Spiced Apple Oatmeal

These cool, crisp autumn mornings are calling for warm and cozy oatmeal.  When the kids are off to school and it’s my turn for breakfast, I go to my happy place with a bowl of oatmeal and a nice cup of coffee.  Here's a recipe I come back to often in October and November, when apples are still fresh and wonderful.

I used to make oatmeal according to package instructions, which called for putting the oats in after the water came to a boil.  I didn’t mind too much that the outcome tended to be on the dry side, but when I discovered a way to make oatmeal creamier and faster, I changed my ways.

Last fall, I came across 26 Grains's recipe for Nordic Spiced Porridge on Ella Woodard’s blog, Deliciously Ella.  She put the oats in with the water, plus milk, and brought that to a boil.  I loved the creamy result, and have made my oatmeal in a similar way ever since.  Plus, heating the oats with the liquids from the beginning means it doesn’t take quite as long to make.  Score!

Ingredients ready for the stove.

I have tried making oatmeal with just milk and no water, but it ends up scalding before it’s done cooking, so the water is necessary.

The date pieces soften up and break down in the cooking process, so that their sweetness spreads around.

I used honeycrisp apples in this batch, but you can use any you'd like.  If you don't have standard sized apples, you can use two small or half a large - you don't need to be exact to make it taste great.  Grating the apple really works well in this recipe.  It's easy to grate and easy to eat, and adding it in from the beginning evenly distributes the apple so that each bite receives an essence of the fruit instead of running into a chunk here and there.  You can always garnish your serving with some grated apple right before you eat it, too, for even more apple goodness.

OK, here's my own version of Spiced Apple Oatmeal:

Wouldn't it be nice to have a printable version of the recipe?  

Click here for a printable version.

A few more tips:  I like adding the spices before the liquid so that they mix in well.  The vanilla can be added to the milk to make it blend more easily when the ingredients are tossed together.  Or just toss it in with the rest - you can't go too wrong here.  You could even get away with adding the almond butter in from the beginning, too; I like to keep the rich almond flavor vibrant here, though, and add mine to the batch at the end.

To make 8 servings, simply double the recipe as I did in these pictures (and use an appropriate sized pot).  I like to make a big batch so that there is plenty for the whole family through the week, and I can just heat up portions to be enjoyed within a minute or two.  I add a bit more milk before putting it in the microwave or heating it on the stove, and it’s a nice creamy texture again by the time it’s warmed up.  

Make enough to store in the fridge and enjoy through the week!

Make enough to store in the fridge and enjoy through the week!

Mmmmm.  Happy autumn.