I don’t want to go all stereotypically British and keep harping on about the weather, but I finally succumbed to a jumper the other day. That’s really a sweater, for my North American pals, my days of wearing what we Brits call a pinafore dress have been over since third grade, you know.
You lovely lot will all know the reason for my being cold (read About if you don’t, and shame on you 😉 ) but I get teased by my husband, all the same. We often chuckle about how he went trekking in the foothills of the Himalayas, sleeping in his tent at night in just his boxer shorts at 3,500m, for crying out loud. I, on the other hand, will sleep under a sheet, one quilt and two eiderdowns on an average winter’s night right here in Vancouver and still feel cold. But you know, I have actually noticed changes in my body temperature since turning AIP. For instance I slept with just a sheet over me this Summer and I have never done that before (apart from when holidaying in hot and humid countries and then I would seriously complain because I hate the heat too). So go on, tell me something about you, I do know that people visit (unless it’s the same person, who calls in countless times a day, in which case for goodness sake let’s be friends), it’s not fair for me to do all the talking!
I bet you really popped in for a recipe didn’t you? Well, following the overwhelming success of the Peach and Ginger Oatmeal, I thought I would introduce you to an Autumn/Winter version to keep you going until it’s Peach time once more. Which is actually the reason I mentioned the weather in the first place, because my feeling chilly is fuelling a need for warmth and when I think of Autumn, I think of windfall fruits. And I have to tell you, this recipe has gone up to top ranking with the food critics and I cannot even print what my ‘articulate’ teenage son’s words were when he tasted his first mouthful! If you have a teenage boy, I’m guessing you’ll probably know 😉
Of course there’s nothing stopping you if you want to chop up your pears and chuck ’em in with the cinnamon and everything else on ‘oatmeal morning’ (and please do this if you forgot to sort them the night before) but whilst you’ve got the oven on for the squash, it makes sense to pretty up those pears dontcha think? My Mum always taught me to make use of the oven whilst it was on. She taught me all about using ‘residual heat’ too, only that has nothing to do with this recipe. So do some good prep the night before, and you’re going to be pleasantly surprised at just how quick, simple and utterly delicious this breakfast really is. Then you’ll be glad you paid a bit of attention to those pears when they’re paying out dividends in the taste department.
In case it’s crossing your mind that it’s a shame to chop those deliciously fragrant pears and shove them in a pan, you need to trust me. Roasting them first imparts an almost buttery taste and elevates this oatmeal several levels higher up the ‘Scale of Yum’! Make it, you’ll see what I mean. Besides, we’re frequently told we must breakfast like a king … so here’s your chance. One thing to note – consider roasting pears this way for dessert some time, can you imagine them served with whipped coconut cream or vanilla ice cream?
roasted cinnamon pear oatmeal
Even though this recipe uses half a large squash, I still cook this size as the squash keeps well in a covered container in the fridge. That way you’ll have enough for another oatmeal breakfast, or a good quantity you can use for something else. As for the pears, the oatmeal itself is perfection with just the three, that fourth one is really there for decoration if you so choose. If you just want to roast three, don’t alter the original measurements of oil and cinnamon.
3 cups (750g) cooked spaghetti squash
4 large (930g) just under ripe (see * below) red bartlett pears, halved, cored and stalks removed (see ** below about whether or not to peel)
2 tbsp coconut oil, softened but not melted (I use this one)
1 tsp powdered cinnamon (I use this one)
1+1/4 cups (110g) shredded coconut (I use this one)
2+1/2 cups (625ml) coconut milk (I use this one)
1 tsp salt (I use this one)
The night before :
Preheat the oven to 350˚F/180˚C.
Prepare a large squash by cutting it in half across the width, scooping out the seeds and putting it cut side down in a roasting pan large enough to hold both halves. Pour a half inch worth of water into the pan and bake for about 45 minutes to an hour. You want the flesh to be nice and soft, beyond that spaghetti stage so if you go over the 45 minute mark, like I often do when I get distracted and end up leaving it for nearly an hour and a half, I wouldn’t worry! Carefully remove the piping hot squash halves and put them onto plates to cool before popping into the fridge overnight.
In a small bowl, mix the coconut oil and cinnamon powder together, ignoring the fact it looks remarkably like forbidden chocolate sauce, and divide between the pear halves, spooning into and along the wells. Place into a large roasting tin and bake alongside the squash for 30 minutes. Baste the pears all over with the juices that have run into the pan, turn them so they are cut side down and continue roasting an extra 15 minutes or until nicely browned, slightly caramelised, smelling fantastic and you can put a knife through them easily. You don’t want the pears so soft to the point of falling apart. Set aside to cool before putting into a covered container (along with the juices) and leaving in the fridge overnight.
On ‘oatmeal day’ :
Roughly chop three of the pears (six halves) and put them into a large pan along with the squash, shredded coconut, coconut milk and salt. Make sure to add in the coconut/cinnamon that has now set on the bottom of the dish. Mix well and bring to the boil. Immediately turn down to a simmer and cook, stirring frequently until piping hot throughout, approx 8-10 minutes. Use an immersion blender to break down the fibres of the squash, but leaving it fairly chunky.
Serve the oatmeal with reserved pear halves sliced artistically over the top.
If by any chance you have leftovers (a rarity in our house) this will keep, covered, for up to three days in the fridge. It also freezes particularly well.
When you make ‘oatmeals’ be sure to add some collagen on serving (which mixes in beautifully by the way) for your joint health. It’s wondrous stuff!
* Red Bartlett pears are beautifully fragrant and sweet which is why this oatmeal needs no other sweetener. The pears bake best if on the ‘just ripening’ side, i.e. they should yield only slightly when pressed near the stalk.
** As for the skins on the pears, I’m not a great believer in removing them. A, because I’m lazy and actually think there’s more to life than peeling a pear and B, because there’s a lot of goodness in them there skins. What you do get as a result is that slight grainy texture every so often when your teeth come into contact with the skin. Personally, we’re crazy about it but if it’s gonna bother you, skinning is the way to go!
Don’t forget to check out two more ‘Oatmeals’ : Apple and Cranberry ‘Oatmeal’ and my Summer version, Peach and Ginger ‘Oatmeal’ here. Plus for more breakfast inspiration, you may want to think about getting a copy of the e-book “85 Amazing AIP Breakfasts“!