Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Pumpkin Oatmeal: A spooky break to my sacred routine

As I've mentioned before, breakfast has always been a sacred meal for me. I need that quiet time to sit at the table with my peanut butter oatmeal or Greek yogurt parfait with vanilla-scented granola to center myself and mentally prepare for the day ahead. It’s not just a meal – it’s a moment of reflection, replenishment and rejuvenation.

I can’t stand it when something – or someone – disrupts those precious twenty minutes. My mom is terrified to speak to me when I’m visiting my parents’ house, and I nearly throw a temper tantrum if there’s a delay in the delivery of my LA Times and I don’t have it to read when I sit down. I’m similarly particular when it comes to the actual breakfast itself, which is why I generally stick to only a few tried and true dishes. I can’t bear the thought of suffering through a mediocre bowl of cereal or, worse, a lackluster, arid muffin.

Because a bad breakfast can often put me in a bad mood for the rest of the day, I’m hesitant to try new recipes like the pumpkin oatmeal that seems to be almost ubiquitous during this time of year. I’ve always had it in my mind that I’d like to try it, but at the last moment, I chicken out and go back to an old oatmeal favorite. It’s ridiculous, unreasonable behavior – the kind of thing that makes people nod and say, “Ohh, so this is why she’s single.”

This past Sunday, I finally made the executive decision to dial back the neurotic just a touch lest I end up like an old maid who spends her days rolling quarters. Since I wasn’t celebrating Halloween by dressing up like a whore, I decided I should find at least one way to engage in the holiday. I cracked open my sealed Tupperware of pumpkin puree and tentatively scooped a fourth of a cup into the saucepan of oatmeal that was simmering on the stove.

Then, while my paper sat untouched by my side, I gobbled up the pie-like concoction in half the time I normally afford for the most sacred part of my day.

Nothing about my dining behavior was very sacred that morning -- but, for once, it was actually a little bit sane.

Pumpkin Oatmeal
Serves 1

½ cup oatmeal
½ cup water
¼ cup milk
¼ cup pumpkin puree
1 small ripe banana sliced into thin pieces (optional – I like adding for the bulk, sweetness)
2 tablespoons dried cranberries
2 tablespoons pecan pieces, toasted
1 teaspoon brown sugar
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of nutmeg
Pinch of salt

Bring ½ cup water to boil in small saucepan. Add the oats, salt and reduce heat to medium-low. Let cook together 3 minutes, then stir in the pumpkin, banana, dried cranberries, cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar, and milk. Simmer together on low for 8-10 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Add more milk as needed.

When oatmeal has reached a thick consistency, turn heat up to medium to ensure it is completely warmed through. (Cold oatmeal is no friend of mine.) Serve immediately. Top with pecans.


Gastronomer said...

Way to live on the edge, D!

Cluny Grey said...

I've got to try this for breakfast - and peanut butter is one of my favorite food groups!

Esi said...

Just picked up my first can of pumpkin this season! May have to make some pumpkin oatmeal again soon!

the actor's diet said...

i haven't gotten my pumpkin yet for the season! once i start, i won't be able to stop....

stuffycheaks said...

good for you for not dressing up like a whore. I too would prefer pumpkin oatmeal over fishnets and heels. good choice.

Anna A. said...

Oh lord I am speechless! Sounds scary good, will make next time I'm feeling oatmeal ish for breakfast which is about once every 2 months.

Nomsnotbombs said...

This sounds like a really easy, yummy alternative to regular oatmeal. PLUS, I already have a can of pumpkin in the fridge from making milkshakes and cookies!

Diana said...

Cathy - Living on the edge is the only way I know how to live. Not really. At all. ;)

Cluny - You should definitely try both versions of oatmeal then - the peanut butter one and the pumpkin one!

Esi - Woohoo! Maybe the granola then too? ;)

Lynn - It's a seasonal sickness. Happens every year around this time!

Stephanie - Haha, not surprised since you are also the girl who goes to Vegas just to eat. ;)

Anna - What?? I thought you were always on the oatmeal train??

Misty - Perfect! You must make it then! Maybe I'll use the leftover pumpkin I have in my freezer to make a shake!