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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Pumpkin-Cranberry Oatmeal

Show someone you love them:

Looking at this photo, uploaded earlier this week, I just remembered I had dried cranberries at home. Since I'm currently at work, this picture makes my mouth water and stirs up the first bubbles of regret for forgetting them-as if I haven't had enough cranberries in the past thirty-six hours...

I shouldn't complain; last night's belated family Thanksgiving was especially good. The cranberry-apple-pecan crumble was perfect (not too runny, not even close to burned). The yams were spicy and cooked just right (thanks to a real cinnamon stick and fresh grated nutmeg). The bird was juicy, browned and oh... what gravy. And, to top it all off, games of Spades and Scrabble were played, The Wizard of Oz was watched and commented upon, candles were lit and, in a distant corner, my Aunt's Christmas tree was resplendent in an early ode that auspicious day. That's what happens when you become an adult: holiday decorating happens when you have the time to make it happen (no matter how early), not when you don't feel like studying for your organic final a week before Winter Break.

Whether you're gearing up for a marathon of essay writing, or just fighting the crowds to go shopping, you need the proper fuel to keep you going. Look no further than this delicious oatmeal to charge up your battery. I found it on one of my favorite lazy afternoon cooking blogs: Tasty Kitchen. Not only is it quick and delicious, but you won't have to feel an ounce of guilt for enjoying it. I've even made a double batch Sunday morning and refrigerated it for a hectic Monday breakfast that takes no more effort that pushing "start" on the microwave. And, for those of us who would rather see muffin tops at the bakery than in the mirror, this hot cereal is waist-line friendly: pumpkin and old-fashioned oats add healthy fiber, milk provides protein and the raisins or cranberries add just the right amount of natural sweetness-making brown sugar rather superfluous really.

It tickles me to say that oatmeal played a significant role in my college diet; thanks to my natural affinity for oats, whole grains and anything else that tasted like dirt or, as my roommates liked to joke, cardboard. The beauty of oatmeal is that it not only doubles wonderfully (half a cup of cooked oats per person is plenty), but can be made with any number of ingredients: instant oats, skim milk, half and half or even water. The oats themselves are cheap and versatile and almost never go bad. Plus, they cook up quickly, with very little clean up, and keep you full for hours. If you're feeling especially generous whip up a big pot of Pumpkin-Cranberry oatmeal for your roommates to enjoy on the first snow day of the semester, or just when you feel too cozy to go to class.

Notes: Delicious. Feel free to substitute 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice in place of the other spices.

Disclaimer: SPUDS does not encourage skipping out on lectures; however, SPUDS does acknowledge the fact that skipping happens, and encourages students to at least eat well while doing it.

Recipe by livelife(kim), courtesy of Tasty Kitchen
Makes 2 hearty servings

1/2 cup oats
1 cup milk + 2 tablespoons
1/4 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon (scant) nutmeg
1 pinch cloves, if you have them
1/4 cup raisins or cranberries

1/4 cup toasted, chopped pecans

1. Add the oats, milk and pumpkin to a pot, stirring until the pumpkin is combined.
2. Add the spices and cranberries or raisins and stir. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the oatmeal starts to bubble (4-5 minutes).
3. If you like your oatmeal thinner add the two tablespoons of milk and continue cooking until the desired consistency is achieved.
4. Serve warm with a little vanilla yogurt or, for added sweetness, a little maple syrup.

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