For as much as the bitterness of winter can overwhelm us, there is a certain warmth that comes with these cold, blustery days. Family time by the fireside, bowls of hearty soup, mugs of hot chocolate, an Olaf-worthy warm hug, and my favorite, nourishing root vegetables. This recipe I’ve created here combines my love of such vegetables with another favorite winter staple, oatmeal. The silky puree of roasted squash combined with savory oats, sweet cranberries and toasty pumpkin seeds is absolute perfection on a spoon. Not to mention, an unexpected and fantastic way to include vegetables in your little ones diet. And have fun with the toppings – you can sprinkle flax meal, wheat germ or chia seeds on top, you can drizzle with extra maple syrup or a dab of brown sugar, you can swap out the pumpkin seeds for walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts or a combination of the three, and you can add a swirl of applesauce if you have it on hand. Even more fun? Let your little one choose their own toppings.
* As a homemade baby-food option, just extract the dried cranberries and pumpkin seeds.
- 1 cup whole quick cooking oats*
- 2¼ cups water or dairy/non-dairy milk, or a combination of the two depending on your preference
- Pinch of salt
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ cup butternut squash puree (see below)
- ¼ cup dried cranberries
- 1 tablespoon toasted pumpkin seeds
- Bring the liquid and salt to a boil; slowly stir in the oats. Whisk until liquid has absorbed and oats are cooked through, they will continue to thicken as they cool. Stir in the maple syrup, vanilla and cinnamon. Remove from heat. Distribute the cooked oats into bowls and swirl in a scoop of the squash puree. Top each bowl with cranberries and pumpkin seeds.
* Quick Cooking Oats – These are oats that have been pressed slightly thinner than rolled oats. They cook more quickly, but retain less of their texture. You can substitute Rolled Oats or Instant Oats for quick cooking. If you want a chewier consistency, substitute steel-cut oats and just increase the cooking time according to package instructions.