It’s the weekend. Live a little.

I eat oatmeal most days of the week. I make it simply but flavorfully with a pinch of salt, water and something different each morning from my box of “dessert” spices from Ceylon cinnamon and nutmeg to ground ginger and cardamom.

Weekends then, you might think, I eschew weekday oatmeal for Saturday morning pancakes and Sunday brunch omelets and pastries. Sometimes, you’d be right. But other times I make indulgent oatmeal.

Christopher Kimball is the founder of America’s Test Kitchen and his current effort at Milk Street. In the intro to his book, The Best Light Recipe, he said that he struggled with this book because he couldn’t understand looking for lighter ways to indulge – low calorie pie or a low-fat cake. He said Monday through Friday if he wants dessert he will eat fruit. On the weekend, however, he indulges fully making cakes, pies and custards with a commitment to flavor and all the fat and sugar it takes to get there.

I like that idea. We probably shouldn’t be indulging 7 days a week. So pick your time. But, when you indulge, indulge well, really well. Make every single bite count. This oatmeal? This is is what successful indulgence looks like.

Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal with all the toppings!

Serves 4

Fresh pumpkin makes his extra special. Roast a peanut pumpkin, Speckled Hound, Long Island Cheese or Hubbard. Or open up a can. Just make sure there’s real pumpkin. Substitute a gingerbread or pumpkin pie spice blend for all of the spices to save time.

For oatmeal:

  • 1 cup fresh pumpkin purée
  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • 3 tbs maple or brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ginger
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/8 tsp ground all spice
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 cups water

For toppings:

  • 1/4 cup pepitas, toasted
  • 1/2 cup walnut halves, toasted and chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped, candied ginger
  • 2 cups apple cider
  • 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar

Make cider reduction: Boil cider over med-high heat until reduced to 1/2 cup. Stir in vinegar.

Make topping: stir together pepitas, walnuts and ginger. If the ginger is sticking in clumps, break it apart and mix into nuts with your fingers.

Make oatmeal. Mix together all ingredients in a 2-3 quart saucepan. Bring to a boil over med-high heat and cook until beginning to thicken, about 4-5 minutes total. Reduce heat to low and thicken to desired consistency.

Serve oatmeal topped with nuts and ginger and drizzled with syrup.

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