The Tragic Optimist

comfort food

Comfort food for me is not so much about something I ate growing up, but more something that’s warm, soothing, and above all, quick and easy to make when I need it.

This week, I’ve indulged in two of my favorites: warm apples, and cinnamon-spiced oatmeal.  Perfect for the cool autumn weather, and definitely helps with this stupid lingering cough that comes with the beginning of the school year.

Warm apples:
this is kind of like eating apple pie filling.  And there’s nothing wrong with that.

  1. Take 1-2 apples and cut into bite-sized chunks.  I leave the skin on.  You could take the time to peel the apples, but that’s time better spent curled up on the couch eating the apples.  Plus the peel actually takes on a nice bit of texture.
  2. Put those chunks into a microwave safe bowl
  3. Add a teaspoon or so of vanilla.  A generous amount of cinnamon.  Some cardamom.  Maybe a sprinkle of cloves or nutmeg or ginger if you’d wish.  You can also add amaretto.  That’s not a bad thing.
  4. Microwave for 2 minutes, or until the apples are soft.
  5. Eat with a spoon.
  6. If you’re feeling indulgent, add a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  And eat with a spoon.

Cinnamon-spiced oatmeal
you may notice a common set of flavors between these two comfort foods.  I guess I just find these flavors really comforting

  1. Take 1/3 cup of old fashioned oats and 2/3 cup of water and put it in a large-ish microwave safe bowl.
  2. Add a dash of salt, around a teaspoon of vanilla, some cinnamon and cardamom.
  3. If you’d like, add some raisins or dried fruit.  I love Trader Joe’s dried berry blend, I think it has raisins, cranberries, cherries, and blueberries.
  4. Microwave for 3 minutes, watching closely because sometimes it boils over.  If it starts to boil over, take it out and stir it a bit, then put it back in until it boils again.  If you don’t pay attention, it WILL boil and make a mess.  That is just how the world works.
  5. Add milk and maple syrup to taste.
  6. Eat with a spoon.


  1. Laura

    If you want to avoid the boiling over problem, just microwave it on half power for twice as long. Much less effort required.

  2. I had cinnamon oatmeal this morning. 🙂 But mine was from a packet b/c I’ve been rather lethargic lately. But yours sounds tastier, so I might try it tomorrow. 🙂 I always have that problem with exploding oatmeal too.

  3. MMmmmmm….yummy…your warm apples and cinnamon oatmeal reminds me of my favorite fall food: apple crisp…all the tastiness of pie, oatmeal, and brown sugar in a few sinful bites 🙂 Now if only I hadn’t used all my apples to make apple chutney I might have some apples left over to make some crisp….

  4. Your comfort foods are WAY more healthy than my staple or peanut butter and jelly quesadillas.

    (No really. Spread peanut butter & jelly down the middle of a tortilla, roll it up, and microwave for about 30 seconds. You will thank me later.)

  5. Oh, I do peanut butter and jelly tortillas all the time, though I warm the tortilla first, then spread the pb&j. Zoe loves them! Even better though, sprinkle some semisweet chocolate chips on a tortilla, warm it in the microwave for 30 seconds until the chips get soft, and roll it up and try not to get gooey chocolate all over yourself while you eat it.

  6. Oh my goodness, that sounds delicious. You are quite the domestic diva. I still haven’t made applesauce nor have I found that apple butter recipe I told you about.

    Enjoy some yummy oatmeal for me!

  7. those apples sounds wonderful!! have to give it a try 🙂

  8. Kacia

    My comfort oatmeal involves making it with apple cider instead of water. It adds the best bit of fruity sweetness! (Then of course, cinnamon and raisins and sometimes a bit of vanilla.) Given that you posted those two recipes together, I think you might rather enjoy apple-cider oatmeal!

    And you’re totally right about that set of flavors being comforting. Definitely.

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