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Baked Oatmeal

I don’t often eat breakfast, but I really enjoy this baked oatmeal dish. Today I used frozen lingonberries, but any kind of fresh or frozen berry should work fine. The dish keeps in the refrigerator for several days and reheats nicely in the microwave. This recipe makes 6-8 servings, so I like using several small baking dishes and then saving the unused portions in the refrigerator until someone gets hungry enough to pull one out and eat it.

The recipe is based upon one I found on Epicurious, April 2011 by Heidi Swanson – Super Natural Every Day.

While preheating the oven to 375 degrees, chop 1/2 cup walnuts and place on a oven-proof dish to toast. I put them on a dessert plate, but a pie tin works well too. Shake or stir the walnuts around occasionally as the oven continues to heat up. Remove from oven once walnuts are a light brown color.

Mix together: 2 cups rolled oats, 1/3 cup sugar (or maple syrup-if using, add later with wet ingredients), 1 tsp. baking powder, 1-1/2 tsp. cinnamon, scant 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/2 of the toasted walnuts. In a separate bowl (I use a 4-cup liquid measuring cup so I can easily pour the mix into the baking dishes) whisk together 1/3 cup maple syrup (if using), 2 cups milk, 1 egg, 1-1/2 Tbsp. melted butter, and 2 tsp. vanilla extract.

Arrange 2 bananas in a single layer in the bottom of a buttered 8″ baking dish. [Note: I used three small baking dishes.] Sprinkle 1 cup berries over the bananas.

Picture of my third dish baking dish.

Cover the fruit with the oat mixture. Then slowly drizzle milk mixture over the oats. Tap the baking dish on the countertop to make sure the milk moves through the oat mixture. Scatter 1/2 cup more berries and toasted walnuts across the top.

Bake at 375 degrees for 35-45 minutes, until the top is nicely golden and the oat mixture has set. Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes. Serve with a little milk or other favorite oatmeal topping.

Oat Pancakes

My kids are home from college and they’ve brought friends with them. The friends are from Sweden. We talked about the use of airplanes instead of cars in Alaska and I pulled out the Alaska maps so they could get oriented. I pointed out Nome where I was born and Naknek where I graduated high school. One girl asked if all the food was flown to Nome. They use barges for the most part, I said. When I was a young child, my mother placed her food order for the year and she got very excited when the ice moved out so the barge could come in. At this point of the conversation with the Swedes my youngest daughter started laughing. My pantry could probably feed a family for several months. I’m not a survivalist or preparing for the apocalypse, it’s just the “waiting for the barge” mentality. I have never been able to shake the food stockpile habit. My daughter laughed because her friends would come over to bake cookies or what not and they would decide to double or triple the recipe and her friends would say, “We’ll have to go to the store if we do that.” And my daughter would reply, “No, it’s no problem. Look,” and off to the pantry room they would go, to look at pounds of chocolate chips and boxes of graham crackers and cases of sweetened condensed milk. It’s not normal in this city. You can take the girl out of the Bush, but you can’t take the Bush out of the girl. That’s what I always say.

So, I am cooking for a crowd of about ten people now. This morning I made Oat Pancakes. Please note that this must be started the night before, so planning is involved.

The night before, combine 2 cups rolled oats and 2 cups buttermilk. Cover and let stand in refrigerator overnight.

In a medium bowl stir together 1/2 cup flour, 2 Tbsp. sugar, 1 tsp. baking powder, 1 tsp. baking soda, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 1/3 tsp. salt. I do this part the night before as well. That way when I wake up there are only a few steps remaining.

The next morning beat 2 eggs and melt 4 Tbsp (1/2 stick) butter. Stir into oat mixture just until blended.

Stir in dry ingredients, just until moistened. If the batter seems too thick, add a tablespoon or two of buttermilk to thin it out.

Lightly grease griddle. I spray mine with canola oil. Spoon batter, about 1/3 cup for each pancake, onto griddle, and spread out to make circles about 4 inches in diameter.

These pancakes cannot be hurried. There is a tendency to not cook in the middle if you try to use high heat and hurry things along. No more than medium heat should be used. It does take time. When they begin to look dry around the edges and bubbles form throughout, then flip them over.

Oat Pancakes

2 cups rolled oats

2 cups buttermilk

2 eggs

4 Tbsp. melted butter

1/2 cup flour

2 Tbsp. sugar

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. salt

In a large bowl, combine oats and buttermilk. Cover and let stand in refrigerator overnight.

The next day, beat eggs and add to oat mixture, along with butter. Stir together just until blended. In a medium bowl stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt; add to oat mixture and stir just until moistened. If batter seems too thick, add more buttermilk (up to 3 Tablespoons).

Preheat a griddle or wide frying pan over medium heat; grease lightly. Spoon batter, about 1/3 cup for each pancake, onto griddle, and spread out to make circles about 4 inches in diameter. Cook until tops are bubbly and appear dry; turn and cook until other sides are browned. Makes about 1-1/2 dozen pancakes.

Granola

At my house granola has been a work in progress. The whole family really likes granola. It’s easy to make. The availability of parchment paper has made it easier still. Most of the ingredients I purchase in bulk at the natural foods section of the grocery store. I’ve spent the last couple years experimenting with various recipes. I used one recipe consistently that called for honey and had little oil. It seemed more healthy. Then last summer my friend Kate gave me a recipe that was like candy and I was cured of trying to be healthy. The granola was a little unwieldy because it stuck together in a glob. This did not detract from the taste whatsoever and no one cares how much trouble it is if they’re not the ones making it. The real problem with granola is that my family members eat it so quickly that I have to make it a couple times a week and it becomes a chore. And that’s using double batches. Sigh.

I’ve found a new recipe to try. It’s based on Best Ever Granola at Alexandra’s Kitchen. She makes candied nuts and adds them, with dried fruit, to the granola at the end. Oh, my. Two of my kids are coming home from college soon. They are bringing several visitors from Sweden. I need to stock up on food, like granola, so here goes. I’m going to give you the doubled recipe. I just don’t know how normal people can make four cups of granola and call it good. Go big or go home.

First, make the candied nuts.

Candied Nuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare two rimmed baking sheets by covering with parchment paper. Don’t trim the paper too close, make sure to leave enough along the edges to grasp with your fingers.

Prepare the pans with parchment paper.

In a medium saucepan stir together 2/3 cup sugar, 1/2 cup water, 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. cinnamon. Bring to a boil.

Make a syrup.

Stir in 3 cups raw whole cashews and 3 cups raw whole almonds. Let simmer one minute.

Stir in nuts.

Remove from pan with a slotted spoon and distribute across the prepared pans.

Resist the temptation to pour the leftover syrup onto the pans because it will burn. (I was really, really tempted. Note to self here . . . next time, after pulling out the nuts, sprinkle a little cayenne into the leftover syrup and dredge pecans through it, then bake the pecans, and use for a different purpose, like spinach salad. I think it would work and would taste amazing. I digress.)

Spread nuts on paper and place into 350 degree oven for 15 minutes.

Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and stir around. You’ll need to hold the parchment paper between your fingers so that it doesn’t slide off the pan onto the floor while you’re stirring. The pan is hot, of course, but the paper you should be able to grip. Put the pans back in the oven for another five minutes or so. Keep a good eye on it and remove when the nuts turn golden.

Bake until golden.

Let them cool on the pans for a little while, then transfer to a bowl. Do not throw away the paper, set it back on the pans.

Granola

In a sauce pan stir together 1 cup oil (I used canola), 1-1/3 cups honey, 2 tsp. vanilla, 1 tsp. salt. Warm the mixture.

Heat the liquid ingredients.

Meanwhile, in a very, very large bowl (mine is a 32-cup Tupperware) mix together 8 cups rolled oats, 14 oz. (4 cups) shredded coconut, and 4 cups sliced raw almonds.

Mix together dry ingredients.

Stir in the warmed oil and honey mixture until it is mixed through. Distribute evenly across the two parchment-prepared pans.

Spread granola across two prepared pans.

Place in the oven to bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and stir. You’re trying to move the more browned parts away from the edges and under. Place back in oven for 5 minutes. Remove and stir. Back into the oven again. Keep repeating the process, reducing the amount of time in the oven until it has turned golden. Watch it carefully, a minute or two in the oven toward the end. Let cool. Another note: try to work quickly or you’ll find that you’ve eaten all the candied nuts by the time you’re finished toasting the granola.

Voila! Toasted granola and candied nuts.

Once cool, break up the granola a little and mix with the candied nuts. Add a couple cups of dried fruit, like cherries or cranberries. Tastes great with yogurt or milk or ice cream.

Granola