Add This Magical Ingredient To Your Breakfast For A Dash Of Instant Zen

Photo by Johnna Holmgren

Every now and then you stumble across a book that’s like stepping into a different world and Tales From a Forager’s Kitchen: The Ultimate Field Guide to Evoke Curiosity and Wonderment With More Than 80 Recipes and Foraging Tips by Johnna Holmgren is just that. The Fox Meets Bear blogger shares her whimsical life in the woods and creative, largely foraged recipes that bend the traditional expectations of flavor. This chamomile-spiked oatmeal is no exception, elevating the breakfast staple to a Zen-inducing treat. “Folk-focused healing uses chamomile to ward off anxiety, insomnia, menstrual cramps, and headaches; to calm the stomach lining; to help babies with colic; and has even been known to come to the rescue of other sickly plants in a garden when transplanted from the wild,” explains Johnna. She likes to keep the chamomile oats pre-mixed in a jar to grab whenever she gets a craving.

Chamomile Oatmeal


  • 5 cups water, whole milk, or vegan milk alternative
  • 3 cups whole rolled oats, plus an extra tablespoon
  • Fresh bouquet of wild chamomile or 3 tablespoons dried chamomile (you can cut it from a tea bag), plus more flowers for topping
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup, plus more for topping


  1. Slowly bring your liquid of choice to a boil on the stovetop, then turn the heat down to a simmer.
  2. Add in the rolled oats and fresh or dried chamomile leaves and flowers, stirring occasionally in between the thoughts mingling in your mind.
  3. Simmer for less than 7 minutes—here’s where preference comes in. Some like it chunky and thick, and others like it smooth and runny. Don’t analyze it too much. During the last minute or so of simmering, add in a heaping tablespoon of oats and mix throughout. I love the variation in texture this gives. Top with crushed chamomile flowers, and drizzle with maple syrup. Optional add-ons include brown sugar, peanut butter, wild dried blueberries, or chilled milk of choice.

NOTE: The liquid-to-oats ratio is just about 2:1, but I love experimenting with ratios. For a thicker version, stick with the 2:1 ratio, but for a smoother, wet bowl, add liquid to make a 3:1 ratio. Begin with your liquid of choice. My favorite choice is cream-top whole milk, which makes a most delightful and creamy version of this dish.

Based on excerpts from Tales From a Forager’s Kitchen: The Ultimate Field Guide to Evoke Curiosity and Wonderment With More Than 80 Recipes and Foraging Tips by Johnna Holmgren, with the permission of Rodale Books, a division of Penguin Random House. Copyright © 2018.

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