our favorite baked oatmeal

We eat a lot of oatmeal around here, but never the soupy kind in a bowl.  I know there is a bit of convenience with the store-bought instant kind, but when I look at the ingredients, I see maltodextrin, hydrogenated oils, artificial flavors, and some other weird things.  (The peaches and cream variety contains no peaches??)

My solution is baked oatmeal.  I prep it the night before, and I make a large batch that lasts all week.  I wish I had a real photo I took with a real camera and edited, but I leave my house at 7:30 with two kids in tow.  So that would never happen at the breakfast table. I don’t even have a cell phone picture, so you will just have to make it yourself to see what it looks like.  You won’t regret it!

The recipe is so simple, and I wanted to share it.  I’ve tried a variety of baked oatmeal variations, and I eventually blended a few different recipes to create this one.  It is flexible and can be changed to suit whatever you have on hand.  Right now, it is my absolute favorite breakfast, and my four-year-old will ask for seconds and thirds!  I’ve started buying the huge box of oatmeal at Costco to keep up with our habit around here.  It does contain eggs, so I’m not technically in line with my VB6 attempt when I eat this, but I usually make it with almond milk so that it is dairy-free.

Basic Baked Oatmeal

3 cups rolled oats

3/4 cup sucanat (or brown sugar)

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 eggs

1 cup milk (or almond milk if making dairy free)

1/2 cup melted coconut oil (or butter if you’d like)

at least 1 cup fruit of choice (I use whatever is on-hand – bananas, blueberries, peaches, apples.  Fresh or frozen.  I occasionally add shredded coconut or a few pecans if the baby isn’t going to eat it.)

**optional: 1/2 cup Chia seeds (great tasteless source of Omega-3)

The night before:

Combine oats, sucanat, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in a large bowl.  In another bowl, whisk eggs, milk, and coconut oil.  Combine wet and dry ingredients and then stir in fruit and chia seeds.  Spoon into a baking dish.  (I use my long pyrex pan most of the time, but square would work, too.)  Place dish in the refrigerator.

The following morning:

Preheat oven to 350, and remove dish from refrigerator.  Bake for about 40 minutes, and it’s perfect.  You can eat this plain or with milk on top (how Jude likes it).  Enjoy!

beginner collard greens

This resolution of Sunday and Wednesday posting will have me sharing more recipes, I think.  I sometimes have nothing much to say, so I’ll rely on whatever I’ve been cooking to get me posting and keep me regularly appearing around here.

I don’t have a “real” photo of dinner last night, but I did snap one with my iPhone just before we ate.

Collard greens and chili Mac

I found this homemade hamburger skillet recipe on Once a Month Mom, and I ended up with some fresh collard greens from my grandparents’ garden, so I paired them together and it hit the spot.  It was cold yesterday, especially by Atlanta standards.  When I picked Jude up at school at noon, it was still below freezing and windy.  Nature knew what it was doing when it made greens seasonal in the winter months.  They are packed with nutrition to keep you healthy, and I think they taste perfect against the somewhat bland backdrop of other winter foods and produce.

I grew up eating greens, and Scott loves them.  Selling greens on our toddler has not been that easy, but we asked him to take one bite before finishing dinner last night, and he took a second one, too.  I’ll call that a victory!  I’ve grown up eating them the traditional southern way when they are cooked all day and almost increase in bitterness, and it’s a taste I grew to love.  This recipe is great for someone less inclined to like greens though.  The honey and sesame oil mellow any bitterness, and the result is delicious.  Trust me, if you think you don’t like greens, try them this way and see if you change your mind.


Beginner Collard Greens

about 1 pound collard greens

1/2 a yellow onion, diced

3 cloves minced garlic

1 Tbsp butter

2 Tbsp olive oil

2 Tbsp sesame oil

1/2 tsp salt

1 Tbsp honey

dash of red pepper flakes

Melt the butter and oil together, saute onion and add garlic.  Add greens, sesame oil, red pepper, salt, and honey.  Cover and cook for about 30 minutes.

basic granola

It does not feel like January outside at all.  Yesterday was 70 degrees in Atlanta, and I saw people outside in shorts when I did my weekly grocery run in the afternoon.  But even though it doesn’t feel like it out there, it definitely feels like January in my kitchen.  Resolutions have not been left behind yet, and we are knee-deep in green smoothies and whole-grain goodness lately.  I feel like my body has finally recovered from Christmas and all of the overindulgences of the holidays.

And front-and-center here this week is some yummy homemade granola I want to share with you.


Jude has begun to like cereal.  We don’t eat it often for breakfast, but he’s been snacking on it sometimes lately, and it’s one area that could use some improvement since even the most “natural” variety out there is somewhat processed and high in sugar.  (And so expensive!) This works well as a homemade alternative, and I couldn’t help but snack on some in a mug with a splash of milk when this batch came out of the oven.


Granola is the perfect snacking food that doesn’t leave you feeling guilty, and while it is delicious as is, the best part is the possibilities in store with this basic recipe.  There are so many add-ins to choose from and many ways to tailor the taste to what you love.  If you feel sort of blah about store-bought granola, try some homemade before you give up on it.  It’s not even in the same league to me.  The taste of the oats toasted in your own kitchen is so much better.


Basic Granola:

3 cups rolled oats

1 cup nuts (I often use slivered almonds.  Pecan pieces or walnuts are also great.)

1/2 cup shredded coconut

1/4 cup sucanat (or brown sugar if you’d like)

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup real maple syrup (no Aunt Jemima fake!)

1 tsp salt (For me, I love the sweet/salty combination, but if you are less inclined to that, you can cut the salt to about half a teaspoon instead.)

Mix the first four ingredients in a large bowl.  Mix oil, syrup, and salt and pour liquid over dry ingredients.  Stir well and spread onto cookie sheet.  (You want a shallow layer, so I use a large cookie pan and a smaller one, too.  Just be sure it’s not a deep pile of oats or it won’t get crunchy.) Bake at 250 for about 70 minutes or so and stir it every 20 minutes as it bakes so it all gets evenly toasted.  Done!

As for add-ins…. I add a few chocolate chips sometimes when I eat it with yogurt or milk.  You can add raisins or any dried fruit, but be sure to do it after it bakes and cools so it won’t harden the fruit.  Flax seeds or chia seeds mix in unnoticed for an extra dose of nutrition as well, even making it past a picky toddler!  I store mine plain with no add-ins in a cereal storage container and leave it in the pantry so it’s accessible as an easy snack, and then I just add whatever we are in the mood for when I eat it.  Enjoy!


By the way, I’ve added a recipe page to the bar at the header here so that all my recipes are more easily accessible.  I don’t have many on here yet, but I hope to add to them soon.  Happy Sunday!  Hope it’s a good week ahead.



Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all of you.  Hoping you get lots of luck today.  I baked some Irish Soda Bread last night, and it made a perfect holiday breakfast this morning.


I used this recipe, but I added 2 teaspoons of caraway seeds with the raisins for something more authentic.  Have I mentioned how much I love my cast iron skillet?

Don’t forget tomorrow at noon is the deadline for the adorable and bookish Etsy giveaway!