I managed to sleep a little later this morning. Even still, when I opened my eyes the horizon was just starting to bleed light, a bruise blue beginning to spread between the low-lying clouds, silhouetting the knobby aspen knuckles that scratch at the sky.
Indeed, it’s Halloween. So maybe I can be excused for seeing death in everything. But it’s also that tepid time of year between the brilliance of fall and the onset of winter, when snow covers the brown, the fetid, with a gentle blanket of forgiving softness. Our outside thermometer reads 5 degrees C this morning. It’s damp and chilling and gnarled out there.
Inside is a little different. Nick had lit a fire in the woodstove before leaving for work and the house glowed with warm light. Before coffee, before even my little girl awoke, I started on breakfast.
We all have our go-to breakfasts. Around here, it usually involves some combination of oats and grains: something I can pack a lot of healthy seeds into and pile high with seasonal fruit. In the summer, I favour Rebar Cookbook granola, which ultimately acts as a vehicle for local berries.
But as the weather cools, I start to crave a warmer, heartier cereal — maybe it has to do with my Scottish roots. Porridge is great for using berries picked in summer and frozen for winter: Saskatoons, huckleberries, blueberries, raspberries. Toss them in before letting the oatmeal stand and they thaw quickly.
But my favourite is probably apple-cinnamon-raisin oatmeal, preferably made with a nice, crispy local apple. To me, it tastes just like apple crisp. So, in recent weeks, as the temperatures and the last of the leaves drop, I’ve been working to perfect my porridge recipe. It’s been warming me from the inside out.
Apple Crisp Oatmeal (serves 2.5)
1/2 cups (125 mL) rolled oats
2 cups (500 mL) water
1/4 cup (60 mL) sunflower seeds
1/4 cup (60 mL) pumpkin seeds
2 tble (30 mL) flaxseeds
1/2 tsp (60 mL) cinnamon
2 tble (30 mL) maple syrup (adjust for desired sweetness)
1/4 cup (60 mL) raisins
1 apple, chopped into small pieces
Combine rolled oats, water and salt in a saucepan and set over high heat.
As the oats come to a boil, add remaining ingredients (adding apples earlier, thereby simmering them longer, will make them softer.)
Simmer uncovered five minutes; remove from heat, cover and allow to stand five minutes.
Serve with milk or milk alternative, if desired.