Pumpkin Spiced Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal

Pumpkin Spice Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal Fall Recipe

If you’re like me, you have certain memories, flavors, and smells attached to each season. When I think of fall, my mind goes to changing leaves, cooler temperatures, college football, and my favorite comfort foods. Included in my list of fall comfort foods are soul-warming flavors like apple, cranberries, cinnamon, and pumpkin (so cliche, but so true, right?!).

With this Pumpkin Spiced Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal, it feels like I’m basically eating fall in a bowl. I prefer to enjoy it with the back door open, letting the cool breeze in while listening to rustling leaves and watching them fall from the trees in our back yard. My ideal morning…and if it’s a Saturday, College GameDay may also be on TV in the background. Y’all know this kind of weather doesn’t last long in Memphis, so I take full advantage when I can!

That being said, I also recognize mornings rarely happen this way for many of you, and fortunately, this oatmeal is perfect for reheating on a busy work or school week morning. The recipe fills a 9 x 13″ dish, so there’s usually plenty leftovers to go around. Pair with a little protein (like eggs, milk, nuts, or yogurt), and you’ve got a delicious, nourishing breakfast that will put you back in your happy place for at least a few minutes before breakfast time is over.

Pumpkin Spice Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal Fall Recipe

INGREDIENTS

For the cooked apples:

2 tbsp. unsalted butter
3 large apples, peeled and sliced (your favorite variety…I use Granny Smith)
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
2 Tbsp. brown sugar

For the oatmeal:

1 cup steel cut oats
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
4 cups very hot water (*Kitchen Hack* I use our Keurig without a pod for this. Easy!)
½ cup brown sugar, lightly packed
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
3 cups old-fashioned oats
¼ cup maple syrup
½-1 cup dried cranberries or walnuts (optional)
1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
Dash ground cloves
½ cup pumpkin puree
½ cup whole milk
2 tsp. vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Place the steel cut oats in a large bowl with 4 tablespoons of butter.  Pour the hot water over the oats and cover the bowl.  Let stand for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat.  Stir in the apple slices, cinnamon, and sugar.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the apples are golden brown and caramelized, about 15 minutes.  Remove from the heat.

After the steel cut oats have finished soaking, stir in the old fashioned oats, ½ cup of brown sugar, maple syrup, salt, 2 teaspoons of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.  In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk together the pumpkin, milk and vanilla.  Stir the pumpkin mixture into the oat mixture. Stir in the walnuts or dried cranberries (optional).

Spread the apples over the bottom of a lightly greased 2 quart-ish baking dish.  Pour the oatmeal mixture on top of the apples.  Bake uncovered for 35-40 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before serving.

**To reheat leftovers, add a splash of milk and heat in microwave ~1 minute.

Adapted from:

Annie’s Eats & King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking


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Easy “Have it Your Way” Chili Recipe

Fleet Feet Sports Zoom Through The Zoo

Through much of my childhood, my dad owned a running shoe and apparel store called Fleet Feet Sports. I was still playing dress-up and lugging around my Barney & Baby Bop stuffed animals at the time he opened the store, but I still remember chowing down on this chili at that early age. Chili nights were the only nights that my parents didn’t have to beg me to drink my milk. Every bowl of chili I ate was served with a glass of ice cold milk to cool my mouth off from the spices in the chili.

Weird combination? Maybe. But I loved it!

Before you stop reading because you don’t like spicy food…

Have it your way: Spice

The thing I love about this chili is you can “have it your way.” In other words, yours can have as little or as much heat as your family prefers. In the 2-alarm chili kit (which you can find at your local grocery store or online), you’ll find little packets of pre-measured chili powder, paprika, salt, dehydrated onion & garlic, cumin, oregano, red pepper, and corn masa flour.

Use this guide for spicing up your chili…

How spicy do you like your chili (using 2 alarm chili kit)?

An added bonus…

No need to go purchase and measure out a bunch of spices for this chili! How easy (and inexpensive) is that?

Have it your way: Protein

Right about now, you may be asking: “How does your childhood and your dad’s store relate to chili?” Great question. One of my dad’s employees (who happened to be vegan) gave him the recipe for this chili, making him promise to never put meat in it. Since my dad made the promise, he typically incorporated veggie crumbles, but you could also make it with beans and veggies only.

As a meat-eater, I’m so glad I wasn’t the one who made that promise! My family typically incorporates ground beef, turkey, or venison into the recipe. All you’ll need to do is brown your protein of choice in a large Dutch oven before adding the other ingredients.

Whether you like your chili meatless, beefy, with ground turkey and with mild, medium, or spicy hot flavors, this chili recipe can be customized to your taste buds and flavor preferences!

Are you understanding why I call this Easy “Have it Your Way” Chili now?

Let’s recap…

  • All spices are pre-measured in one little box.
  • You can make the chili mild, medium, spicy, or super spicy.
  • You can incorporate the protein of your choosing.

Finally, guess what else you can do to have this chili your way?

Have it your way: Toppings

Garnish you chili with the toppings of your choice! Try cheese, avocado, scallions, red onion, cilantro, sour cream, or Greek yogurt.


Easy “Have It Your Way” Chili

This recipe makes quite a bit of chili which is great for leftovers or freezing for a later date. The chili tastes great reheated in the microwave or on the stove. If thick enough, it could also be incorporated into a chili cheese quesadilla.

INGREDIENTS

1 pound ground beef, turkey, venison, veggie crumbles (protein of your choice)

8 ounce can tomato sauce

1 can Rotel (10 oz)

1 can red beans (16 oz), drained & rinsed

1 can navy beans (16 oz), drained & rinsed

1 can kidney beans (16 oz), drained & rinsed

1 can pinto beans (16 oz), drained & rinsed

1 box 2 Alarm Chili Kit (see notes below)

  • Add salt to taste. Personally, I’ve never used the whole packet.
  • Add red pepper to taste.
    • Mild: Skip the red pepper.
    • Medium: Use one-third to half of the packet.
    • Hot: Use at least 1/2 of the packet.
    • Super spicy: Use the whole packet.
  • Omit masa (unless the chili needs to be thickened).

1 cup water

DIRECTIONS

  1. In large pot, brown ground beef. Drain if needed.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and simmer.
  3. Top with cheese, sour cream, avocado, or other toppings of your choice.

It’s chilly outside, so what better time to make this easy “Have it Your Way” Chili inside? How will you be making your chili? What are your favorite chili toppings? I’d love to hear from you!

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Easy to Make, Exciting to Eat School Lunches

For many families, “Back to School” means back to packing lunches. Though parents have had a summer-long vacation from sorting through the Tupperware containers to find matching tops, and kids have had a break from that same ole turkey sandwich and chips, the idea of packing lunches (and eating them) still leaves much to be desired.

This morning on ABC’s Local Memphis Live, I shared some of my favorite tips for serving up creative, nourishing lunches that are easy to make and exciting to eat. The best part: Though I might pack these lunches for my little boy, you don’t have to be a pro to make lunches children will love! Here’s a clip of the Local Memphis Live segment (and a recap below) in case you missed it…

I packed up all of these lunches in Easy Lunchboxes…order some here and save yourself the nightmare of sorting through tons of tiny plastic containers…with the 3 compartment, single-lid lunchbox, packing lunches is that much faster (who doesn’t love that?)!

Peanut Butter & Banana “Sushi” Served with Greek Yogurt and Raw Veggies

Peanut Butter & Banana

For the “sushi,” take a whole wheat tortilla and spread a couple of tablespoons of peanut butter* over the entire tortilla. Place a whole, peeled banana close to the edge of the tortilla and roll. [Sidenote: This would be such an easy way to get your children involved in packing their own lunches!] Once the banana is all wrapped up, use a serrated knife to slice into 1 – 1.5 inch pieces.

*Many children (including my son) have peanut allergies, and schools are not allowing peanuts or peanut butter in school lunches. If this is the case for your child, no problem! Sunbutter made from sunflower seeds is a nice alternative…it’s still creamy and delicious like peanut butter…no Epipen needed!

Caprese Skewers Served with Sliced Apples and a Hardboiled Egg

Caprese Skewers

To make the caprese skewers, roll up a slice of turkey and cut it into bite-sized pieces. On a 6-inch skewer*, place a small ball of fresh mozzarella, 1 basil leaf, 1 grape or cherry tomato, and 1 piece of the turkey. Repeat if you have room.

*Worried about sending your little one to school with a sharp, pointy object? Me too. Instead of using wooden skewers, try cocktail stirrers (which come in a variety of bright, glittery colors kids will love), skinny straws, or small popsicle sticks.

Greek Pita Pockets with Orange Slices and Cashews/Dark Chocolate Trail Mix

Greek Pita Pockets

These Greek pita pockets provide a way to use leftovers in a way that tastes new and different. Take a whole wheat pita pocket and spread hummus all over the inside of the pocket. Next, sprinkle the inside with feta cheese. Add a few cucumber slices, shredded carrots, or raw veggies of your child’s choice along with bite-sized pieces of last night’s chicken, pork, or beef. Better yet, go ahead and pack this lunch before you clean up dinner so it’s ready to go for the next morning.

Bonus Tip!

Do you have leftovers that wouldn’t be appetizing in a pita but would be excellent simply rewarmed? Did you know thermoses are good for more than just soups and hot chocolate? I didn’t either until recently! Here’s what you’ll need to do:

  • Take a small thermos and fill it up with hot water for about 5 minutes while you’re making your breakfast.
  • Then, heat up the leftovers you need for lunch that day until they are piping hot.
  • Pour the water out of the thermos, add your leftovers, and screw the top back on tightly.
  • When lunchtime comes, no microwave needed…just a fork or spoon!

Remember: You don’t have to be a pro to pack an awesome lunch…Guess what? You also don’t have to be a child to enjoy one of these balanced and “non-boring” lunches. Go ahead and get 2 of those Easy Lunchboxes out of the cabinet! One for your little one, and one for you! Enjoy!

Back To School Lunches