Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Ellie Krieger's Vanilla Spice Oatmeal

Some things are so simple.  Oatmeal for one... how hard is it to boil water, add oats and serve with milk?  This quintessential belly filling, body warming, bowl of goodness seems to be cooking at it's easiest.  But, it's a little lifeless, and well... boring.  

Growing up my dad had oatmeal topped with honey almost every day, and I always turned my nose up and poured myself a bowl of cold cereal.  When I got married, my husband also preferred oatmeal in the morning and I thought I'd give it another try.  Good, but like I said earlier, boring.  Raisins on top helped, but sugar made it too sweet and I went back to my cold cereal box.

However... last February my husband took me on a 14 day cruise to the South Pacific (oh how I love the Tropics!) on a small cruise ship called the Paul Gauguin (Cruise Critic Review here!).  Each morning our server, Joey, would save my seat and bring me a bowl of oatmeal topped with golden raisins, walnuts and a sprinkle of cinnamon.  Wow!  What a difference these simple ingredients made!  I found myself actually craving that warm bowl even while basking in the humidity of Raiatea or Bora Bora. 

Yesterday while perusing one of my favorite books by Ellie Krieger, So Easy, I stumbled upon her recipe for Vanilla Spice Oatmeal.  With the sun shining bright this morning I mixed together the simple additions, including my prized Tahitian Vanilla Extract from our vacation, and sat down to a wonderful, tasty and "unboring" breakfast!  Closing my eyes I could almost feel the trade winds blowing the sweet, floral scent of vanilla through my kitchen.  Thank you, Ellie,  for spicing up my life!

Vanilla Spice Oatmeal
adapted from Ellie Krieger, So Easy, pg. 39

3½ cups water
2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
½ cup raisins
¼ tsp salt
¼+ tsp vanilla extract
pinch of ground nutmeg
brown sugar
walnuts or pecans

Combine the water, oats, raisins and salt in a medium saucepan.  Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring a few times, until the oats are tender, about 5 minutes.

Remove pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla and nutmeg.  Swirl in the brown sugar and place the oatmeal in serving bowls.  Pour desired amount of milk and sprinkle with nuts and cinnamon.

Note:  a dollop of Pear Brandy Butter would be a wonderful addition!


  1. I'm so glad you shared this recipe. I have to agree...I find plain oatmeal good but boring. But now you just added something I really love: vanilla, nutmeg, brown sugar and pecans. perfect! I can see myself starting to eat more oatmeal in the morning!

  2. I also like this recipe, simple way to make a bowl of oatmeal a lot more interesting and tasty. I like the photo of you relaxing on the deck of your cruise ship, way to have fun and set the rest of us to dreaming about warmer and exotic places:)

  3. You convinced me. I'm adding vanilla to my oatmeal. Tomorrow. Along with raisins, brown sugar and a tad of milk...

  4. I rarely eat oatmeal and when i do I mix it with all kinds of nuts and dried fruits, next time i'll add some vanilla nd nutmeg. thanks for the idea

  5. Oh wow fantastic :-) I love oatmeal, usually the incredibly boring way - lol. I would definitely try it this way, though. You made it look and sound so appetizing! Sounds like it was an amazing cruise, too. Lucky you!


  6. What a great way to spice up your oats!!!! I have oatmeal almost every morning, usually topped with maple syrup. I will definitely try your recipe !

  7. We have oatmeal most mornings. I really love it with Golden Syrup on it, but it is hard to find in the US. Mark (DH) loves it with banana, raisins, and some honey. I can't wait to try this recipe.

  8. I haven't had oatmeal in years, but I have always loved just inspired me to try it again, with a little vanilla and spice!

  9. This is a perfect breakfast meal. I love the picture you must have had a great time there! I've replied to your tag. Thanks again for tagging me.

  10. Isn't it amazing how spices can really transform a dish! I love them and could't imagine life without cinnamon or vanilla :-) Thank you for sharing another simple yet delicious recipe, Kim. I've got a blog award that I would like to pass on to you - you can find the details on Bistro Gerard when you have a moment to visit

  11. I love this recipe!!!! Make it for myself all the time. I LOVE that you love Ellie. Did you know she's my pretend best friend forever? Who said adults can't have imaginary friends! Growing up, I too, hated oatmeal. I switch between this and cream of wheat!!

  12. I eat oatmeal almost every day, the old-fashioned kind. For me oatmeal is comfort food. My Mom used to make it all the time, but she would put chocolate chips, or bananas in it. I always add cinnamon to the cooking water, maybe some craisins, or chopped apple or pear, topped with chopped walnuts. Oatmeal does lower cholesterol:)

  13. I've got to admit to being a cold cereal eater before oatmeal. I'm with you in that added sugar makes it seem too sweet. This recipe, though, has me thinking it might just be worth giving oatmeal another whirl. The flavors sound comforting and I really like the textural additions of the nuts and prunes...thanks!!

  14. I like any kind of oatmeal or cereal really. When I was younger and would eat breakfast before school, which my dad would always make, I would have cinnamon on top of warm oatmeal. To this day it is still one of my favorite things to have any time of the day

  15. My husband has steel cut oats with plain yogurt and chopped apples every single day. While it's good, I can't bring myself to do the same. I'm not much of a breakfast anyway. However, I do get cravings for a big bowl of hot oatmeal, only slightly sweet. I understand why you enjoyed this everyday during your cruise. It looks great and I like everything in the ingredient list.

  16. You really have me craving some oatmeal right now! I wanted to pass on a lovely blog award and tag you! Come visit if you'd like it! Have a great day!

  17. I'm not a huge oatmeal fan either! I'm all about trying these though. They look amazing. I have breakfast ideas for tomorrow now :)

  18. I am so not a breakfast eater. I often think of oatmeal, but just don't give it a chance...I think I may try it this weekend! Beautiful photo...we had a small cruise booked (Fiji) however the departure date was 9/11...YUP that 9/11 - needless to say I am still dreaming of a South Pacific vaca, once the kids are older :)

  19. Yep--sounds like a good addition to oatmeal. Will try!

  20. This sounds delicious. I haven't made one of her recipes yet that hasn't been great.


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