Sunday, May 5, 2013

Apple Raisin Oatmeal

I tend to rotate through breakfast kicks. For several weeks, it was greek yogurt (see here and here). Alas, the greek yogurt fad has come to an end and I have moved on to a new breakfast relationship...with oatmeal. Old-fashioned oats cooked in protein- and calcium-packed milk is the perfect transportable breakfast, especially when it is kicked up a bit with apples, raisins, cinnamon, nutmeg, and pure maple syrup. 

I love this option because I can make a big batch on Sunday and have a really filling and delicious breakfast every day before work. 

Old-fashioned oats cook at a 2:1 liquid to oats ratio. For a weekly batch, I use 8 cups of 2 percent milk and 4 cups of oats. Begin by heating milk in a large pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally. 

While the milk is coming to temperature (still stirring occasionally), slice 1 whole apple into bite-size pieces.  

When the milk begins to softly boil (evidenced by the small bubbles and foam), it's time to add the oats. 

After you add the oats, continue stirring. 

The oats will soften and the mixture will thicken as the oats soak up the hot milk. 

Take a quick stirring reprieve to gather the rest of your ingredients: raisins, cinnamon, and nutmeg. (Of course, if you found yourself in a moment of peak efficiency, you could do this ahead of time). For this size batch of oatmeal, I use 1 heaping cup of raisins. 

When your oats/milk combo has substantially thickened up, add in the apples and raisins. I like to add the apples later in the cooking process so they maintain a bit of their crunch. I love the raisins and apples in this recipe for the natural sweetness they add and the textural interest. 

After stirring in the apples and raisins, add in your spices. I sprinkle cinnamon across the surface of the entire pot, and follow that with about half as much nutmeg. These spices add warmth and depth to the dish so be bold; throw your measuring-spoon caution to the wind!

The wonderful aroma of the oatmeal at this time is reminiscent of apple pie. Not surprisingly, this is usually the time that hubs wanders in and says, "something smells good." Then, he realizes it is oatmeal instead of his favorite apple pie and is the slightest bit disappointed. 

The beautiful ingredients incorporated together. You can also see the texture and thickness of the oatmeal here. I tend to like my oatmeal on the thicker side, but of course adjust the cooking time for your preferences. As you are stirring, you will get a great sense of the viscosity. 

The final touch? Pure maple syrup from northern Minnesota. I use maple syrup in lieu of brown sugar for it's natural sweetener- and all-around-delicious properties. 

Give the pot a nice splash of maple syrup and stir to combine. Your healthy and delicious breakfast dish is complete :)

In a semi-ironic fashion, I am usually making this breakfast dish on Sunday evenings to prepare for the week. At this point, I package up a nice portion in a glass dish to take with me for the next day. However, the importance of a chef's snack can never be forgotten and the smell of the oatmeal is hard to, I always give it a sampling or two :)

Cheers to Sunday breakfast making, 

-The Delicious Dabbler

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