Monday, October 18, 2010

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

Since it’s fall and I’m (and presumably you’re) reminded of falling leaves, shorter days, cool weather and pumpkins, I’ve decided to make this “Pumpkin Week” on the blog. So during the coming week expect to see lots of pictures of pumpkins and drool over recipes featuring the most versatile of all of the squashes. (Did you know canned pumpkin purée is often recommended by veterinarians as a dietary supplement for dogs and cats who are experiencing digestive problems? Now that’s versatile!) What you will not see, alas, is a recipe for pumpkin pie. While I do like pumpkin in pretty much everything, I’ve always considered pie to be the “liver of desserts,” and as a consequence neither make nor eat it.

Murder Most Maine (Gray Whale Inn Mysteries, No. 3)This first recipe I found was in the back of a mystery novel (and how appropriate is that with Halloween coming up?). The novel is called Murder Most Maine and was written by Karen MacInerney. It’s a part of the Gray Whale Inn mystery series featuring innkeeper cum sleuth, Natalie Barnes. I discovered this series of the cozy mystery genre last summer before our trip up to Maine and Canada. I like to read books that take place where I'm about to visit to provide a little advanced atmosphere.  It’s a fun, very readable series of mystery books each of which has recipes for dishes served at the Gray Whale Inn in the back of the book. I love this type of dual purpose in a book, don’t you?

The first recipe intrigued me: Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal. The delicious decadence of spicy pumpkin for breakfast! I mean is that the way to start the day, or what? Her recipe serves four, so since I was making it just for myself, I cut it into fourths (look for my proportions in parentheses), which got to be a bit tricky and came down to the 1/8 cup, but keep in mind that if you don’t have an 1/8 cup measure (well, if you don’t, go get one because you’ll be truly amazed at how often you’ll use it) that an eighth cup = 2 tablespoons. The end result was one ample adult portion, or possibly two child portions. Top it with some cream and a sprinkling of raisins, and I’d think any kid would just gobble this up and not even realize all of the whole grain goodness he'd just consumed.

Another thing to consider before making this is the pumpkin pie spice. As I mentioned earlier, I neither make nor eat pumpkin pie, so pumpkin pie spice is one of the few spice mixtures that we do not have on our shelves, so here’s a recipe to make your own for the purpose of trying this oatmeal (and, hang on, perhaps another recipe later in the week):

Pumpkin Pie Spice

4 Tablespoons ground cinnamon
4 teaspoons ground nutmeg (I ground fresh)
4 teaspoons ground ginger
3 teaspoons ground allspice

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl; mix well. Keeps in an air-tight container for 6 months.


2 cups old fashioned oats (1/2 cup)

3-1/4 cup fat-free milk (3/4 cup + 2 T.)

¼ teaspoon salt (Pinch)

6 Tablespoons brown sugar (or Splenda brown sugar blend) (2 T.)

1-2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (to taste) (1 t.)

Add oats, milk, and salt to pot, heating until almost boiling. Lower heat to medium and cook five minutes, stirring occasionally. When oats have thickened, stir in brown sugar, pumpkin, and pumpkin pie spice to taste; cook on low an additional two minutes, or until pumpkin is heated.

Serves 4.

NOTE: Cooking time, I found, is lessened if you’re making a smaller amount, just keep an eye on the oatmeal and add the additional ingredients when it has thickened.

Bowl: "Autumn Splendor" by David Harden, gift
Napkin: Williams-Sonoma
Spoon: Fiesta Flatware

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