Wednesday, January 30, 2013

My Man's Favorite Breakfast

My Man uses few words to describe food. When he loves a particular meal, really loves it, it gets four words: "That's a DO OVER." When my Guy is not so fond of a dish he says, "It wasn't my favorite."

Again, four words.

One can imagine my astonishment last year when this same Man of mine came home from a trip and spent half of his day's allotment of words describing a breakfast he'd eaten while traveling. He used words like crunchy, roasted, cream, crust, and steam. Also included in his description was the size and shape of the bowl, the sound the spoon made when it cracked through baked crust. The detail he used as he told me just how the tiniest amount heavy cream cascaded over the bowl's contents was simply poetic.

What was in that bowl?


You're let down, I know...but don't be. It's better than just oatmeal.

I have, you can bet, been on mission to replicate that perfect breakfast-- the breakfast to which my Man  would certainly compare all other breakfasts.

I'm thrilled to report that I've come very close to the lauded oatmeal concoction and I'm here to share it with you. It's the perfect breakfast for gray winter days because it warms your kitchen first thing in the morning and it warms your belly right after that.

Here goes:

Winter's Best Oatmeal
{from Annies-Eats via Super Natural Every Day}

{Printable recipe HERE}


1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1/4 cup toasted pecans
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
a pinch of salt
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 cup of milk
1 egg
2 Tablespoons melted butter, cooled
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 ripe bananas sliced into rounds
1 cup blackberries or blueberries or strawberries (any seasonal great is that?)


Preheat your oven to 375˚. Spray a 2 quart baking dish or a small casserole dish. If you choose a deep dish, you get crunch on top and lots of creamy underneath. If you choose a shallower dish, you get a higher crunch to creamy ratio. It's totally up to you.

Now, let's talk about the pecans. You can also use walnuts if that's what you've got on hand. You can also skip the nuts altogether if you aren't a nuts kind of person. I am, at times not a nuts kind of person. That is to say, I'm usually nuts, but I don't always enjoy eating nuts in my baked goods. HOWEVER...I highly recommend that you give the nuts a try in this. They kind of make it wonderful. Also you don't have to take the extra step of roasting the nuts if you are in a hurry and your kids' bus is heading down the street and all. HOWEVER...if you have time, while you are getting the rest of the ingredients out of the cabinets ROAST THOSE NUTS. It's so very worth the very easy extra step.

To toast the nuts:
Warm a skillet and place nuts in a single layer. Toss them around every few minutes until you can smell the um...nuttiness. Don't let them burn. When you smell 'em take them off the heat and when they are cooled, break them in half or into bite sized pieces. Simple as that!

For the oatmeal:{Pictured in this post is a double batch in a 9x13 pan. The directions are the same for whichever size you are making.}

In a bowl combine the oats, half of the nuts, the baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Whisk to combine.

In a separate bowl combine the milk, maple syrup*, egg, melted butter, and the vanilla. Stir well to combine.
*(You'll need the Pure Maple Syrup that comes in the smallish bottle with the biggish price tag. This is the only sweetener in this recipe and it's so much better than sugar. The pure maple syrup will last you a long time. You won't be sorry.)

Slice the bananas and place them in a single-ish layer in the bottom of the baking dish. 

 Add half of the berries to the bananas.

Then top that with the oat and nut mixture.

Now, pour the milk and egg mixture gently over the top of the dry mixture distributing it as evenly as possible.

Sprinkle the rest of the berries and nuts over the top...

...and bake for 30-35 minutes until the top has browned and the oatmeal is set.

Serve with milk or if you're feeling especially indulgent, with a little warmed heavy cream (just about 3 tablespoons will do). If you decide to go ahead and prepare a double batch, just keep the leftovers in a sealed container and reheat in the microwave. 

We make this often with blueberries and have used chopped apples in place of the berries with good results as well.

Honestly, it's a wonderful way to begin the day!!


Janet and Ken said...

We love oatmeal and this sounds wonderful. Thanks for sharing.

Gretchen said...

You are so welcome! Cole saw the recipe laying out last night and hoped I was making it this morning. "Are you making some for tomorrow or just blogging it?" Poor kid...we're out of bananas! Whodda thought! Ha! Hope you love it! Love you guys!

Sudeana said...

Needed something warm for heart and belly this morning. Knew just where to go, thanks. It's in the oven now.

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