When the first signs of winter first whispered through our neighborhood a week or so back, my first instinct was to grab some oats and whip up one of my favorite winter recipes: a batch of baked oatmeal. But, because I was still clinging to the excitement of autumn, I pulled out the pumpkin puree and made some peanut butter oatmeal bars instead. Now, however, I’m afraid that I can no longer fool myself into perpetuating the wonder of fall any longer. While the true end of the season is still imminent, the lack of leaves, frosted lawns, and increasingly frequent snow flurries all point to one thing: winter has arrived. And with winter, just as it was with autumn, our appetites seem to mirror the shifting climate. Coffee shops have replaced Pumpkin Spice with Peppermint Mocha, hearty stews and gingerbread no longer seem “out of season,” and apple cider quietly bows out to hot chocolate.
In the midst of these changes, our minds (and hearts) also seem to shift to a stronger sense of tradition, family, and community. As we return to this memory-rich time of holidays, it’s difficult to resist the comforting pull of nostalgia. So today we’ll be taking a look at one of my most nostalgia-laced breakfast recipes. This simply wonderful baked oatmeal recipe was one of the first meals I started making for myself when I started college five years ago. Starting the day with a slice of this oatmeal (and a strong, dark cup of coffee) could get me through even the worst of my early morning classes without fail. And, as the winter semesters turned to spring, and spring to summer, this recipe’s versatility allowed it to adapt to each season of life. While I’ll be using cranberries today for some clove-of-the-season tartness, you can easily switch in whatever ingredient (peaches, apples, chocolate chips) best fits your current harvest!
Hearty Baked Oatmeal
- 3 cups rolled oats (avoid the instant variety)
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 1 Tablespoon cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup milk (as always, I use soy, but any milk will do)
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup melted butter
- 1/4 cup applesauce
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- (Optional) 1/2-1 cup dried whole cranberries – adjust to personal preference
- (Optional) cinnamon sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 F / 175 C
- In a medium sized bowl, mix together oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt.
- Mix in milk, eggs, melted butter, applesauce, and vanilla until evenly combined. If the mixture seems too wet, don’t be afraid to add in some extra oats to absorb the excess moisture.
- Stir in cranberries, then sprinkle with cinnamon sugar for an added layer of spiced goodness!
- Spread the mixture into a 9×13″ baking dish.
- Bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes.
- Serve hot or cold – either way will steel you against the approaching winter!
As always, thanks for stopping by the dig! Be sure to stop by this Saturday for our next kitchen excavation!
Stay warm and keep digging!
- Dorm Eating: The Power of Oatmeal (healthypeoplehealthyplanet.wordpress.com)