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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Gingerbread oatmeal

Oatmeal has the totally unfair popular opinion as being "poor people's food". With names like "mush" and "porridge", visions of a Victorian-era poor house come to mind. But the truth is, oatmeal is delicious. 

The plain oat grain has a slightly sweet taste to it. Add some flavorings and you have a bowl that is positively delicious. It is warming and filling on cold winter mornings, to boot. 

Yes, I'd eat oatmeal even if I won the lottery (not like that will happen as I don't buy lottery tickets. But if you happen to win the lottery and wish to share your winnings with me, I'd happily accept 😋  and still be eating my morning oatmeal.)

The first bite says it all. When I have that very first bite of this oatmeal, it's like biting the head off of a gingerbread man fresh from the oven.

Walnut-Gingerbread Oatmeal

In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan, add the following:

3 cups water
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup, plus 1 tablespoon molasses
1  1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Bring all to a boil. Add:

1  2/3 cups regular rolled oats
1/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Reduce to lowest heat, cover and simmer for about 12 minutes. Give a stir and serve.

I really like this with chopped pears on top, either fresh or canned.

If you are not as wild about spices as I am, add the molasses and salt to the water, and then spices just a bit at a time, tasting the water as you go, and halting the addition of spices when you feel there's enough.


  1. Oatmeal has been gaining a lot of popularity recently and I don't think it has as much of a reputation as a poor man's food. However, it is an economical dish. My husband takes it every day for lunch. He makes his with milk in the microwave and finds it filling.

    1. Hi live and learn,
      my husband used to keep a large container of oatmeal in his desk and have it as a snack at work. It was a filling and easy snack for him to make.

  2. That looks very tasty :) I recently made a big batch of something like a mung bean porridge to eat for breakfasts but it was a bit bland and boring, so maybe I will try adding some of the spices you listed to jazz it up a bit.

    1. What is mung bean?

      I agree with Live And Learn--oatmeal is the new trendy food. We were just cool before everyone else, that's all! This looks like a yummy idea, Lili!

    2. Economies, is the mung bean for porridge a sprouted bean? I've only seen mung beans as sprouts. Interesting.

      Hi Kris, I guess everything has it's turn at being "in". I like that I've been cool for a very long time now!

  3. I have to try it again. Problem is I find porridge quite "slimy". Something I have tried successfully is cream of wheat cut half and half with oats. The wheat seems to get rid of the sliminess for me.

    1. Hi Jessica,
      I think the sliminess you refer to is the starch released into the water. I don't care for that either. My husband calls it creamy. To me it is slimy.

      There are two methods to cooking oatmeal, one where you put it all in a pot of cold water and bring to a boil and cook. You get the creamy type this way. The other, you bring the water (and flavorings) to a boil, then add the oats, and don't stir. The stirring releases some of the starch.

      If you try making it again, try bringing everything to a boil, then adding the oats and don't stir, even if it looks like the oats are just sitting on the surface. Put a lid on, reduce heat to lowest setting, and allow to cook for 5-10 minutes (cook time depends on what else is in the water). Regular and thick rolled oats tend to be less slimy for me than quick. Good luck if you try again.

    2. We make ours one bowlful at a time in the microwave and it's not slimy/creamy at all. I put in 1/2 cup of oats and 3/4 cup of water in a microwave-safe bowl. For quick oats I cook it 99 seconds; regular oats for 2 to 2 1/2 minutes. You don't need as much water as you would in stovetop cooking because the water won't evaporate the way it will on the stovetop. I also add spices occasionally. It works for us--maybe it will work for you! :)

    3. Thanks for the microwaving directions. I'm going to give that a try. I like oatmeal as an afternoon snack, but don't feel like cooking up a whole pot of it.

  4. I love love love porridge. I like plain and simple with milk and brown sugar but I know molasses is good for you - full of iron, so I'm going to try your dark spicy version.

    1. Hi Sarah,
      I was thinking of you when I posted this recipe, as I know you love gingerbread, too! Hope you enjoy it!

    2. Yes I do love all things ginger as well as porridge, so a great combination. 3 of us had it for breakfast this daughter and i loved it but my son decided he prefers plain porridge. So I'm left with a bit that may have to be turned into another porridge cake!!

    3. Hi Sarah, Oh no. Am I the cause of another porridge cake? But I'm glad that you and your daughter enjoyed it.

  5. Yum, we like oatmeal here too. So sorry you are dealing with Spam right now. I always liked your blog for that reason - I didn't have to use word verification, but totally understand.

    1. Hi Belinda,
      My hope is to go back to no word verification. For now, it appears to be working.
      Thanks for your comments!


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