Recipe: Super Baked Oatmeal

For starters, it’s not the most photogenic food.

baked oatmeal in a glass baking dish

But I’m not going to apologize, because this super baked oatmeal is KK’s new favorite breakfast.

She likes it because it’s healthful and keeps her full until lunch time.

I like it because:

  • I can make our breakfasts for the week in about 15 minutes.
  • It’s gluten free (when you use gf oats, etc)
  • It’s customizable enough that I can change the flavor profile and not feel like we’re eating the same thing week after week.
  • It’s forgiving enough that I only actually measure out the oats and the milk. Everything else gets eyeballed.
  • It’s got all the goodness of oatmeal, without the pot or bowls to sandblast clean every day.

Super Baked Oatmeal

Adapted from a recipe in Cooking Light
Yields: 10 generous servings, enough for 2 people to enjoy every weekday

Ingredients

4 cups uncooked gluten-free oats (old-fashioned and quick cooking work equally well)
1 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup raisins
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped and toasted
1/2 cup coconut flakes (sweetened or not)
2 teaspoon baking powder
3 cups milk
1 cup applesauce
1/4 cup canola oil
2 large eggs
optional: 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, OR apple pie spice

Preheat oven to 375º. Coat a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray.

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Stir well. Bake at 375° for 50 minutes.

To serve warm: Top it with butter, margarine, heavy cream, cream cheese, greek yogurt, maple syrup, or honey.

To serve later: It’s easier to slice after it’s been in the refrigerator. Reheat individual servings in the microwave for 60 to 90 seconds.

To customize:

  • Make a 4 or 5 serving size by halving all the ingredients and cook it in an 8×8 pan (or an 8- or 9-inch cake pan — like I said, it’s forgiving) for about 35 minutes
  • Instead of raisins, try any dried fruits, like cranberries, dates, currants, or berries.
  • Instead of dried fruits, try fresh blueberries or chopped bananas.
  • And while I personally don’t like chocolate chips with oats, I won’t tell the breakfast police if you throw some in there.
  • Instead of walnuts, try pecans, cashews, or mixed nuts. Or go no-nuts, and just add extra fruit or your favorite seeds.
  • Instead of milk, try substituting your favorite milk-alternative — I bet it would work fine.

You can probably also sub out the sugar, oil, and eggs, too. Let us know in the comments if you try something else that works!

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File under “God Bless America”

 

 

It really cheers me to to know that no matter how bad things may get, there are ways to keep doing bad things.

Like with this Posey Smoker’s Apron, designed “for individuals who smoke and require a protective cover to shield against hot ashes and dropped cigarettes.”  The “wipe clean, silicone coated fiberglass fabric” will protect your outsides while you poison your insides. Available in navy blue or light gray.

Pumpkin Carving? More like getting stabbed in the heart.

 

I haven’t slowed down long enough to post about it, but we enjoyed the annual SuperPals pumpkin carving party on the 20th! Along with delicious barbecue and great company, we all carved pumpkins on the front porch as the sun went down. I forgot to take a picture of the deviled eggs I brought, but they were a version of these.

Source: foodista.com via EJ on Pinterest

 

The real pumpkins didn’t turn out too badly, either:

Despite a dry and mild weather week, these pumpkins didn’t even last a week. Here they are Thursday after, what, 6 days?

I’m giving up on the intricate details. Next year I’ll just carve the outline of an icecap, so at least when it sinks in, it’ll look like it’s SUPPOSED to be melting.

What I Did Last Monday

My sister LA, KK, and I saw Patty Griffin!

It was her first solo tour in 12 years, I think they said. She was in fine form and sounded great. I was relieved to see that she was way more engaging and talkative than when we saw her with the band a few years ago.

The show nearest us sold out before I knew it existed, so we got tickets to the show the night after, at the Melting Point in Athens. It was a rocking whirlwind trip that made me feel young again…and then not. It’s been years since I drove more than an hour to see a show, and how daring to do it on a weeknight!

But.

But even with the drive, we were home by 11:30.

But it was a cool venue that we’ll be watching to visit again.

We even discovered an excellent mexican place for dinner before. Fajitas with steak, bacon, and ham? I’d be too embarrassed to order those at home, where the same wait staff could judge us every few weeks (desgraciada puta…). But 60 miles away? Bring. It. On.

Set list

If I Had My Way
Long Ride Home
House of Gold
Stay on the Ride
Faithful Son (a new song from forthcoming album, which will be called American Kid – no drop date yet)
“God is a wild old dog” (also from American Kid, and a perfect contender for my Dog Songs that will Make You Cry playlist) (Yes, I have one, and goddamn, are they sad.)
Get Ready, Marie (“a sexy song about my grandparents” that I hope is on the next album!)
Poor Man’s House
Railroad Wings
Flaming Red
Chief
Little God (only got through the first line when audience laughed. tried twice, gave up laughing, big applause for being a good sport)
Top of the World
“You can go wherever you want to go” (song from American Kid written after a good dream of her dad)
No Bad News
Mary

Encore:
Getting Ready
Heavenly Day
I’m Gonna Miss You When You’re Gone

Fast Lane? I’ll take the Easy Lane

If you’re a secret self-help junkie like me, you might enjoy this pdf worksheet from Danielle LaPorte to help you find out what your life could be like if you only did what was easy.

As I mentioned in my last post, it took a disruptive and disabling brain lesion last year to force me to let go of the needlessly white-knuckled grip I had on life’s reins. When normal things became impossible, and even previously easy things became hard to do, I developed a new appreciation for doing things the easiest way or, at least, the most meaningful way. And often, of not doing them at all.

Ode to my new grill

On Special Features

After cleaning it, replacing the ignition, and installing a set of the correct-sized Flavorizer bars, I thought I’d gotten completely familiar with my new grill’s features and operation. But the first time I turned it on and loaded it up, I discovered a feature not mentioned in the manual. I can’t find it listed in any of the diagrams, but it must be there somewhere.

Gotten up to temp, there is a device in the top of the grill that causes it to emanate Waves of Awesome while you cook. KK says they’re just the visual manifestation of the unstable heated air refracting light when it hits the cooler air above the grill. But she was an English major, too, and I feel pretty confident in my Waves of Awesome observation.

On Inadequacy

Grill marks, like a cartoon hamburger. My food never had grill marks. I wanted them — otherwise, why not just bake it? I read all the books and watched the shows and tried everything:

  • oiling the food
  • not oiling the food
  • oiling the grates
  • not oiling the grates
  • preheating for two and three times as long as recommended
  • flipping food only onto virgin grate areas

But it never really worked, until I got my new grill.

It has cast iron grates instead of narrow stainless steel or flimsy enameled something-or-other ones. And these cast iron grates heat up and put cartoon grill marks on my food, and it doesn’t matter if I oil or not, or preheat more than 10 minutes, or flip it to any zip code or another. It’s just an essential function of this grill. This whole time, these last 8+ years, I assumed it was an essential dysfunction of my very self that I couldn’t make the grill marks. And the whole time, it wasn’t my job — it was the grill’s.

It’s like when I grew up thinking I could not make rice correctly. It used to dog me  I can make all kinds of lovely, complicated creations, but the rice was always too soggy, too sticky, too scorchy. Sometimes all three at once — how is that even possible? Rice is little more than boiling water and waiting, to hear anybody else tell it.

I read all the books, asked all the grandmothers, and still threw away half-pots of really shitty rice. For years! I was lucky to find Diana Shaw’s baked method in Almost Vegetarian Entertaining, which helped a lot, but there was still a core of secret shame in my kitchen confidence.

And then we rented a house about four years ago, and this house had a gas stove. I had only ever had electric at home, and in the dorms, and in my apartments. And the first time I made rice in the new house, I decided to “just try” it on the stovetop. And it turned out beautiful. Perfect fluffy fluffles of ricey rice, like something from a magazine on perfect rice.

IT WASN’T ME.

I had done everything right all along, and malicious forces beyond my control were the only things keeping me down. The relief and discovery I felt was not entirely unlike finding the grace of authentic validation after being submerged in an abusive situation.

On Things

Things. I know I get really excited about Things, especially presents and good thrift finds. Really excited. Probably venally materialistic. Distastefully privileged. I know. My primary love language is Receiving Gifts. I would change it to something more magnanimous if I could.

But I can’t.

And I know only love and herpes are forever, and that these Things that excite me so much in the short term are mere short term things. They will not comfort me on my death bed, and they will not be my ticket to any particularly appealing afterlife, were such a thing to exist. It will be the relationships with people and animals and abstract nouns, ironically, that pave the way for anything resembling a legacy.

It’s the things we give away, somebody wise and/or famous probably once said, and not the things we acquire which mean the most. I have no quibble with that generous soul. I’d love a taste of his/her sky pie.

And deep down, I think s/he is right…because I have some awesome Things you might like to have, and if I gave them to you, I would have room for newer, evenmoreaweome stuff.