Pirate Oatmeal

Snow at Easter

This morning we woke up to this.  It’s insane.  Yesterday it was so humid in my house and the day was so warm that even opening the doors didn’t bring relief.  Then the temperature dropped, the furnace went back on and we woke up to snow.  Holy week snow.  Crazy!

Just last week I was thinking about making some granola and transitioning into summer breakfast mode. Today I was glad I did not actually get around to making it.  On cold mornings there is nothing that hits the spot quite like warm oatmeal.  If you’re feeling kind of lazy though or just plain frazzled it can be hard to find the time to actually get it cooked on the stove especially if you’re like me and enjoy old fashioned thick rolled oats.  As a compromise for those busy mornings I’ve found that baking oatmeal in the oven can produce a delicious, low effort breakfast that everyone appreciates.

This particular recipe is a variation on my usual morning baked oatmeal in that it has slightly different ingredients.  Pirate oatmeal is loaded with buried treasure.  In any given bite you’ll find something a little different.  Some dried fruit, a slivered almond or two and maybe even some shaved coconut.  If snow has found you once more and you’re looking for a different twist on your regular morning routine, give this a whirl.  You won’t regret it!

Pirate OatmealPirate Oatmeal
Serves 4-6 people

Ingredients:

  • 2 c old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 c shredded almonds
  • 1/2 c dried cranberries
  • 1/4 c shredded coconut (I use unsweetened)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 2 c unsweetened soy milk (or whatever milk you prefer)
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 1 c unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1/4 c maple syrup

Instructions:

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
  • Prepare a 9×9 pan with a little cooking spray or oil.
  • Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl.
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry, stirring well.
  • Pour the mixture into the pan.
  • Bake for about 30 minutes until it’s set.
  • Pull out and enjoy!

Extra Information:

  • This keeps very well in the fridge if you’re the only one who likes oatmeal.  It makes for an even faster breakfast the next day!
  • You can throw in all kinds of ingredients to this mix.  Combine any number of dried fruits and nuts to give yourself variety in the morning.
  • If you’re looking for something a little different to serve at brunch this is a nice addition.  It goes well with scrambled tofu (and I would think eggs if you’re serving those).  It’s easy but looks quite nice when it’s coming straight out of the oven.

What a week this has been {and a recipe for Chocolate Chip Banana Loaves}

It’s Thursday and I’m already wondering how we’ve crammed so much into this week in this house. On Monday I had an appointment with my OB who informed me that we should be ready anytime for the impending arrival of our child. I have to think this was a bit of an overreaction on his part as it’s now Thursday and he’s still cozy and settled with no moves to enter this world. Tuesday was filled with an assessment and analysis of our son where we had our suspicions confirmed that he has autism. This assessment was followed by lunch with my Sister and her husband and shopping and Costco. It was a busy day, a full, busy crazy day! Yesterday my son and I spent the day at home baking, playing with his monkey and pretend food, enjoying a visit from Grandma and reading some Harry Potter. It was lovely and full. We both went to bed tired and happy. Today is a quieter day yet I’m sitting on the couch after the delivery of our new stove contemplating contacting the insurance company yet again to ask if they’re ever going to come and fix our tiles and cupboards so we can put our dishwasher in. A lot is happening around here and there is much to think about.

There are many things to look forward to in the coming weeks and months.  With a new baby, watching our older son continue to learn and explore this wonderful world in which we live, a house that is complete once more and sunshine returning to our neighbourhood to look forward to I’m sure it will be wonderful. I know that as we live it there will be moments of exhaustion and pain. I know that some days will be better than others. But none of that matters, really. Life is filled with good things and bad. Life is busy days, quiet ones and all kinds of middle ground mixed in. It really is what you make of it and I am currently enjoying my last moments of relative ease with our number two son locked inside trying to make moments matter out here. One moment that mattered recently was baking banana bread yesterday afternoon. My son found the mashing of bananas fascinating and he eagerly awaited the first piece of luscious goodness. He was mildly confused when I referred to it as banana bread (as he sees bread as ‘bread’) but upon tasting it his confusion was cleared as he informed me it was actually a muffin and his world was ok again. This was a beautifully sweet, silly moment that helped me to realize that I may in fact need to haul out the loaf pans more often so he has more exposure to sweet breads!

I share this recipe with you today as it is one of the most versatile, delicious banana loaf recipes we’ve ever used. It’s healthier than most but not too healthy. The sweet crumbly texture is perfect if you’re looking for an afternoon treat. I made four mini loaves so we could freeze some for later and they were the perfect size for us as they prevent us from  over indulging at any one time.

I am hopeful that over the coming weeks and months my voice will return once more and I can speak on things beyond food. Now that the assessments are over and everything ready for the little one to arrive I anticipate my focus will return at some point. Until then I will bake and nap and enjoy some time in the sun.

Chocolate Chip Banana Mini Loaves
makes 4 mini loaves

chocolate chip banana loaves

Ingredients: 

  • 2 c mashed ripe bananas (5-6 large bananas)
  • 3/4 c white sugar
  • 3/4 c brown sugar
  • 1/4 c canola oil
  • 1 1/2 c soy milk
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 3 c whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/3 c chocolate chips

Instructions:

  • Preheat the oven to 350.
  • Mix the soy milk and apple cider vinegar together and wait until it’s curdled before continuing.
  • In a large bowl combine the bananas, white sugar, brown sugar, oil, soy milk mixture, and vanilla.
  • Add in the flour, baking soda and salt.
  • Mix until combined.
  • Add in the chocolate chips.
  • Pour into prepared pans.
  • Bake in the oven for 50-55 minutes or until done.

Extra Information: 

  • You could make these into muffins or two giant loaves. It’s really up to you how you do it. If you make them into muffins they will take much less time to cook so I’d begin with 20 minutes and then see how much longer you think they’ll need.
  • If you don’t like chocolate chips you can throw in some walnuts, flaked coconut or just leave them plain.
  • In my oven these loaves take 55 minutes exactly. It may take slightly less or more time in yours. They are very moist and remain moist over a few days but this is dependent on not overcooking them. Don’t forget about them!
  • The riper the bananas the better the flavour. Use up those very dark spotted bananas no one will eat in this recipe. They are perfect for banana bread!

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