Baked oatmeal makes the perfect breakfast for frosty winter mornings
A beautiful morning sky greets my eyes with bands of rose, purple, orange and light blue. Icy sidewalks and windshields, tingling face and nose, frosty ghost trees: these are part and parcel of the winter landscape.
With the continuing cold, I especially look forward to my unwavering daily tradition: taking the time to sit down at the dining room table for breakfast.
In the summer I sat on our sun porch and enjoyed the warmth and brightness and bustle of morning on the way.
But in these waning days of winter, I enjoy a hot mug of fresh coffee and a heartier breakfast in the slow lane in the warmth of the hearth and the morning sun coming up over my shoulder.
I grew up with a breakfast always waiting for me at the dining room table. My mother would get up and make sure we had something to eat before we headed off to the school bus stop. It was a good sendoff that lasted until lunch.
Even in college, no matter how late my night had been, I often tried to get up in time to eat breakfast. I would sit in the cafeteria and have my coffee and pancakes, completing homework and also visiting with several shifts of friends on their way to classes.
I didn’t have to get to class until later so I used that time to gather my energies and do some focused studying. My metabolism was such that I required that early morning boost to get me going.
And then when my daughters were going to school, I made sure I would be up for them even though they did not really eat much before heading out the door.
These days, I have a biweekly breakfast with my good friend, Margaret, that has lasted a good many years.
At holidays and on weekends, we often have breakfast because we have the time. But life pressures us not to during the course of the week. I find that I need that time to get myself thinking and organized and present to today.
Most mornings I’ll just have homemade granola and milk but some mornings I enjoy cooking some oatmeal or making pancakes, or even going fancy and making some rolls or a coffeecake to have fresh on the breakfast table.
My breakfast also includes a mug of espresso coffee (these days I choose the mug that I bought from local potter and cousin, Justin Rothshank, with its golden glaze and poppy decal) and a glass of orange juice.
Though we sit at the table and might not say much to each other as we wake up, there is still a communal sharing and a time to gather ourselves before we start the work of the day. With food in our bellies, we are more ready to tackle what lies ahead.
Here is a recipe that warms me to my toes.
Makes 8 servings.
- 1½ cups regular rolled oats
- 1½ cups cracked wheat
- 1½ cups dried cherries
- ½ tsp. salt
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- ½ cup softened butter
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1¼ cups milk
- Soak the cracked wheat in boiling water to cover. Let cool down. Add the rolled oats and the dried cherries.
- Mix the brown sugar, eggs and butter into a paste.
- Mix the salt and baking powder into the cereals then mix in the paste and the milk. Make sure it is all well mixed.
- Bake in a rectangular oven dish for 35 to 45 minutes at 375 degrees until set. Serve as is or with milk.
This dish can be made ahead with the first three ingredients put in the casserole dish, the paste mixed and put in another container. Then in the morning, you turn on the oven add the salt and baking powder to the oats mixture, the paste and the milk and voila! A hearty and delicious breakfast awaits you in half an hour or so.