Monday, August 22, 2016

Baked Oatmeal

I started a diet in March that involved giving up wheat, sugar, and dairy. It wasn't as difficult as it sounds, actually. I suppose the worst of it was giving up sugar. I have a terrible sweet tooth, and eat entirely too much chocolate, pastries, and ice cream. That's why I have been a fatass pretty much my entire life, apart from a handful of slimmer years that resulted from starvation dieting and some pretty intense cardio in the form of country line dancing (it was the 90s).

I love bread, too, but with no wheat allowed, I couldn't have my usual breakfast sandwich. So I had to resort to eating a lot of oatmeal. Muesli (or "overnight oats") was my go-to work breakfast. I could mix it up the night before and by morning it would be all ready to eat. But a month of muesli is a bit much. I decided to try baked oatmeal as an alternative. The texture would be quite different and I might even be able to fool myself into thinking I was eating a piece of cake for breakfast. Well, that didn't work, but I still enjoyed it.

My favorite version of baked oatmeal involves oatmilk or hempmilk, Earth Balance margarine in place of butter, with a nice handful of fresh blueberries (or juice-sweetened dried blueberries) and almonds mixed in for texture. An 8" square pan makes enough breakfast for an entire week, plus more, so it's pretty economical, too.

Baked Oatmeal

2 cups quick rolled oats
2 cups milk (dairy or non-dairy)
2 tablespoons melted butter (or Earth Balance)
2 tablespoons brown sugar (or agave or maple syrup)
2 eggs, beaten
Pinch salt
Pinch cinnamon (can also add cardamom, nutmeg, ginger, etc.)
Fruit and nuts of your choice (bananas, dried berries, almonds, etc.)

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Combine oats, milk, butter, sweetener, eggs, salt, and cinnamon in a bowl. Stir in fruit and nuts. Pour into a 8- or 9-inch square baking dish and bake for 30-40 minutes, until set.

Serve hot, warm, or even cold. If you're feeling decadent, mash it up a bit while it's hot and pour over some half and half, add fresh sliced apples cooked in butter and brown sugar, or sliced peaches, or whatever fresh fruit you have on hand.

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