus microwaving makes no difference in the quality. Microwave 1-1/2 minutes, stir and repeat; depending on your microwave, it should take a total of 3 to 3-1/2 minutes. Let cool for a minute before eating.

The Blend

Holly’s combines the creaminess of instant hot cereal with the chewiness of long-cooked grains. The pure natural ingredients blend together like a fine stew. Just because oatmeal is a great low fat food, loaded with heart healthy fiber, doesn’t mean the taste can’t be great. The variety of grains stand up better—thicker and more texture.

Thick rolled oats, instant oats, wheat barley, rye, triticale, flaxseed, Scottish oats (not steel cut), oat bran and multigrain hot cereal, plus golden flaxseed, which has a higher Omega 3 values than regular flaxseed, so for really high Omega-3s (flaxseed has no nutrition until it is ground).

The Flavors

Cranberry Almond Oatmeal

Goji berries have seven times more antioxidants than blueberries.

Cranberry Almond Oatmeal

High-antioxidant cranberries add nutrition plus a nice bit of tartness. Almonds, one of the healthiest nuts, add a chewy crunch. Read more about antioxidants and antioxidant-rich foods.

Goji Berry Oatmeal

If you don’t yet know about goji berries, here’s a primer: The goji berry is a superfruit found only in Tibet and Mongolia. Goji berries have seven times the amount of antioxidants as blueberries, 18 amino acids (six times higher than bee pollen), more beta carotene than carrots, more iron than spinach, Vitamins B1, B2, B6 and E and more vitamin C by weight than oranges. They help to slow down the effects of aging, lower blood pressure and help the eyes, liver and kidneys. Plus they’re 13% protein.

In the oatmeal mix, the goji berries taste like a cross between cranberries and cherries. Others describe the taste as raspberry and plum-like.


The gluten-free blend contains a gluten-free oat—these are oats grown in fields where there is no wheat or barley grown to cross-contaminate the oats (and the other grains have never been grown there). Holly’s buys the oats from a grower who started to grow gluten-free oats because his daughter had Celiac disease. Rice, corn, and flax cereal are blended to create texture, creaminess and chewiness. Cook time is just 4 minutes on the stove, 2 in the microwave, and a serving delivers 8g of protein, 5g of fiber.

Coming Soon

A new flavor, Apricot With Hazelnut, flavored with low-glycemic maple flakes, will be ready at the end of March.


While classic oatmeal photos tend to show a bowl with a pat of butter, milk or cream and fresh fruit, none of these is required. You can enhance your oatmeal with any variety of add-ons.

Dairy Or Substitute Sweeteners Fruits
Almond Milk Brown Sugar Apples (fresh or cooked)
Butter Calorie-Free Sweetener: Saccharine (Sweet’N Low), Aspartame
(Equal), Sucralose (Splenda), etc.
(See our article on sugar substitutes)
Condensed or Evaporated Milk Cane Sugar Berries
Crème Fraîche or Sour Cream Honey Dried Fruit: Blueberries, Cherries, Cranberries, Dates, Prunes, Raisins
Half and Half Maple Flakes Mango
Milk (whole, 2%, fat-free, etc.) Molasses Peaches
Soy Milk Stevia Your Favorite Fruit
Yogurt (fruit flavors make a nice topping) Syrup (maple or others like Golden Syrup—see our Syrup Glossary)  
Nuts Other  
Almonds Cinnamon  
Pecans Jam or Preserves  
Walnuts Nut Butter  

If you have any favorites not on this list, use the comments box at the top of the page to share them, and we’ll update this chart.


Continue To Page 4: Oatmeal Nutrition & Health

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