03 February 2014

Eats: morning glory baked oatmeal

I suppose after I waxed poetic about brunch last Friday, it’s only fitting that I post a breakfast recipe today, right? Honestly, I’m tempted to make February into Brunch Month here on the blog. I’m not normally a breakfast eater, so what is it about cold wintry mornings that makes me want to eat something before heading out? Let’s have doughnuts and biscuits and frittatas! And let’s have this oatmeal that I’m telling you about today, as well.

I pinned this recipe for Morning Glory muffins from Elly says Opa a while back, partly because they seemed so healthy and filling, and partly because I’d never heard of a “Morning Glory” muffin and wanted to try one. They’re basically carrot cake on steroids that you eat for breakfast. This perfectly suits my breakfast philosophy of “muffins are just cupcakes without the icing that you can eat in the morning without judgement.”

So, I’ve planned to make them basically every week since I pinned it. It’s just so dang hard to get my act together to make muffins in the morning – I’m always rushing to work or church, and I forget to make them at other times! But then I saw that Joy the Baker posted a Morning Glory oatmeal recipe recently, and my wheels started turning... what if...

What if I combined the King Arthur muffin recipe that Elly cited with Joy’s oatmeal idea and turned it into a baked oatmeal, a la Beth from Budget Bytes? I would have the heartiness, the deliciousness, and the make-ahead-ness that is crucial for all my baked breakfast goods! Whoa!

Here’s how I did it. First, I soaked half a cup of raisins in just enough water to cover them.

Then I set to work grating the carrots. We had baby carrots on hand, so I used this twisty-grater to shred them up. It took FOREVER and required a ridiculous amount of strength.

Mr. P actually caught me kneeling on the countertop, straddling the plate to give myself leverage to grate up the carrots. At least it was better than potentially skinning my knuckles and fingertips with the old-fashioned grater. I tried that for about three seconds before I realized climbing on the countertop and sweating it out made me far less prone to injury.

Anyway. Get those carrots grated until you have about a cup of shredded carrot. You also need to peel and dice a large apple (I think I used a massive Jonagold) and measure out a half a cup each of shredded coconut and chopped walnuts. Drain the raisins and set all those tasty fillers aside!

Now it’s time for dry ingredients. I tried cobbling together an idea of what might bake correctly from the recipes above, which was a bit tricky – baking is way more like chemistry than cooking is! I ended up using two cups of oats, 2/3 cup brown sugar, two teaspoons of baking soda (with thanks to Joy’s soda vs. powder explanation so I knew which to use!), two teaspoons of cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon of cloves, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.

Wet ingredients were combined in a second bowl, because I guess I felt like filling up my dishwasher that day. I mixed up two large eggs, 1/2 cup of milk, 2/3 cup of vegetable oil, two teaspoons of vanilla, and 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract.

AND: the juice of one orange. We don’t keep orange juice in the house so I just used fresh-squeezed! And then I zested the peel into the liquid, too.

Okay! I know it’s been a lot of ingredients here and there, but now it’s time to mix them all together. The fruits and nuts and carrots, the dry ingredients, and the wet ingredients. Stir!

Then pour the whole shebang into a greased 8x8” baking dish (I used cooking spray).

At some point, probably after my upper body workout grating those carrots, I preheated my oven to 350 degrees. So at this point, I just covered the dish with foil and stuck it in there for thirty minutes. Then I removed the foil, and let it bake an additional fifteen minutes uncovered.

Oh, you better believe your house is going to smell amazing by the time it’s done baking.

I know it looks crispy but it’s not – it really is like citrus-y carrot cake for breakfast, you guys! The fruit keeps the oatmeal moist, so it has a fluffy, bread-pudding texture. If you can’t eat it all fresh out of the oven, either because this makes approximately eight servings or because you made it at 3PM for the next day, no worries. You can reheat it easily! If it dries out a bit, you could add milk, but I didn’t need to do that.

This also held up well in the fridge for a week! Perfect, since I’m so not in the habit of eating breakfast... some mornings, I was just too tired to remember I had a delicious breakfast waiting for me in the fridge.

If you’re anything like me, this will get your morning – and your week! – off on the right start. And to wrap up, here’s this week’s meal plan:

Sunday: tacos and guac for the football game!

Monday: chicken piccata with a mélange of leftover grains and veggies to clean out the fridge

Tuesday: spaghetti carbonara and salad

Wednesday: leftovers

Thursday: buffalo chicken salad with goat cheese and avocado

Friday: mascarpone and prosciutto pizza, a.k.a. honeymoon pizza with salad

Saturday: tortellini, take two (I didn’t get to make it last week)

Have a great week, dear readers!