For the past few months I’ve been taking morning walks several times a week in Prospect Park. I am, mind you, not a morning person. I used to habitually set my alarm on weekday mornings with good intentions to go to the gym or yoga class, then proceed to hit snooze 10 times, until it was actually time to get to work. It was a bad habit, to be sure. And a waste of a gym membership.
But in August, my friend Elizabeth and I decided that it’d be much harder to make excuses for not exercising (or keep hitting snooze, in my case) if we had scheduled power walking dates. And so as much as I still hate getting up at 7am, I actually feel much better once I get going and take in some fresh air.
And Prospect Park ain’t a site for sore eyes either. Especially in October, with all this gorgeous foliage:
And logically, exercising regularly makes me more aware of eating healthier breakfasts. (As in, no more thrice-weekly croissants from the best bakery in NY.) This week, I’m craving everything pumpkin. So it was only a matter of time before I made a big batch of pumpkin spiced oatmeal.
I had almost everything I needed already in the kitchen, and just had to run out for some pumpkin purée. The recipe uses steel-cut oats, which take longer to cook than rolled oats, but they have more body and a creamy but still toothsome texture, which I like.
Plus, you can store leftovers in the fridge for 3 or 4 days. I made much more than I could eat, but just portioned out the remainders in Mason jars to be reheated over the next few mornings. The next day, it was still delicious, with an even deeper pumpkin flavor.
I changed up the original recipe (from The Essential New York Times Cookbook) a bit, by using both milk and water and doubling the amount of pumpkin puree and cinnamon. This oatmeal is so nice and filling, and you just want to put your face right up to the bowl and inhale the cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. It’s really the best of autumn in a cereal bowl. I topped off the oatmeal with chopped apples, but you can also use apple sauce, sliced bananas, dried cranberries, cashews, etc. The sky’s the limit!
Pumpkin Spiced Oatmeal
Makes 4 to 6 servings
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 2 cups canned pumpkin puree
- 4 cups water
- 1 1/2 cups steel-cut oats
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 or 2 apples, chopped
- In a small skillet, toast the cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg for 30 seconds, just until fragrant.
- In a large pot, heat the pumpkin puree over medium-low heat. Stir in the toasted spices and brown sugar. Add the water, raise the heat, and bring to a simmer. Stir in the oats and simmer uncovered over medium-low heat for 20 minutes.
- Add the milk and simmer for another 5 minutes, until the oatmeal is tender but not yet mushy. Stir in the salt and adjust the flavor with more brown sugar if desired.
- Divide into individual bowls, top with chopped apples, and serve.
Adapted from The Essential New York Times Cookbook
More creative pumpkin recipes to try:
- Pumpkin Hummus from Appetite for China
- Pumpkin Beer Waffles from Hungry Girl Por Vida
- Spiced Pumpkin Scones from Inspired Taste
- Tea-Scented Pumpkin Soup from Appetite for China
- Hokaido Pumpkin and Ginger Soup from Little Upside-Down Cake
- Crockpot Pumpkin Chili with Ground Beef, Black Beans, and Kidney Beans from Kalyn’s Kitchen
- Pumpkin Gnocchi with Sage Brown Butter and Feta from Reclaiming Provincial
- Pumpkin Ice Cream from David Lebovitz