I know there are people who don't eat breakfast. I'll admit, I don't really understand these people. I love breakfast. It's the one time of the day when mixing peanut butter and wildflower honey in with my whole grains seems perfectly acceptable, when a bowl of granola sweetened with maple syrup and brown sugar passes for health food. This is not to say I'm someone who adores sweets -- I'm not. But come fall you're most likely to find me puttering around in the kitchen, nursing a pot of oats over an open flame. Gone are the days of light lunches and quick breakfasts of yogurt and fruit or fried eggs. After all, what is more soul-satisfying than a hot bowl of grains?
When I first considered a commitment to local eating a couple of months ago, I'll be honest. I searched high and low for oats. Oak Manor produces oats grown and processed in Ontario, but naturally they aren't gluten-free. Which is fine -- unless you have that pesky auto-immune disease that's so du jour. Fortunately Cream Hill Estates, out of Quebec, makes a line of gluten-free oat products that include rolled oats, oat flour and oat groats. I realize these oats aren't from Ontario, but Montreal is a heck of a lot closer than the Bob's Red Mill Wheat-Free Oats I was purchasing. Happily, these oats are also more economical - $11 for almost 5lbs, vs. $7 for 2.2lbs of Bob Red Mill's Wheat Free Rolled Oats (and this is at NoFrills -- they go from anywhere between $8 - $10 at stores such as Whole Foods, Loblaws and health food stores.)
Cream Hill Estates, according to their website, "is a small, privately-owned business producing and distributing guaranteed pure oats as rolled oats, oat flour and whole oat kernels (groats)." They're currently in the process of developing other gluten-free oat products. For those in the GTA, I purchased mine from Noah's Bloor St. (at Spadina) location.
I'll be covering alternative ways of enjoying your bowl of oats in the future, but here's one to tantalize your tastebuds for now.
1/3 cup rolled oats (learn more about rolled oats here)
2 heaping tbsp pureed pumpkin (I use Stokely's, which is grown and processed in Ontario)
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice, or more to taste
1-2 tsp pure Ontario maple syrup
Dash of pure vanilla extract
Black walnuts (optional)
1. Cook your oatmeal according to package directions. Be sure to add a pinch of salt to the cooking water. I cook mine on the stovetop because I don't have a microwave, which takes about 4-6 minutes.
2. Closer to the end of cooking time, around the 3-4 minute mark, add canned pumpkin, pie spice, and vanilla. Mix thoroughly to combine.
3. Heat through and serve immediately. Stir in maple syrup and add walnuts or other add-ins if desired. You may need to add a little additional salt if the flavours aren't coming through clearly. Enjoy with a cup of local pumpkin tea or with pumpkin spice coffee.
Posted by S. at 9:01 PM