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What would July 4th be without a little red, white, and blue? In this case, the patriotic ingredients are fresh, bright cherries and blueberries, drizzled with buttery cream. Steel-cut oats are nutty, chewy little nuggets that pack a nutritional punch and make for a comforting, yummy breakfast when simmered with milk and a touch of cinnamon. We are big fans of them around here, and their extra texture and flavor elevate them over their more-processed cousin, rolled oats. Whether you stayed up too late last night, or got up too early this morning, a bowl of creamy steel-cut oatmeal topped with chunks of fresh fruit is nothing less than transformative.

This is lovely with cherries and berries, but if you don’t have fresh fruit on hand, swirl a spoonful of your favorite jam or preserves into your bowl instead. Use your imagination, as any seasonal fruit and nut combination will work. My favorite duos are pears and ginger; peaches with a dash of nutmeg; or a spoonful of Caramel Apple Butter and a sprinkling of toasted pecans. Simple, filling, and delicious.

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Berries and Cream Steel-cut Oatmeal
serves 4-6

1 c. steel-cut oats
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
3 c. milk
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 c. turbinado or brown sugar
2 Tbsp. real maple syrup
1/2 c. fresh blueberries
1 c. pitted fresh cherries, coarsely chopped
1/4 c. heavy cream

In medium heavy saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir steel-cut oats into butter, then allow to toast for a minute or two, until the oats are lightly browned and smell nutty. Stir in salt, sugar, syrup, and cinnamon until well-mixed, then pour in milk. Bring to boil, then lower heat and simmer slowly for 30-35 minutes, stirring often, until oats are tender with chewy centers, and oatmeal is thick and creamy.

Taste for seasoning — it may need a touch more salt or sugar, depending on the oats themselves. Serve oatmeal hot with a generous heap of berries and cherries on top and a drizzle of heavy cream.

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