Of all the meals in a day (counting snacks and that bizarre meal eaten while watching a late-night movie that no one has seemed to have given a name…), I have the most trouble with breakfast. It’s a typical love/hate relationship, I know the popular opinion seems to be that it is the most important meal of the day, but how fair is it to hang so much on a meal most of us probably prepare and eat while half asleep? I don’t know about you, but when *I* wake up, my hair – left to its own devices all night – appears to be on the warpath with anything and everything in sight. Am I honestly expected to make a decent omelet under those circumstances? Omelets seem like something that should be taken rather seriously and I can’t take anything seriously while looking like I am wearing a poorly designed circus clown wig.
My inner breakfast conflict has often tempted me to skip the meal entirely, immediately attack my ‘to-do’ list and eagerly wait for lunch. This is *never* a good idea, I repeat, it’s a *bad* idea. The uncomfortable truth is that I need breakfast. My husband needs breakfast. My blood-thirsty hair needs breakfast (just kidding, my hair needs a retired lion tamer).
What’s a person to do?
Meet the meal that changed my mind about breakfast, in fact, it wouldn’t be going too far to say that it changed my whole life – at breakfast.
I found a recipe for Baked Oatmeal. Baked oatmeal is a revelation waiting to happen to *your* mornings, just as it happened to mine.
It’s the perfect breakfast food, being wicked healthy for you (full of fiber and protein while low in sugar and fat) tasty as all get-out, and easy – I mean ‘pre-coffee’ easy, taking only about five minutes to throw together and 20 minutes to bake. Mix it up, throw it in the oven and then hit the showers – it’s ready when you are. How convenient is that? You can bake your oatmeal the night before and have it for the next morning, or you can *freeze* your baked oatmeal in individual portions and with a few minutes of defrosting, have a convenient meal *almost* at the snap of your fingers. Exciting, isn’t it?
Baked Oatmeal (Basic Recipe)
2 eggs, beaten or 3 egg whites
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup apple sauce
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup milk
While your oven is heating up to 375 degrees, mix together the eggs, oil, apple sauce, sugar and vanilla in a bowl. When these things are well blended, add the cinnamon, rolled oats, baking powder and milk.
Pour into an 8 inch square baking dish and then slide it on in the oven. This will bakc for 20 minutes or so. To check it, stick it with a toothpick or thin-bladed knife and if it comes out clean – you have yourself some baked oatmeal!
Now, as I mentioned before, this is the basic recipe, which, while tasting fine, can seem a little dull. The awesome part about this meal is that the variations are endless. I personally like to substitute 1/4 cup of pure Vermont maple syrup for the brown sugar, add 2 Tablespoons of flax seeds and 1/4 cup of craisins or raisins. Yum.
How about skipping the cinnamon and adding a 1/4 cup of chocolate chips? That there’s the best of breakfast *and* dessert. Speaking of which, serve it warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and you have instant deliciousness. Brilliant!
I send a square off with my husband as a mid-afternoon snack, and pack one in my own bag to stave away the 3:00 munchies while I’m at work. Breakfast, snack, dessert – is there anything baked oatmeal *can’t* do? I think not. If we thought about it hard enough, I bet we could come up with a way to make it a satisfactory dinner food, too.
So give baked oatmeal a chance, give your mornings a chance – it might just changed you!