I abhor the end of daylight savings. The whole idea of it is absolutely maddening! Can’t we just have those long summer days all year long? It’s been well over a week since we rolled the clocks back and, still, I can’t quite get used to my sunset ride home from work at 4:30PM. My formerly cheery windows and sliders that soaked up the blazing afternoon sun are now eclipsed with inky black sky by 5:30PM. The days are shorter and I’m in vitamin D withdrawal. It’s no wonder people get SAD…
Have I sufficiently depressed you yet because that wasn’t my intention. I need you to keep reading through the tears. Step away from the ledge, damn it! The buck stops here with my doom and gloom rant because after darkness, there is always some light. The morning sun is rising earlier than normal and, with that, my eyes feel as though they’re opened a bit wider. My dawn workout, a little easier; almost as if it’s solar fueled. Best of all, I have something ever so wonderful to look forward to afterwards… breakfast.
To treat my “SADness,” I self-medicated with a hearty portion of this divinely tasty oatmeal bake. It’s loaded with yummy and filling whole grains and seasonal fruit. Best of all, it comes together in ten minutes (baking time excluded) and can feed you and your crew for a few days at a time. It’s the kind of dish that is also extraordinarily brunch-friendly and tasty enough to sneak in among the common “health-food-phobe” types. (Dad, you’re not reading this are you?) Anyhow, the recipe was loosely adapted from Heidi Swanson’s huckleberry baked oatmeal in her fantabulous and deliciously healthy cookbook,
P.S. Your home will smell amazing while this is in the oven…
Apple Cranberry Oatmeal Bake
Slightly adapted from Heidi Swanson’s Baked Oatmeal
Serves 6 generously or 12 as part of a larger brunch
2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
1/3 cup natural cane sugar
3 Tbsp. ground flax seed
1 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon + more for sprinkling
1/2 tsp. sea salt
2 cups almond milk
1 large egg
1 1/2 Tbsp. butter, melted and cooled slightly
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 ripe bananas, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 large apple, peeled, cored and chopped
3/4 cup cranberries
Maple syrup for serving (optional)
Preheat oven to 375-degrees. Generously butter the inside of an 8″x8″ baking dish. Combine oats, half the walnuts walnuts, sugar, flax seed, baking powder, cinnamon and sea salt in a medium bowl and mix well. Combine almond milk, egg, butter, and vanilla in another bowl with a whisk and mix until smooth.
Line the bottom of the baking dish with the banana slices. Scatter half of the chopped apple and cranberries over the banana. Sprinkle with the oat mixture. Drizzle the almond milk mixture evenly over the oats and fruit and shimmy the dish around until all the oats are wet. Top with the remaining fruit and walnuts and sprinkle with cinnamon.
Bake 35 – 45 minutes until puffed up, golden, and the mixture has set. Serve as is or top portions with a generous glug of maple syrup.
A few notes:
- I used a local hybrid apple, Stayman Winesap, but any apple will do. I also opted to top the dish with very thin apple slices instead of chopped apple. This was purely for decoration – either works.
- Heidi drizzles a couple tablespoons of melted butter over the baked oatmeal after it comes out of the oven. Not necessary, but no less delicious. Hello, decadence!
- This will keep well in the fridge up to four days. I have been cutting up squares, wrapping them in foil, and reheating at work. A microwave would do just fine, but I’ve really been enjoying my toaster oven reheats, as the top gets a little crunchy.