We’ve got most of this large family’s household chores nicely distributed according to aptitude and interest, if possible, and Delaney is the one who usually makes breakfast. For the past year, though, she’s had a class away from home on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, which kind of left me holding the bag. (I’m not sure why we weren’t able to flex that to another child; a training gap, I guess!) Because I had to be out in the barn milking cows, taking care of Evie – and now Henry, too – and making breakfast in the same time slot, I’ve favored dishes I can prep sometime the day before, refrigerate, and just pop into the oven in the morning. I’m usually able to get Delaney fed before she has to leave, and then the meal can wait in a low temperature oven until the rest of the family wakes. (Oh, that’s why! She needed to be fed a whole hour before the rest of the family, and I’m the only one awake!)
Baked oatmeal is one of our favorites. It comes out creamier than the stove-top version, and you can vary the fruits by season and preference. The other day, I made an apple-cranberry version that was our favorite so far! Today, it’s peach-walnut, using canned peaches, because I have a bunch I want to use up. It mixes up quickly, so you don’t have to mix it the night before, but it’s kind of nice to have it all ready to go.
4 cups rolled oats
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup honey
4 cups milk
2 tsp vanilla
2-3 cups chopped fruit and/or nuts, any combination
Mix together the oats, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and brown sugar. (I like to use my hands. I tell curious onlookers that I’m breaking up the brown sugar clumps, but I really just like how it feels.) Add the honey, milk, eggs, and vanilla and stir thoroughly. (I use a spoon for this part. Sometimes.) Stir in your choice of fruits and nuts. Pour the mixture into a 9 x 13 casserole pan, cover with plastic wrap, and store in the refrigerator overnight.
In the morning, take the oatmeal out of the refrigerator and remove the plastic wrap. Bake for 40 minutes in a 375° oven. Serve warm with your choice of traditional oatmeal toppings. Cream and a little drizzle of extra honey are always nice.