Spiced Oatmeal with Candied Almonds

One thing I’ve learned about traveling, which I put into practice after my trip to Chicago for the previous Spice Islands spice tasting: when you get home, before you do anything else, unpack your suitcase. Otherwise it’s going to languish in your apartment or house for a few days while you tend to all the other things that have piled up in your absence. I’ve learned this from experiencing living out of a suitcase weeks after previous trips.

However, even before I unzip my usually-jammed suitcase, I make myself a bowl of oatmeal. Invariably when I travel, I try to eat as much as I can, wherever I’m visiting. I rarely pay attention to eating “healthy” when I’m on the road, because I’d miss all the good stuff – like hot chocolate, caramel corn, and pork-filled tacos.

But by the time I arrive back, I’m stuffed and feel the need to do a bit of cleansing. Oatmeal, I’m always convinced, acts like a brush to scrub away all the butter, chocolate, and guacamole I’ve consumed. Whether or not that’s true is another matter, but I like to believe it. Plus oatmeal tastes good to me, so I’m happy to have a warm bowl of it after a long airplane ride, or a long layover eating airport food.

I spice it up a bit with fragrant Spice Islands Saigon cinnamon and a few swipes of fresh Spice Islands nutmeg, whose smell I always find both inviting and intoxicating. To keep things in the “healthy” category, I add some dried fruits to dial things up. Because some people find oatmeal a bit staid, you can also dress it up with some candied, cinnamon- spiced almonds. Kids like them too, and they’re a good way to wean them off sugary breakfast cereals, toward something healthy.

Spiced Oatmeal with Candied Almonds

This recipe makes one bowl of oatmeal but can be scaled up accordingly. The almond recipe is more generous and extras will keep for about ten days in an airtight container.

For the candied almonds (makes 2 cups)

2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons sugar
2 cups sliced or slivered almonds
Pinch of Spice Islands ground Saigon cinnamon
Grind of Spice Islands sea salt

For the oatmeal

1 cup water
1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
Pinch of salt
Pinch of Spice Islands ground Saigon cinnamon
A few swipes of freshly grated Spice Islands nutmeg
1/4 cup mixed Spice Islands crystallized ginger and dried fruits (such as cherries, raisins, or diced apricots)

To make the almonds:

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

In a skillet, heat the water and sugar to a boil.

Remove from heat and stir in the almonds and cinnamon, until well-coated. Spread the nuts on a non-stick baking sheet (or one lined with silicone baking mat) and sprinkle with sea salt.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring several times during baking, until they’re golden brown. Let cool completely.

To make the oatmeal:

In a small saucepan, combine the water, oats, salt, cinnamon, grated nutmeg, candied ginger, and dried fruit.

Bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat and simmer gently, stirring frequently, until most of the water is absorbed.

Remove from heat, cover, and let stand for about ten minutes.

To serve, top with almonds, maple syrup and a small pat of salted butter.

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10 Responses to Spiced Oatmeal with Candied Almonds

  1. Pingback: Flavor Almonds

  2. Great meeting you in Atlanta this weekend at the Quaker booth (client). I love seeing that your first post back is about oatmeal. I’m hooked on my morning bowl of steel cut oats cooked in apple juice and almond milk with saigon cinnamon, and then topped with my favorite dried fruits and nuts. Always a good start to the day.

  3. Betty says:

    I have a friend who’s Scottish and he swears by his daily ration of oatmeal. As he’s healthy as an ox and going on 60 (oddly enough as I’ve rounded the dreaded five-oh myself 60 doesn’t sound nearly as old as it used to) I can only assume he’s on to something. I remember those “just add hot water” packets of oatmush from my childhood, which bear absolutely no resemblance to the real thing, and shudder. Nowadays if you put a spicey nut in just about anything I’ll eat it and be happy. Spice and toasted nuts? Yes please. I wonder what they’d do for haggis?

  4. susan says:

    I always revert back to oatmeal too, when I want to eat something I feel is nourishing. I love to add apple cider instead of water….it’s so flavorful. It also sweetens it more, so I need less sweetener. I also add dried cherries and walnuts. I have to try the candied nuts!!

  5. Kathleen says:

    I went back to oatmeal for 30 days to lower my cholesterol and it worked, so it’ s my comfort food of choice. And not ‘oatmush’- but old fashioned or steel cut. Usually a little cinnamon or ginger,and then fresh or dried fruit,but the candied ginger is GENIUS. Just the thing for a cold morning,and I’m thinking with some pineapple, or mango, or apple, or pear…..

  6. David says:

    Yes, oatmeal always feels so ‘cleansing’ and I’m one of those people that will sometimes even have it for breakfast or lunch (or dessert! I’ve made Oatmeal Raisin Ice Cream…) The instant stuff doesn’t do it for me and it’s pretty easy to whip up a bowl of oatmeal. Often after a trip, I put the oatmeal & water in a pan, bring it to a boil, cover and turn it off…then let it sit while I unwind in the shower. And then it’s waiting for me when I get out.

    (Now if I could only figure out how to get my suitcase unpacked while I’m in there as well, that’d be great…!)

    @susan: Interesting to add cider to the mix instead of water ~ will have to try that sometime.

  7. Love this! Was planning on making some oatmeal tomorrow so I’ll have to give this a go!

    New to your blog; happy I found you!

    Delightful Bitefuls

  8. Elizabeth says:

    That looks like such a yummy recipe! Thanks for posting, can’t wait to try it tomorrow morning.

  9. Pingback: Reader Giveaway: A Few of My Favorite Spice Islands Seasonings

  10. nik says:

    Looks delicious! I’d like to try it with blueberries, chopped figs and dates. Thanks for the recipe.