Guatemala trip means avena con leche recipe at home

  • Classic Guatemalan oat beverage is perfect for a cold winter morning.

    Classic Guatemalan oat beverage is perfect for a cold winter morning.

Posted2/2/2016 5:57 AM

My favorite part of travel is sampling a whole new cuisine. In fact, I make a point not only to sample but also to bring back recipes to try to duplicate the flavors at home. I do this for two reasons: First, so I can share them with you! Second, because once I nail a recipe, I'm transported back to the moment when I first tasted it.

Today's recipe was shared by the owner/manager of Posada de la Luna, a wonderful bed-and-breakfast in Antigua, Guatemala. My daughter and I were served this classic beverage the first morning we spent there. Officially the recipe is called Avena con Leche. Translated literally it is "oatmeal with milk," but translated figuratively it is a warm, homey hug in a mug. We were served it alongside el chapin tipico (the typical breakfast) of fried plantains, scrambled eggs with chopped onion and tomato, black beans, cheese and tortillas.


Oatmeal with milk is easy to make, and you probably already have the ingredients on hand. Even though our hosts don't wait for cool weather to savor its goodness, Avena con Leche can be enjoyed on a chilly winter morning. It also makes a fabulous drink to take along if you are running late, which makes hurrying to work more enjoyable than you thought possible.

• Alicia Ross is the co-author of "Desperation Dinners!" Contact her at Kitchen Scoop, c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106, or send email to Or visit the Kitchen Scoop website at

Avena con Leche

½ cup old-fashioned oatmeal

4 cups water

½ cup light brown sugar, packed

6 cups whole milk

1 large cinnamon stick

½ teaspoon salt

Ground cinnamon for garnish if desired

In an electric blender, process the oatmeal and water until oats are pulverized. Pour oatmeal mixture into a 3-quart or larger heavy-bottom pot and place over medium-high heat. Add sugar, milk, cinnamon stick and salt.

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Stirring almost constantly, bring oatmeal to a low boil. Reduce heat to prevent oatmeal from boiling over and, stirring constantly, cook for about 5 minutes or until volume is reduced by one-third. Remove from heat and cool to a drinkable temperature. Serve in mugs with ground cinnamon atop each serving if desired.

Approximate values per serving: 154 calories, 6 g fat (3g saturated), 18 mg cholesterol, 6 g protein, 19 g carbohydrates, 0.4 g dietary fiber, 227 mg sodium.

-- Alicia Ross

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