February favorites

Recipes from our readers, tested in Sunset's kitchen

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Spiced Oatmeal

To avoid the packaging of instant oatmeal, Lynn Lloyd experimented until she came up with her own mix, a blend of dried fruit, grains, nuts, and mellow spices. She buys 4- or 7-grain hot-cereal flakes in a health food store. You can also use a coarsely ground hot cereal. The uncooked mixture (complete step 1) will keep, stored airtight, up to a month.

PREP AND COOK TIME: About 15 minutes

MAKES: 9 cups mix; 12 servings

3 cups regular rolled oats
3 cups 4- or 7-grain cereal flakes or coarsely ground hot cereal
1 cup chopped dried dates
1 cup chopped dried apples
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cloves

1. In a large container (at least 2 1/2 qt.) with a lid, combine oats, 4-grain cereal, dates, apples, walnuts, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, turmeric, and cloves.

2. For each serving, in a 1- to 2-quart pan, bring 1 cup water to a boil over high heat. (Or, in a microwave oven in a 2- to 3-cup bowl or glass measuring cup, heat 1 cup water on full power, (100%) until boiling, about 2 minutes.) Stir in 3/4 cup spiced oatmeal mix. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand for 5 to 10 minutes, until it's as thick as you like.

Per serving cooked: 445 cal., 17% (77 cal.) from fat; 11 g protein; 8.6 g fat (0.8 g sat.); 85 g carbo (5.3 g fiber); 27 mg sodium; 0 mg chol.

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