Sunday, March 3, 2013

Cranberry & Orange Nut Oatmeal

McCann's Steel Cut Cranberry & Orange Nut Oatmeal
Inspired by my conversation with fratre John Reed yesterday, I went digging in my pantry for Oatmeal fixin's this morning.

I found my dried cherries, cran-berries and chopped walnuts and was starting my usual combination when I heard "OOH, OOH!" (like Horseshack from Mr. Cott-air) coming from the cloves and the orange zest on my spice rack - and so naturally, I investigated!

This bowl of delicious-ness is all-natural and unprocessed (enough for me, anyway!) but I'll cut right to the chase:

Ingredients (for single serving, multiply as needed):
1/3 cup McCann's 5-min steel cut oats
1 c water
2-3 Tbsp dried, sweetened cranberries (more/less as desired)
2-3 Tbsp chopped walnuts (more/less as desired)
1/2 tsp orange zest (more/less to taste)
pinch of ground cloves
1 Tbsp REAL maple syrup
1/2 Tbsp (2 pats) of butter
1/4 c whole milk (or 2 Tbsp condensed milk, which is my preference)

Follow the instructions for preparing the McCann's, adding these steps.  note:  this is all easily done in under 15 minutes, so don't start thinking "Oh, this is too complicated for me," because it's not, and I promise you it is SO MUCH BETTER than the flavored sawdust some companies try to pass off as "oatmeal" in those instant packs!  We're talking TEN to FIFTEEN minutes here!  Ok, ready? SO...

  1. Chop the cranberries to a desired fine-ness (you can also leave them whole)*
  2. Crush the chopped walnuts to a desired fine-ness (again, you may leave whole)*
  3. Boil the water (I told you this was easy...)
  4. Add the oats, return to a boil, and lower heat to simmer.
  5. Add the cranberries, walnuts, orange zest, cloves, and 1 pat of butter
  6. Cook the oats to McCann's instructions.  Add a little more water and go a little longer if you like softer (or soupier) oats.  When done to your liking, proceed.^
  7. Add the syrup & mix in thoroughly
  8. Add the milk (If using whole milk, you may need to simmer a little further to reduce again to your desired thickness.  You can also anticipate the milk addition, and call your oats "done" a little sooner in step 6.  With practice you'll find what works for you.  If you use condensed milk, you shouldn't need to simmer any longer, just mix it in and proceed to step 9.)
  9. Pour it into a bowl, add the remaining pat of butter and enjoy with your favorite coffee (or other breakfast beverage... are there other breakfast beverages?  I've heard there are, but I don't know any of them...)
* I like the size of pine nuts for this, and reserve a few to sprinkle on top if you want...
^ I like my oats al dente like my pasta, and find the 5-7 min McCann calls out does it.

I found the flavors at these amounts comforting and subtly complimentary, I don't have a big sweet tooth (or I'd add more syrup) and I like to taste the cranberries and the nuts equally with the natural flavor of the oats!  You can customize to your own palette however; I hope you'll try and leave your comments of how it goes below.

Finally, as I move on to enjoy the rest of my Sunday, with my belly full of tasty oats I will remind you once again:  To know good food is to be close to God, À salut!

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