Thursday, November 1, 2012

A month of Thanksgiving.

Happy November, everyone! November signals the start of the holiday season and I LOVE the holidays. Warm sweaters, the smell of burning firewood and cookies, hot chocolate, snowflakes, pumpkins, pine trees, candles, joy, excitement, love, happiness - all of these and more make up the holiday season in abundance!

This month, I'm going to try to post about things I'm thankful for, and if I'm really good, I'll post lots and lots, because I am thankful for lots and lots.

Today, I'm thankful for instant oatmeal.

Every morning at work, I eat instant oatmeal out of a mug at my desk and drink coffee and catch up on whatever needs catching up on from the night before.

Oatmeal reminds me of bundling up on chilly days, of my mom making breakfast on snowy mornings, of warmth and comfort and home. Thank you, oatmeal. Thank you for coming in an instant variety. Thank you for being so inexpensive and delicious.

My favorite oatmeal right now is Better Oats Oat Fit. It comes in Maple and Brown Sugar or Cinnamon Roll flavors, and I use a pouch of each to keep things interesting. So good, and two pouches is 200 calories - how great is that?! I find it at Target, and sometimes Costco, and recommend it highly to oatmeal lovers everywhere.

A couple of weeks ago, I made pumpkin butter for the first time. Aside from cutting the pumpkins in half for roasting (protip: find a friend with a band saw), it was really, really easy. A tablespoon or so of pumpkin butter stirred in my oatmeal took it to another level. Seriously good eats, folks.
Pumpkin Butter
Adapted from Oh, She Glows

4 c. fresh pumpkin puree (made from ~3.8 pounds roasted sugar pumpkin - I followed this tutorial)
1/3 c. sweet apple cider or apple juice, more if needed
1 c. brown sugar
3 Tbsp. agave syrup
1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Put pumpkin puree in a blender. Add juice and blend until smooth, stopping to push down the pumpkin when necessary. It may take a bit to get it going.

Add the brown sugar, agave, cinnamon and nutmeg. Process again until super smooth and no clumps remain.

Spoon mixture into a medium-sized pot. Cover with lid and prop lid ajar with a wooden spoon. Over medium-high heat, bring mixture to a low boil. Reduce heat to low-medium and cook for about 10 minutes, or until it’s as thick as you want it. Stir frequently and be careful - this stuff will spatter like crazy! Remove from heat and add vanilla extract and lemon juice.

Cool completely and then store in a sealed container in the fridge. Should keep for 2-4 weeks.

Aside from oatmeal, you can put this pumpkin butter on just about anything - breads, fruit, ice cream, or just eat it outright. With lots of fiber and nutrients from the pumpkin, it's not nearly as decadent as it tastes.

What are you thankful for right now?

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