My Kinda Oatmeal

When I was young we would spend the summers in Pakistan with my grandparents. My grandmother – well intentioned soul – would make us eat ‘porridge’. My memories of it may be skewed by the fact that I was a kid and by definition not open to anything new, but I remember it being a soupy gluey somewhat sweet mess. By the way, attempting to pour the oatmeal down the drain is not a good idea especially in a house full of people. Getting caught is far from pleasant.

The memory of that porridge/oatmeal stuck  with me for a long time and even while I was in college at good ol’ Washington and Lee I did not touch the stuff. Now years later, being the responsible role model of a mom that I am (laughing as I type this), I have gotten over that and try to eat oatmeal on a somewhat regular basis.

This variation of it though is by far my favorite for obvious reasons. For one, who doesn’t like to have cake for breakfast? For another it is just so good and in a happy coincidence good for you as well. Lastly – and this is a big deal for me – all I need to make it is one bowl, one measuring cup and a spatula.

These days it is not in heavy rotation here, but when it is I dial back the butter by a tablespoon and cut the brown sugar down to 1/3 of a cup. The original recipe is from Joy the Baker and can be found here. I have made only one real change. Since Zara usually eats this and I often make it in mini muffin tins I find that using quick oats along with rolled oats helps it stay together. I also don’t mix anything into it – the original recipe calls for dried cranberries – but instead top it with whatever is handy. Oh and cinnamon and I are friends, but not best friends so I usually put closer to half a teaspoon. Feel free to put a whole teaspoon 🙂

Baked Oatmeal

1 cup quick cooking oats
1/2 cups old fashioned oats
1/2 cup brown sugar, I prefer dark in this recipe
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cardamom (optional, but I usually throw it in because I love it)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk (any fat content will do)
1/4 cup melted butter
1 large egg
splash of vanilla or maple extract

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

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In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the oats, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder and salt.  Use your trusted measuring cup to melt the butter and once it cools a little then add half a cup worth of milk, your extract of choice and an egg. Beat it all till well combined, no one wants bits of egg in their oatmeal. Especially your two year old who may look at you like you are a failure. So yeah, let’s not be sloppy.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir to incorporate.

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Pour mixture into a lightly greased 9-inch pie pan.  Place in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, until lightly firm to the touch and no wiggle remains.

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Remove from the oven, let cool for 5 minutes then spoon into serving bowls.  Top with milk, fresh fruit and nuts and serve.

If the little girl who requested it for breakfast eats about a spoon of it and chooses to devour said fruits and nuts instead then be cool about it. Remember – that means there is more for you – heh heh heh.

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