Breakfast on the weekends is my favourite meal to cook, but breakfast during the week is my least favourite by far. I tend to roll out of bed with minimal time to even get ready, let alone sit down and enjoy a hot breakfast and drink. For years I basically lived off coffee alone until noon, or ran down to get a bagel or smoothie at the food court. One of my intentions this year was to actively try to eat breakfast during the week, and so I discovered the joy of make ahead breakfasts. My summer favourites are overnight oats and fruit and yogurt, and my winter favourites are those little egg cups you see everywhere, and baked oatmeal.What I’ve learned in the last few years is that I should stop pretending I’m going to radically change my life to fit these habits, and start adjusting my habits to better fit my actual life. It really is the path of least resistance, and rethinking everything this way (going to the gym, applying makeup etc) has resulted in me actually doing those things way more often.
Why baked oatmeal? Texture wise I love the crispy top and chewy texture you get in this incarnation more than stewed oatmeal. I also love the convenience of a ‘one pan dish’ packed with everything that I can bake on Sunday, and then pre-slice into squares. This one pan will get you 6 normal or 5 generous servings – so enough for breakfast for the work week for one, or 3 days of breakfasts for you and your partner. I just heat it up in a bowl at the office, rather than inhale during my overly rushed commute, but it’s equally as delicious served for a breakfast at home with guests (especially with a splash of cold cream).
apple cinnamon baked oatmeal
Adapted from Heidi Swanson’s baked oatmeal
To make this gluten free use gluten free certified oats. You could definitely replace the butter with coconut oil, and the egg with a flax egg for a vegan alternative.
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- cinnamon, divided into 1/2 tsp and 1 tsp
- 1 tsp lemon juice (from half a lemon)
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- 2 large or 3 medium apples, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch slices
- Small handful of raisins (totally optional)
- 2 cups rolled (old fashioned) oats
- 1 cup walnuts
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 cups milk of your choice (I use almond)
- 1 large egg
- 1/3 cup of maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In an 8 inch square baking dish or 3 x 6 one (like I used) take the butter and rub it around the bottoms and sides of the dish to grease the pan. You’ll be left with a small 1.5 tablepoon-ish knob of butter. Melt that and set aside to cool.
- Place the apples in the baking dish, sprinkle with the lemon juice, 1/2 tsp cinnamon and brown sugar, and toss with your hands. Cover with foil and place on one side of the oven, bake for 20 minutes.
- While the apples are baking, place the walnuts in a small oven-proof dish (line with parchment for easy clean up) in the oven next to the apples, and toast for 10 minutes. Remove to cool, and once cooled, chop roughly.
- At the 20 minute mark, remove the foil from the apples and allow them to bake for another 10-15 minutes until they are soft, starting to turn golden, and all liquid has evaporated. Remove from oven.
- While the apples are baking, combine the oats, half of the chopped walnuts, raisins (optional), baking powder, salt and 1 tsp cinnamon in a mixing bowl with a whisk. Pour into the baking dish and mix with apples until everything is well incorporated.
- In the same mixing bowl you just emptied (no need to rinse), combine the milk, egg, melted butter, vanilla and maple syrup. Whisk until well combined, then pour into the baking dish over the dry ingredients. Sprinkle with the rest of the chopped walnuts and return to the oven.
- Bake for 40 minutes or until everything is set and the top is golden brown.
- Either serve immediately, or allow to cool, and then portion out for breakfast to be reheated throughout the week. For an extra ‘luxe’ touch i like to eat with a splash of cream.