Apple Pie Oatmeal

I'd forgotten how much I don't like chilly mornings.

I've never been much of a morning person; in fact, I'm very much a night person, often staying up until 1 or 2 or even later working on projects, designing little ads, or trying to figure out ways to market my budding business. The summer always has a way of erasing those seemingly endless cold winter mornings when I had to pull myself out of bed, shivering down the hall to the shower, dressing hurriedly near the heat of the radiator, piling on the coats and scarves and hats. I don't drink coffee, but there were some days when I would buy a cup, just so that I could have something hot to hold in my hands during the trip to work.

And though it's been that way, ever winter, since I was born, I always forget. I always forget just how cold the cold is.

...But I'm starting to remember.

I admit that it's even more difficult now that I don't actually have to get out of bed at a specific time. Because I am my own boss and make my own hours and most of my work is done through the internet, there is no need to actually get out of bed on those icy mornings. I can just make a mug of tea and pull my laptop into bed with me, where I work, snug and cozy for hours.

But today I have to venture out. I've got my Thanksgiving cooking class tomorrow and there are a few things I need to buy. I need fresh cranberries, twine to truss the turkey, a new rack for my roasting pan, a bottle of cream soda, smoked spanish paprika, corn meal (to make cornbread for the cornbread & chorizo stuffing), printer ink, and new kitchen shoes that aren't too unbelievably ugly. So I decided to make myself a bowl of this cozy oatmeal flavored with apples and cinnamon. So simple and comforting, plus it's just the thing to shore me up for a day (actually, a weekend) of nonstop busyness.

The trick to making this oatmeal in minutes is to have the apple pie part of it all ready. It takes only about 20 minutes to make and will keep well in the fridge for several weeks, so I recommend doubling or even tripleing the recipe. You can even freeze it! The same filling is also wonderful on yogurt or granola or served over a piece of plain pound cake.  I also like to bake it into puff pastry for quick hand-pies.

Even better? You don't have to peel the apples! There is so much nutrition in the apple skin and it just cooks down with the apples. I used Honeycrisp apples for this batch, but Granny Smith or Pink Ladies or really just about any type of crisp, tart apple, will work.

*****
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Apple Pie Oatmeal
Serves 2-3

Print this Recipe

Ingredients
For the apple pie filling
2 large tart apples (such as honeycrisp, granny smith, etc.)
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons maple syrup (substitute honey or just use another 2 tablespoons brown sugar)
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup apple cider, juice, or water 
For the oatmeal
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup whole milk (substitute almond milk or just use all water for dairy-free)
1 cup rolled old fashioned oats (not instant)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt


Directions
Core the apples and dice into small 1/2 inch cubes (no need to peel). Combine in a skillet over medium heat with butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon, and apple cider or water. Stir until sugar is dissolved and let cook for about 5-10 minutes or until all the apples are soft and tender and the liquid has thickened. Taste and add more cinnamon or nutmeg, if desired. Set aside. (This portion can be made in advance and stored in an air-tight container or glass jar in the refrigerator for at least 2 weeks.)
Combine the water, whole milk, salt, and oats, and bring to a boil. Lower heat and let simmer for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the oats are tender and the liquid has thickened. Stir in half the apple filling until fully hot. Remove from heat and serve with additional filling on top.

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