As anyone who’s been reading this blog for a while can tell, I love breakfast. But it’s a lot more constrained than dinner, and it’s made first thing in the morning, when I am not at my most patient or imaginative. That means it’s easy to get into a rut.
About a week ago, I was looking for a healthy, quick breakfast. To me, that means oatmeal. But I was so bored with plain oatmeal, even with its accompanying little dishes of brown sugar and nuts and dried fruit.
Then I remembered the jar of “Sweet D” brand unsweetened local apple butter I had bought at La Montanita Co-op a few days earlier. Designed for diabetics, it was very flavorful and surprisingly sweet – but not quite sweet enough to satisfy when spread on biscuits. Perfect. I started the oatmeal as usual, then threw in a couple of heaping spoonfuls of the apple butter and a handful of chopped dried apples. When it was done, I tasted it; it was delicious, but a little too tart, so I drizzled in a little apple cider syrup. (Maple syrup would also be wonderful.)
With just two minutes of extra hands-on work, I had transformed a rather boring bowl of oats into something special. We ate every bite.
Serves 2; 20 minutes total, 10 minutes hands-on
1-3/4 cups water
1 cup regular or “old-fashioned” rolled oats (not quick-cooking, instant, or steel-cut)
1/2 cup apple butter
1/4 cup roughly chopped dried apples (or 1/2 cup chopped fresh apple)
2 tablespoons maple syrup or cider syrup, optional
Toppings as desired: nuts, dried fruit, brown sugar, maple syrup, milk or cream, etc
Bring water and salt to boil in a medium saucepan. Add oats, stir, and return to a low simmer. Stir in apple butter and dried or fresh apples. Simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, then remove from heat and cover. Let rest 5 minutes while you put the toppings in dishes and set the table. Taste and add syrup if you want more sweetness.
Spoon the oatmeal into bowls and serve.