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.
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.