A vote for oats

Oats, one of the many whole grains, can come in many different ways. Steel cut, irish, rolled, instant or bran.  My favorite is the rolled oats as they are easy to put in a bowl with some water and microwave every morning. However, when I have a little more time and forethought, steel cut oats are exceptional with some almonds, raisins, and blueberries.

(Going clockwise, from the left: Steel Cut Oats, Oat Bran, Quick Oats, and Rolled Oats)

Oats are nutrient dense source of manganese, selenium, tryptophan, fiber, B1, and some protein.In addition to being whole grains, oats have been linked to lowered cholesterol levels, valued antioxidants, and stabilization of blood sugars. Oats can be added to breads, eaten as breakfast or used as a binder in meatloafs (vegetarian or not).

This is a recipe that I make quite frequently, no matter the season, but it always seems especially appetizing in the fall. The combination of pumpkin, apples, walnuts, and cranberries, brought together with the flavor of vanilla and cinnamon is delectable.

It is perfect for a Sunday morning with a cup of coffee or tea and a good book.

Pumpkin Apple Cranberry Baked Oatmeal

(adapted from this version of this recipe)

  • 2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1/3 cup wheat germ (omit for gluten free version)
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed (use 1/3 cup if using fresh cranberries)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries (or 3/4 c. fresh)
  • 1 1/2 cups vanilla soy milk (or regular milk)
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp. pumpkin puree
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup apple, chopped
  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped
Preheat the oven to 375°F.  Spray an 8x8in baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the oats, wheat germ, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, baking powder, and cranberries.  In a separate bowl, combine the soy milk, pumpkin puree, egg, and vanilla, whisking until the mixture is smooth.
Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture, and stir to combine all of the ingredients.  Add the apple and combine with the wet oatmeal mixture.  Spread the oatmeal into the baking dish, and sprinkle with walnuts.
Bake for about 20 minutes, until the oatmeal has set and the top is golden. Serve warm, topped with additional soy milk, if desired.
How do you like your oatmeal? Do you prefer it made with milk or water? Any great variations I need to try?
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