Thursday, September 24, 2015

Mulled Apple Cider Oatmeal

I am, by nature, a fall person.  I grew up in New England, so fall is, I think, intrinsically in the blood when you come from that area.  Pumpkins on everyone's doorsteps, apples falling from the trees and all the wonderful dishes (such as hot apple cider) that came with those apples, the beautiful foliage changes that ranged from yellow to brown to red to purples.  I loved it all.

Once I moved to Alaska it took me a while to get used to the Alaskan autumn.  We don't have all of the beautiful colors of fall up here.  We have a FEW trees and bushes that will turn red, but for the most part Alaska is shades of yellow in the fall.  You can't really grow pumpkins in your garden here without a lot of extra effort.  And apples up here...well we have a few varieties of apple tree that will grow and they do make nice tasting apples, but it's nothing close to the variety of apples you can find down South.

However, I've come to appreciate our short lived fall season in Alaska.  I am constantly amazed how many shades of yellow you can actually find in the trees up here as the trees change color.  I like the colder mornings combined with the beautiful afternoons.  Instead of pumpkin season we have potato season (which I do celebrate the cheap prices on those).  And even though we might not have many apples up here, we still get some wonderful varieties coming in from down South.

In the days when money wasn't so tight I would buy a few jugs of fresh apple cider from the store this time of year as I always do miss the fresh apple cider you could buy everywhere back East this time of year.  I'd buy a jug (or three) come home and can it to help see me through the long winters.  But, that was before money got tight.  I've got some jars of apple cider from a jug a friend gave me that she didn't want last year that I hoard and tend to pull out when I'm sick or want a treat.

So, I came up with this recipe to help stretch that wonderful apple cider bounty out a bit.  It's perfect to eat on a cold fall morning with a sprinkle of cinnamon on top.

You can use this method with both rolled oats or steel cut oats.  Personally, I prefer steel cut oats when I can get my hands on them as I love the creamy and yet chewy texture they lend, but make what you have.  It'll still taste great!

I will also add some extra milk, if we have it, when I reheat the oatmeal to make a creamy porridge instead of a chewy dense oatmeal.  Yummy!

 Mulled Apple Cider Oatmeal

  • 1 Cup Steel Cut Oats (or rolled oats)
  • 2 Cups mulled apple cider (you can use regular apple cider or apple juice + 1/8 to 1/4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice instead).  Reduce to 1 cup if making rolled oats.
  • 2 Cups milk (you can use water if you don't have milk, but the texture won't be as creamy)  Reduce to 1 cup if using rolled oats
  • Pinch of salt
  • Cinnamon, diced apple, apple sauce or brown sugar for topping (optional)
1.  Combine apple cider and milk in a pan and bring to boil. 

2.  Add oats and bring back to boil (will only take a moment). 

3.  Reduce heat to bare simmer and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes or until oats are tender and are desired consistency (if using rolled oats cook for 5 to 7 minutes or until desired consistency is reached).  Add salt and mix into oats.
Serve with a sprinkle of cinnamon or brown sugar (if desired).  Diced apple or apple sauce on top of the oatmeal will only improve the appley goodness (if you have some at your disposal.  The one lowly apple in the picture is currently the only one I have fresh and it was reserved for daughter's snack time, so that was out for me *laugh*).

This can be spooned into a container the night before, covered with plastic wrap and reheated in the mornings.  I tend to do so at the beginning of the week and eat it for breakfast all week long.  Just microwave for a minute to a minute and a half or until hot, stir in some milk to make it creamy again (if desired) and voila!  A hearty and fall flavored breakfast that will keep you full till lunch!

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