Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal is a warm hug on a cold morning

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal. —Marnely Murray

Once cold weather hits, I say a sweet goodbye to my chilly smoothies in the morning and welcome some warmer, heartier breakfast items into my rotation. Honestly, when it’s 15° out, the last thing I want to slurp on is a berry smoothie. To you people out there who drink iced coffees in the dead of winter, you’re brave. Braver than I, that’s for sure.

For those of you who like to start the morning with something that feels like a warm hug, this Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal is just what the foodie doctor ordered. It’s a seasonally delicious oatmeal that is packed with fresh spices and pumpkin purée — the healthiest way to start the day, along with two or three cups of coffee, of course.

Oatmeal is sort of a blank canvas, allowing you to get creative in the kitchen. I prefer the steel-cut oats above rolled oats, because of their heartier texture and how they cook into creamy deliciousness. Bob’s Red Mill, which you can find at the local grocery stores or online (bobsredmill.com) makes some of the best oats, so scout them out whenever possible.

This recipe is easily adapted to your needs:

  • Tired of pumpkin? Add applesauce.
  • Lactose-intolerant? Switch up the yogurt and cream for full-fat coconut milk.
  • Going sugar-free? Omit the sweeteners.
  • Vegan? Stick with coconut milk and you’ll be golden.
  • Hate oatmeal? Stick to those cold berry smoothies; sorry!

Gorgeous local squash makes a fine substitute for the pumpkin purée, and if you have some local Martha’s Vineyard honey, replace the sugar with that and it’ll be a dream.

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

1½ cups water
½ cup steel-cut oats
2 Tbsp. pumpkin purée
2 Tbsp. vanilla yogurt
1 Tbsp. coconut sugar
¼ tsp. each ginger and cinnamon
Pinch of freshly ground nutmeg, cardamom

Toppings: pecans, maple syrup, heavy cream

Boil the water in a small saucepan; once boiling, add oats and reduce heat. Cover and cook for 20 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients and cook for two more minutes, until sugar melts. Drizzle and sprinkle toppings, and serve immediately.

This and more recipes can be found on the author’s food blog, cookingwithbooks.net.