Blissin’ out on Baked Oatmal

We’re hurdling toward the end of autumn.  I’m waist-deep in my new schooling, a couple of part-time jobs, and the joys of being a new wife. There aren’t many mornings when I’ve got time to concoct more than a couple fried eggs or a bowl of jam-swirled yogurt for breakfast.  Gone are the summer days when I would rise without an alarm clock, wander into the kitchen and get creative with my day’s first meal.   My camera is filled with photos of breakfasts past: French toast topped with smashed raspberries and basil, buckwheat waffles with sloppy strawberries sunk down in their squares, and cinnamon swirled baked oatmeal…

Oh, the baked oatmeal.

It’s the breakfast that keeps on giving.  You enjoy it once, arguably at its best right from the oven, and then it tamely sits in your fridge and offers itself as an after workout snack, a midnight treat, or an on-the-fly breakfast throughout the week.

Make it on Sunday evening, when it starts to get dark way too early.  It’s just the right time for comforting wafts of vanilla and cinnamon to rush to in and let you know that you’ll make it through another week.  That the holidays will be delightful, not stressful.  That shorter days mean longer nights to cuddle with loved ones and sip spiked eggnog and watch Office reruns. That sounds about right.

As I mention below, any kind of fruit will work in this forgiving dish.  Just make sure if you’re using frozen berries that you let them thaw (or microwave them if you’re impatient like me), and then drain off some of the juice.  Pear and apple would be really nice right around this time.  You could also dream of the tropics while tossing in pineapple chunks and dried mango.  Happy weekend!

Baked Oatmeal

Prep: 20 min     Bake time: 35-40 min

Serves 8- 10… or 1 or 2 for a week or so

Dry ingredients

2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

½ cup raw pecans, roughly chopped

½ cup raw walnuts, roughly chopped

1 tsp aluminum-free baking powder

¼ tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp nutmeg

¼ cup raw cane sugar

¼ cup dried unsweetened shredded coconut

Wet ingredients:

1 ½ cups milk, any variety

½ cup whole milk yogurt

1 cage-free egg

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 ½ tbsp butter or coconut oil, melted

¼ cup maple syrup

Mix-ins and Toppings

2 bananas, sliced crosswise into ¼ in thick rounds

3/4 cup fruit of choice – I used frozen blue, black, and raspberries

Flax and/or sunflower seeds and more dried coconut for sprinkling

1 ½ tbsp more butter or coconut oil, melted

Method

Preheat the oven to 375°F with a rack in the top third of the oven. Generously butter or coconut oil the inside of an 8-inch square glass baking dish.

In a medium bowl, mix together the dry ingredients.

In another medium bowl, thoroughly whisk together the wet ingredients.

Line the bottom of the greased baking dish with banana slices. Top bananas with ½ cup of the fruit.

Pour the dry ingredients over the fruit, and then slowly drizzle the wet ingredients over the dry ones.

Smack the dish on each side a few times so milk mixture seeps down to the bottom and gets in all the oat-y crannies.

Scatter remaining fruit on top, then sprinkle with flax seeds, sunflower seeds and coconut.  For an extra sparkle, finish with a few pinches of coarse sugar.

Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until the top is gorgeously golden and the oatmeal has set. Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes. Drizzle the remaining melted butter on the top and serve with a side of additional maple syrup and milk.