The last time we visited my daughter in Indianapolis, we went to an apple orchard for a hay ride. Tuttle's Orchard sells the BEST apple cider I've ever tasted. I hit on the idea of replacing water with cider when making cooked cereals, and it was a big hit. Be sure to use a great-tasting, fresh, all natural cider for this oatmeal, if at all possible.
1Combine oats, cider, and salt in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium high heat until the mixture comes to a boil, stirring while heating. Lower heat, cover, and just simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until the oats are as soft as you like them.
2During the last 3 minutes of cooking, stir in the dried cranberries. When done, remove from heat, and stir in nuts if desired.
3Cooked with the apple cider, this oatmeal is sweet enough for me without adding sugar or honey. But if you like, sprinkle each serving with cinnamon sugar.
4VARIATION: This can also be made cold. The night before, mix all ingredients in a large mixing bowl, cover tightly, and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, stir well and spoon it into individual serving dishes. It can be eaten cold, or gently warmed in the microwave.