Pumpkin Oatmeal

It’s colder, wetter, and more miserable this morning than yesterday, which I didn’t believe was possible. I woke up with the legitimate belief that our backyard had flooded [C’Ville is under a flood warning]. Since today’s run had to be moved indoors, we rescheduled for after class and I took the extra time to finally make pumpkin oatmeal.

I like to make oats in the morning as much as possible because, well, I’ve read the ingredients on cereal boxes. Many cereals [yes, even my favorites] contain a host of processed ingredients that go straight to your gut [in a bad way] and skyrocket your blood sugar. Making oats allows you to start with the same grain base that store-bought cereals [allegedly] use, but gives you control over what goes in.

This isn’t to say that I’m not a cereal fiend. It’s really not something I should keep in the house because I can eat it by the bucketful. In the perfect world, I’d have the time/funds to prepare my own. I have neither of these things. Oatmeal is the perfect compromise and can even be made overnight in the fridge or in bulk in a crock pot.

Oatmeal: The LEAST Photogenic Food, Ever.

It turned out delicious. It tasted like dessert, but is insanely healthy. Pumpkin, raisins and flax add fiber, the oats and almond milk provide protein, the banana potassium, and a sprinkle of nuts gives healthy fats. This is going to be made again and again this fall.

I garnished with crushed nuts and this brand of cinnamon squares. Mom’s Best bills itself as “All natural with no artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors.” Seems to be the case, but a quick glance at the ingredients proves that health-wise, this cereal doesn’t go above and beyond mass-produced GM cereals.

The questionable claim of "natural."

Mom’s Best Cinnamon Squares: Whole grain wheat, evaporated milled sugar, rice flower, sunfower oil, fructose, maltodextrin, dextrose, salt, tricalcium phosphate, cinnamon, soy lecithin, trisodium phosphate, annato, caramel color, natural flavor, nonfat milk.

General Mills’ Cinnamon Toast Crunch: Whole grain wheat, sugar, rice flower, canola oil, rice bran oil, fructose, maltodextrin, dextrose, salt, cinnamon, soy lecithin, trisodium phosphate, BHT.

Both have fructose (over-consumption of which is linked to diabetes, obesity, bad things) and maltodextrin (a common starch-based ingredient in candy and soda). CTC does contain BHT, which is not great (a preservative, causes hyperactivity in children, many companies don’t even use it anymore). The plus of Mom’s Best seems to be that their cereals are “made with renewable wind energy” and their boxes are recycled cardboard. How you make cereal with wind energy is beyond me, but here’s what they say.

P.S., where do you fall on this issue?

Pumpkin Oatmeal

Adapted from a recipe found on this Peanut Butter Fingers post.

Prep Time: About 20 minutes [varies, see notes below]

Serves: 2


  • 1/2 cup steel cut oats
  • 1 cup almond milk & 1 cup water
  • 1 banana
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • A handful of raisins
  • 1 Tbsp ground flax seed
  • Spice mix: 3/4 tsp cinnamon; 1/2 tsp cloves; 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1-2 tbsp sweetener of your choice
  • Roasted nuts & cereal for garnish


1. Bring steel cut oats, milk and water to a boil – cook until it begins to thicken.

2. At this point, add the banana, pumpkin, spices, flax and raisins, stir well.

3. Once the oats reach desired consistency (some people like chewy steel-cuts, others like more well-cooked), remove from the heat.

4. Garnish with cereal/granola, nuts, and more cinnamon.


The PBF recipe calls for old-fashioned oats, which are essentially a flattened-out oat groat [the oat grain itself]. Steel-cut oats are less processed, but do take much longer to cook. There’s debate over which oat is healthier, but I think the answer is neither. It’s more of a taste preference as both are very low on the glycemic index and pack a nutrient/fiber/protein punch in the morning that will hopefully keep you full through class. Unless you’re me. I’m always hungry in class.

The PBF recipe also uses nutmeg, which is standard for pumpkin spice, but I couldn’t find ours. Use it if you’ve got it though, it’s part of the traditional “pumpkin pie spice” blend.

The flax, ginger, and raisins were added because I found around the kitchen. I’ll keep them in. And come on, cinnamon toast crunch was made to garnish this.

I also mix water & milk [side note: I only drink non-dairy milk], but you don’t have to. You can use all of one or the other, or cow’s milk, or soy milk, etc.

Off to learn.


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Categories: Recipes


Courtney grew up in Reading, PA, and has lived in New York City (where she earned a bachelor's degree at NYU), Prague, Philadelphia, and Charlottesville (where she received a J.D. from UVa Law). Courtney and her new husband will settle in Philadelphia following a six-week Euro-trip extravaganza in September of 2012. Courtney's interests include music, writing, criticism, fitness, travel, cooking, and sports. Please enjoy the blog. LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/courtney-marello/1a/375/b30 Tumblr: http://abarrelofoddsandends.tumblr.com/


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