Like many of you, I use the first week of a new year to reset: evaluate the year that has just passed, map out goals for the year ahead, and take stock of habits, both bad and good. 2016 was a rough year for many reasons. I was busier at work than I have been in a long time, and in the chaos of it all, allowed myself to move away from some of my best habits. I simply didn’t have time (or so I thought) to pack breakfasts and lunches, hit the gym, floss, take vitamins or many of the other little ways I try to take care of myself.
Rather than bring everything back all at once, I’m trying to reintroduce small changes one at a time. This week, it’s vitamins and making breakfast. (And running, since a random streak of “luck” landed me a spot in the New York City Half in March [eeeek!]) My vitamins are being shipped to me on a monthly basis, and to make things easy for breakfast, I’m going to go back to batch cooking.
While I’m all about the big baked egg dish, I wanted something a bit more abstemious this week. (It is Resolution-uary after all.) I’ve done big batches of oatmeal in the past, but hadn’t yet shared one of my go-to recipes. Somehow, this creamy pumpkin oatmeal manages to taste indulgent while retaining its health halo, easing you into the new diet you’ve just started.
Slow-cooking steel-cut oats in a mixture of pumpkin purée, milk and water is always a recipe for success, but the added step of cooking the spices really makes this oatmeal feel special. The entire process takes less than 30 minutes though, and you can do most of it while you sip coffee and watch The Today Show. Basically, it’s a very low-lift way to start your day off strong, and perfect for cold mornings.
Cheers to a happy, adventure-filled 2017 — what are your new year’s resolutions?
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, plus more for garnishing
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
- 1-1/2 cups steel-cut oats
- 1 cup milk
- 3 cups water
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds (optional)
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
- In a large saucepan or pot, melt the butter on medium-low heat. Add the nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger and brown sugar. Cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes, until the spices are fragrant and the sugar has caramelized.
- Stir in the pumpkin purée and the oats. Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, then add the milk and water. Give everything a good stir and bring to a simmer. Cook for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the oats are tender but still retain a bite.
- Stir in the chia seeds (if using), then ladle the oatmeal into bowls. Top with the chopped nuts and additional ground cinnamon.
- Make a big batch of this oatmeal and reheat it throughout the week. To reheat, add a splash or two of milk and microwave for 1-1/2 minutes.