For someone who considers breakfast to be her favourite meal you’d think I would change things up every once in a while, instead of eating the same old oatmeal or fruit/granola combo day in and day out. I guess I’m just a creature of habit. Even on weekends when I have the free time to make an amazing breakfast I always lean towards my good old reliable bowl of quick oats and almond butter. Well folks, last weekend I finally said enough is enough and actually made something that takes longer then 5 minutes, and that magical breakfast concoction was Baked Oats! ‘Ah, Maggie, isn’t baked oats just the same damn thing you eat everyday but in baked form?’ Ok, ok, I know I wasn’t really thinking outside the box here but I’m going to need baby steps to break out of this breakfast rut I’ve gotten myself into, so bear with me.
Warm, satisfying and filling, baked oatmeal is a nice change from the gloopy variety. This recipe is full of apple, nuts and dried fruit and is seasoned with a chai like blend of spices. It takes no time at all to mix up, then you just pop it in the oven and wait impatiently as the delicious aroma of the oats and spices waft through the room, nothing like being tortured by yummy smells when you’re hungry and are still suffering from early morning crankiness.
I like to have toppings ready to go for the minute the timer goes off and I can take it out of the oven. Strawberries seem to be popping up in stores again and ever since I spotted them I’ve been destroying pint after pint of those suckers like they’re some form of delicious crack! This past week my baked oatmeal has been topped with almond butter, strawberries and a little warm almond milk but you can top yours with whatever you’re craving that day, nut butters, dried or fresh fruit, chopped nuts, brown sugar, a drizzle of maple syrup, all these things would make for some stellar toppings. On top of all the tastiness, this makes for a healthy breakfast too, full of fibre, calcium, magnesium and a bit of protein thrown in, you can use your own homemade milk or use a fortified milk to up the nutrients. Doing sugar-free? Just leave it out, or you can add in a bit of stevia in its place, this recipe can be as adaptable as you’d like, so mess around with it and make it your own.
BASIC BAKED OATMEAL
- 2 cups rolled oats (not instant)
- 2 cups unsweetened non-dairy milk
- 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1/3 cup shredded unsweetened coconut, toasted
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds or ground flax seed
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 cup toasted almonds, roughly chopped (or substitute another nut)
- 1/4 cup dried fruit (cranberries, raisins, cherries, dates, etc.)
- 2 small or 1 large sweet apple, unpeeled and chopped (gala, macintosh, pink lady, etc.)
- 3-4 tablespoons maple syrup
- Preheat oven to 400. Coat a 3 quart casserole dish or baking pan with cooking spray.
- Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. If you are preparing this the night before, wait until the morning to add the liquid ingredients. Mix wet with dry and place mixture in the prepared casserole dish. Bake uncovered for 45 minutes or until the top begins to brown. Eat as is or top with yogurt, nut butter, maple syrup, or whatever else you can think of.