It doesn’t take much more than that first burst of cool air to get me excited about Fall. I love the brisk smell of the air, the changing colors of the landscape, and the rustling sound of leaves underfoot. It makes me want to grab a blanket, sit by the fire, and cozy up with some comfort food.
I did not grow up on oatmeal so when it turned out that my husband did, I had to find ways to be creative. As Sunday’s for my family are a time to gather around the table, we often have a hearty brunch. One tradition we started was an oatmeal bar. Much like a salad bar, you start with a base and add what you like. For the base, we like steel cut oatmeal. Making it with milk adds extra richness. The beauty of this bar is that children, no matter what age, can also contribute.
With the fall come apples from the mountains at the local farmer’s market. So it should come as no surprise that apples always make the choice of toppings. One combination we particularly like is cooked apples for their homey consistency with the addition of fresh cut apples for their crunch. Golden raisins also blend well with this combination. I also like the tang of dried sour cherries. Over the years, the flavors vary as everyone’s tastes do.
This particular Sunday, we had cooked apples, fresh apples, dried cherries, golden raisins, brown sugar, and granola
Other tasty toppings we like include: maple syrup, honey, walnuts/pecans, blueberries, red raisins, bananas, cooked pears, dried apricots, cranberries, and as a an occassional treat chocolate chips or caramel.
Interestingly, even though it was not the original intent, there seems to be less sugar and less syrup in the bowls and more dried fruits as everyone contributes to the building of the oatmeal bar. Even though I never expected it, I now I get a little excited when fall comes around because it means it’s finally time for piping hot oatmeal on a nippy morning.