Oats of the Week: Spiced Apples and Pumpkin

The Mix: spiced apples, pumpkin puree, and toasted nuts

The Story: This holiday weekend is one of the busiest apple picking weekends of the year in the Hudson Valley. Some of the local orchards attract busloads, but my favorite is a small, off-the-beaten-path orchard that doesn't advertise or have a corn maze or hayrides, just acres of apples and a small roadside stand. They grow older varieties of apples not sold in stores. Yesterday I picked golden russets, which are brown like a pear on the outside and, on the inside, as tart and crisp as a honey crisp.

The Workout: A brisk 5-mile walk to Duck Pond in the Mohonk Preserve, with a few extra hill climbs on Lenape Lane.  

The Instructions: Follow the directions on the McCann's steel-cut oats can. While the oats cook, cut an apple into thick slices, leaving the skin on. Cook the apple slices in a frying pan over medium heat with a teaspoon of water, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1/4  teaspoon nutmeg, until they just start to soften, 2 minutes. Do not over cook apples; they will turn to mush. Just before oats finish cooking, mix in 1/2 cup of canned pumpkin puree. Top oats with the cooked apples slices and a teaspoon of toasted hazelnuts or walnuts.