Raspberries for Breakfast or a Quick, Light, Supper

A favorite first board game for my kids over the years has been Hi Ho the Cherry-O, wherein little cherries are painstakingly put into holes in the cardboard game board and then a spinner gives each player the opportunity to “pick” one, two, or three cherries and put them in his or her basket. The first one to get all ten into the little bucket is the winner.
However…The spinner might come to rest at a bird or a dog, meaning that these animals have raided the bucket and some cherries will have to be put back on the tree. Worst of all are the spins when the bucket is upset, and everything already picked comes out of the little pail and goes back on the tree.
I don’t want to play that game with any of the grandchildren tonight.
I was almost halfway through the raspberry patch this afternoon, rejoicing in the larger berries that my—finally—long watering sessions had yielded when a branch snapped back against my berry bucket and over went the whole thing. At that point, all I could think of was that silly kids’ game. Grrrr.
The good thing was that most of the berries landed in a very soft patch of pine needles, so I was able to salvage perhaps half of what I had gathered to that point. Still, there was a lot of one by one checking of each berry when I came in the house later. (Washing doesn’t work to get these little pine needles off the berries—the water seems to just make them stick even tighter.) Even after the loss of so many berries, I still ended up with over two pounds of picture-perfect berries. Since one of the local food stores has raspberries featured this week, two dry half pint boxes for $5, that means I have around $15 worth of berries in that bag? Wow!
I understand that this bounty of berries is not available to everyone, but they are a frugal option if you do have a backyard patch, so I like to find ways to use them wherever possible. The following recipe is one that includes raspberries, but it could also be made with just apples or with strawberries or perhaps even peaches–whatever might be most reasonable in the market.
A friend of mine mentioned recently the difficulty of cooking for one person after a very long day at work. The following recipe took 8 minutes from start to finish when I made it recently, and while it was developed initially as a warming weekend breakfast, it might be just the thing for a chilly fall weekday evening when comfort food would be as welcome as a more elaborate meal.
And lest you worry about this being more like dessert than more “typical” one dish meals, consider that the amount of sugar is less than all too many breakfast cereals. This is a hefty single serving (if used as a dessert or side dish, it would serve at least two) so there are two fruit servings along with plenty of protein and fiber from the nuts and oatmeal. Serve it with a glass of milk (or, “Wisconsin style,” with an ounce of reduced low fat cheese) and you’ll be getting your dairy as well–a dollop of vanilla or plain yogurt is also good without adding a lot of empty calories.
Overall, not a bad dish to keep in mind, with less than 10 minutes prep time and a house that quickly fills with the aroma of “home cooking.”

Breakfast/Supper Fruit Compote
3/4 c raspberries (optional)
1 apple, thinly sliced, NOT peeled (about 1 cup)
1 T sugar
1/2 t cinnamon
2 T coarsely chopped walnuts
1/2 c oatmeal–quick cooking but NOT instant
1 t canola oil or butter
Toss the fruit with the sugar and cinnamon and microwave, covered, for about 2 to 3 minutes, until the apple is starting to get tender. Meanwhile, toss the oatmeal and walnuts with the oil. Remove the apples from microwave, spread the oatmeal mixture over the top and return to the microwave. Don’t cover this time. Continue cooking another 2 to 3 minutes, until the apples are fully cooked–test with a fork.

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