What smell will fill your house on Easter morning?
Between hunting for eggs (we hide…ahem, I mean, the Easter Bunny hides…the real hard-boiled eggs), getting dressed up pretty, and going to Mass and making sure we get there an hour early to get a seat, breakfast needs to be simple.
One of our favorite breakfasts ever (other than anything with bacon, a rarer treat now than it used to be when we ate a Standard American Diet with $1.88/lb. junk bacon!) has got to be soaked baked oatmeal. It takes two full days to make it, but mom loves it too because the morning it needs to be served, it just goes into the oven and takes zero prep.
Come to think of it, that’s probably why my family loves it so much – mommy is never running around stressed in her pajamas wondering when she’ll have time to get dressed between the pancake flipping and lunch packing and diaper changing! (To the organized people who are about to comment on the efficiency of packing a lunch the night before – I know. I usually do, but there are those days when the goal is missed…and then I just pray that the baby doesn’t wake up until breakfast is served!)
All the props for this base recipe go to Kelly the Kitchen Kop and her friend Sue, whose daughter was actually my mother’s helper last year. I’m telling you – this is a real food recipe that anyone loves and can make. My brother and his wife even prepare it for dinner sometimes.
Soaking oatmeal is a simple procedure, and when it’s incorporated right into the recipe like this, folks won’t even wonder why they’re doing it – they’ll just get more minerals without even knowing why.
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Come to think of it, I should give oatmeal to the food pantries, along with some easy soaking guides or at least a “how to cook oats” for those who have never done it without a packet. (Did you see yesterday’s Monday Mission to give real food away, and the handy real food donation printables I provided?)
- 2½ c. whole rolled oats (not quick or instant)
- ¼ c. whole wheat or buckwheat flour (optional)
- 1¾ c. liquid*
- ½ c. melted coconut oil (or butter)
- 4 whole eggs
- ½ c. sweetener**
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- ½ tsp. salt
- 2-3 tsp. cinnamon
- 1-2 tsp. vanilla
- 1 c. raisins
- 2 c. chopped apples or pears, with or without the skin, OR
- 1 c. natural unsweetened applesauce
- Two nights before you want to eat baked oatmeal at breakfast: Mix the oats, flour, and liquid together. If you have a 9×13 glass pan with a lid, I recommend mixing the oats right in there to save a dish. Allow to rest at room temperature, covered, for 24 hours.
- The night before you need the quick breakfast: Beat oil, sweetener and eggs until glossy (I use my KitchenAid mixer). The cold eggs generally made the coconut oil solidify a bit, but don’t worry about it. Just beat.
- Add the baking powder, salt, cinnamon and vanilla. Beat in the oats mixture, then add raisins and fruit, stirring to combine.
- Pour back into that 9×13 glass dish, put a lid on it, and refrigerate overnight. If you don’t have a lid, try one of these methods to avoid using plastic wrap.
- In the morning, put the pan (uncovered) right from the fridge into a cold oven and turn on to 350F. Bake for 30-40 minutes until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean and the oatmeal is not mushy to the touch.
- Serve warm with milk and extra syrup if you prefer. Store covered, either at room temperature or in the refrigerator. It’s pretty doggone good cold, too…I might be the type of person to buzz by a dish and snitch a bite here and there throughout the day!
- *For the liquid, choose from buttermilk, plain homemade yogurt (or store bought), raw milk, half milk/half yogurt, half water/yogurt, half whey/yogurt – good if you have whey to use up. If you don’t have raw milk, as long you mix it with half yogurt or cultured dairy, it should be fine for the soak overnight, but don’t use 100% pasteurized milk as the only liquid.
- **For the sweetener, just about anything goes, including cutting it in half or more, since you can always add maple syrup to the top when you serve the dish if it turns out a bit not-sweet-enough. I prefer maple syrup or honey, but I’ve used sorghum, sucanat, brown sugar and date sugar and various combinations of the above.
- Why add flour? Freshly ground whole wheat, spelt, and buckwheat are added to oats for soaking purposes and phytase only. If you’re not soaking, skip the flour.
- How to make it faster: Just soak the oats overnight or for 24 hours (breakfast to breakfast) and mix up all the other ingredients in the morning when you’re going to serve it. The overnight refrigeration is not necessary; it’s only for the morning convenience of having everything done.
- How to make it with fewer dishes: Honestly, I’ve taken to mixing everything up in the 9×13 dish. How lazy is that? But no one has noticed any difference in the end result, so I highly recommend it. Just mix up the oats and liquid, then the next day, push that to one side and whisk the eggs, oil and sweetener on the other half of the pan. Start mixing everything up well at this point (a potato masher or super strong whisk may come in handy to incorporate everything well. Make sure you sprinkle things like salt and baking powder evenly over the whole mixture.
- Plan to Eat can help the real foodie plan out all this prep – each time you drag your baked oatmeal to your weekly menu, just drag the “soak oats” and “put dish together” icons that you’ve created one and two days before the oatmeal breakfast target. (To make those possible, just create a new recipes called “soak oats” with nothing in it – or maybe a reminder of how much whey (1 Tbs. per cup) and how much flour (10%, so about a generous Tbs. per cup will do) to help you if you forget. I also have them for “soak beans” and “thaw meat.”) Plan to Eat has a 30-day free trial if you want to take it for a spin!
Variation: Cherry Almond Baked Oatmeal
I’ve been experimenting lately with different flavors, and this is the ultimate favorite (so far) for both my husband and me.
2 1/2 c. whole rolled oats (not quick or instant)
1/4 c. whole wheat or buckwheat flour (optional)
1 3/4 c. liquid
1/2 c. melted coconut oil (or butter)
4 whole eggs
1/2 c. sweetener (I used maple syrup, but honey is probably even better)
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3+ tsp. cinnamon
1-2 tsp. almond extract
1 c. dried cherries
optional: 1/2-1 cup chopped or slivered almonds
Follow the same directions as above.
Coming in the fall…soaked pumpkin pie baked oatmeal!!