Whip Smart Kitchen

Recipes, methods & musings for the whip-smart home cook

make-ahead

Pumpkin Spice Steel-Cut Oatmeal

Breakfast, Fall, Make-ahead, Recipe, Slow Food, Winter, Vegetarian, Comfort FoodLeannda CavalierComment

Hearty steel-cut oats toasted in browned butter get the full pumpkin spice treatment with real pumpkin puree, serious spice and less sugar than your average PS treat. A batch can feed a brunch bunch, or be stored in the refrigerator for a week of healthy breakfasts.

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Too early to read the whole post: gimme that breakfast recipe already.

Two vital seasonal truths in my world right now: 1. Though we have left fall behind, I'm not yet finished with the pumpkin. 2. Though it's a new year and blah blah blah, it's TOO COLD for smoothie bowls. I need my breakfast to warm me up right now, thanks. 

One of my absolute favorite things to make for breakfast is steel-cut oats, and there are so many options out there. In fact, here's another recipe for apple-cinnamon steel-cut oats in case this one doesn't tickle your fancy.

Never made them? Nervous? Let me break it down for you:

How to cook steel-cut oats:

  1. Toast the oats in some butter or coconut oil over medium heat for a few minutes.
  2. Add about 3 cups boiling water for every 1 cup oats. 
  3. Cook on low for about half an hour.
  4. Add any flavorings and toppings you want.
  5. That's IT. 

The rest is playing with flavors, which is my spe-ci-al-i-ty.

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Steel-cut oats have a lot of advantages over your typical rolled oats, some of them health-related. They retain more of their nutrients through being less processed. They take longer for you to digest, keeping you full longer. You know what else? They're chewier, roastier and nuttier--all things I'll take over "faster" 99 percent of the time.

Besides, you can just make these ahead and reheat them. I'd much rather make one big batch of hearty, flavorful steel-cut oatmeal at the beginning of the week than spend 5 minutes making decent quick oats every morning anyway.

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P.S. I actually do like rolled oats... meal planning my breakfasts with blueberry rolled oats I could microwave every morning kept me sane at my last full-time job, plus they're great for pancakes and cookies. But steel-cut oats? Pumpkin ones? Those are the approachable but aspirational mornings I'm generally going for.

They also keep me full for more than 15 minutes without seconds, which is honestly pretty impressive.

As for the pumpkin, surprise! Pumpkins are still in season for the winter! 

We tend to attach pumpkins to fall, which is when they come into season, but the favorite among squashes really shouldn’t disappear the moment you take your jack-o-lantern off your doorstep. (You did remember to do that, right? It’s okay, this is a safe space.)

I wavered a little on whether to call this recipe “pumpkin steel-cut oats” or “pumpkin spice steel-cut oats”. Isn’t that stupid? Well in terms of search engine optimization it’s not, but I’m not even talking about that. I’m talking about all the crap women (and men brave enough to admit it) get for loving pumpkin spice.

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My thoughts? Pumpkin spice is delicious and a little over-hyped. Yes, both can be true. 

I shamelessly love a good pumpkin spice latte, especially homemade or one from Starbucks (gasp!). Pumpkin pie? Definitely. Pumpkin spice bread? Yeah! Pumpkin spice bagel? Double yeah. Pumpkin spice muffin? Why not? 

I don’t tend to like PSLs from many other places because the syrup often tastes nothing like pumpkin, but ultra-sugary fireballs (the candy, not the drink). Specifically fireballs that have already had most of the coating worn off.

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Other DOA pumpkin spice items for me include: gum, store-bought coffee creamers (actually those get a big no from me in general) and yogurt. No thank you, please. 

Anyway, maybe it's the seasonality, but pumpkin just feels like a special treat for me. There are plenty of reasons to use real pumpkin in your breakfast well past November. First, it’s delicious with said pumpkin spices. Second, you can easily store cans of it in your freezer. Third, lots of recipes call for a cup of pumpkin, and most cans come with 2.5 cups.

And hey, pumpkin is a great source of vitamin A, beta-carotene, and vitamin C. 

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This pumpkin spice steel-cut oats recipe is a great way to use leftover pumpkin puree if you’re anything like me and put it in the fridge with the best of intentions, but no solid plan. Wasted pumpkin is a sad sight (and a bad smell).

These steel-cut oats are so easy to put together, and most of the cook time only requires stirring every so often so the bottom doesn’t burn. Also know it’s okay if some oats do stick—I typically get a thin layer of them on the bottom of my dutch oven. 

I can usually get any stuck oats off pretty easily with a plastic scraper, but you can also put the empty pan back on the stove with some water and bring it to a boil to soften it up. The dutch oven pictured above is a 5.5 qt enameled cast-iron dutch oven from the Food Network. You don't have to use a dutch oven, but I like them for things that cook slowly like this. I also use mine almost daily anyway, so...

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Usually I prefer my oatmeal a little lumpy with milk poured over, of course I know lots of people like creamier oats. If that's you, no problema! Just add more water or milk. You can add another cup in the beginning, or you could stir it in at the end if you decide it's too thick for you.

Sometimes if I'm reaaaaally hungry I'll make creamier just so the water the oats absorb will make me feel full faster—and sometimes I just do it because I'm in a creamy oatmeal mood. It's a thing, just go with it.  

You can top these with whatever you want, but I really love a pat of butter, pepitas (extra protein, extra crunch), maple syrup and a splash of milk. I put some suggestions down in the recipe itself. 

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Let's get simmering!

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Apple cinnamon porridge

Breakfast, Make-ahead, Fall, Recipe, VegetarianLeannda CavalierComment

I'm worthless if I don't eat breakfast. You laugh, but I mean it. Without a quality, nutritious breakfast, I'm tired, unfocused, grumpy, unmotivated and a little dazed. Not fun for me, not fun for anybody else. 

Actual video of me around 10 a.m. sans-breakfast. 

Actual video of me around 10 a.m. sans-breakfast. 

So each morning priority #1 is breakfast.

My schedule is all over the place, so I have time to make breakfast most mornings, but that wasn't always the case. For busier times, I love make-ahead or pre-prepped breakfasts I can just it heat up and enjoy with my coffee. Apple cinnamon porridge is one of my latest favorites.

When you look at this recipe, you might think, "whoa, this recipe makes WAY too much! Why would I make this for one or two people?"

Hold up. Hear me out. If you are regularly struggling to eat breakfast, one of the biggest tips I can give you is to plan ahead. You can make this Sunday, portion it out into containers and have breakfast for days. You can even freeze it for breakfast emergencies. You don't have to eat it every day, but it's nice to have options.

Why steel-cut oats?

Steel-cut oats are minimally processed, so they fill you up and keep you full. Complex carbohydrates are best for lasting energy and fullness, and that's where steel-cut oats deliver. Your body can't digest the sugars as quickly, so you don't burn through it all at once and get that gross sugar crash. 

Rolled oats (probably the most common form of oatmeal you see) are actually steel cut oats steamed and then rolled thin and flat. They cook quickly... but they also don't take much time or energy to digest. That sounds great, but what it really means is that the sugars break down faster and you get hungry faster.

Instant oatmeal is even more processed. It's rolled oats shredded up and steamed again, then dried–broken so the carbs are so simple they're basically sugar by the time you chew them.

Beyond that, I just love the texture of steel cut oats—soft but a bit chewy. They take a little longer to cook, but it's worth it. 

Uh, porridge? Okay, fancy-pants. 

Mind blowing statement ahead: technically, oatmeal is porridge. But that's not why I call it that.

I call this particular recipe porridge because I like to use a mix of two grains. One of those is amaranth. I first had amaranth in Mexico, but it's becoming more popular around the world. You might see it marketed as an "ancient grain" or "superfood." I take those buzzwords with a grain of salt, but it is true that amaranth is a good source of protein, lysine and more. 

Amaranth is usually considered a cereal grain, but technically it's a seed. It's a little bit like a finer version of quinoa, but with a nuttier flavor. When you cook them up they give a nice little pop-crunch that I really enjoy to breakup the texture of  

Warm and cozy

I use two forms of cinnamon at different stages in this recipe because they have different purposes. Cinnamon sticks have a higher concentration of oil than ground. They slowly release their flavor during the cooking process, infusing the liquid and oats with a warm aroma. The ground form packs the classic punch we expect cinnamon to bring to the party.

Another perk of using cinnamon sticks is eating the oats stuck on them. The sticks keep a great flavor throughout the cooking process, and the little bits of oats that get trapped in the center are truly a delight. 

Recipe after the jump!

Breakfast before bed: Cherry Almond Chia Seed Pudding

Breakfast, VegetarianLeannda CavalierComment
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This post was originally published on my old blog. This version may contain minor edits and updates. The original is preserved at Recipe Repository

Not eating breakfast is the worst. Don’t do that.

Instead, check out this video for serial breakfast-skippers—a little breakfast before bed, if you will. 

Fresh, fruity and filling, this super-easy way to get breakfast ready before you even hit the pillow is a tangy energy-booster. 

Try it out and let me know what you think!

Cherry Almond Chia Seed Pudding

Special equipment: 
Two 1-pint mason jars
Immersion (stick) blender (a regular blender will work too*)

Ingredients:

  • 14-oz can full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 cup chia seeds, divided in half
  • 2 TBSPs honey, divided in half
  • 2 tsps vanilla extract, divided in half
  • 2 tsps almond extract, divided in half
  • 12-16 pitted sweet cherries (I use frozen)

Instructions

  1. Split the can of coconut milk evenly between two 1-pint mason jars (this doesn’t need to be perfect).
  2. Add half of all the remaining ingredients to each jar.
  3. Place your immersion blender into the jar, and cover the mouth of the jar with paper towels to prevent splatter. Pulse several times until your mixture is dark pink/purple and cherries are well blended. This should only take a few seconds.
  4. Carefully remove the blender, pushing the mixture off of it and back into the jar with the paper towel as you go.
  5. Screw on the lids, shake for good measure, and leave in the refrigerator overnight or at least two hours.

*If you don’t have an immersion blender, just pour all ingredients in a regular blender and pulse for a few seconds until smooth, then pour into jars. I prefer the immersion blender because this method leaves a lot of valuable liquid and seeds on the sides of the blender (okay, also because it looks cooler). Just be certain to scrape as much as possible out of the blender when you pour.