Baked Oatmeal

One of my personal Secrets of Adulthood is that it is often better to just do it. Don’t bother asking! Go ahead! Do what you think is best!

This little lesson has served me well in two particular areas of my life. The first, in my work. Bosses are busy and it turns out they like it when you do brilliant things without being told or better yet, without interrupting to ask in the first place.

The second, is in my marriage. Coincidentally this is also where I learned another secret: sometimes not asking permission means you have to beg forgiveness. Like when you purchase a Kitchen-Aid stand mixer when your almost-husband is conveniently on an airplane, unreachable by telephone or email and therefore unable to weigh-in on the financial implications of such a purchase. The situation was diffused quickly once he realized that he would benefit greatly from me having unfettered access to high-tech baking equipment. But it was a close call.

Since then I’ve stuck to applying my secrets to less expensive things, like breakfast. I didn’t bother asking Jeff if he’d like a bowl of baked oatmeal for breakfast. Jeff believes that he knows what he does and does not like to eat. For instance, he does not like nuts (unless finely chopped upon a sundae or brownie) or seeds (except sesame, on a hamburger bun, and only then if there’s no other option). Had I asked, the answer would have been a firm “how about scrambled eggs?”

But because I vehemently disagree that he knows what it is he does and does not like to eat, I went ahead and made it anyway. Even with the walnuts! And the hazelnuts! And the pumpkin seeds! Jeff ate it all, with nary a pumpkin seed or a hazelnut or a walnut crumb left in the bowl. And he ate it all the next week when I made it again.

See? Sometimes it’s better just not to ask.

Baked Oatmeal
Adapted from So Good & Tasty via Green Kitchen Stories
Serves 6

Ingredients:

2 apples, peeled and diced
2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup hazelnuts (I kept them whole but you might like them chopped
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
pinch of salt
1 egg
2 cups milk (see note above)
1/4 cup agave syrup
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon butter, melted
Maple syrup, to taste, for serving

1. Preheat oven to 375หšF. Grease the bottom of a 10ร—8-inch baking dish and set aside.

2. Place oats, nuts, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, coconut and salt in a large mixing bowl.

3. In a separate bowl, beat the egg. Add milk, agave and vanilla and stir well to combine.

4. Spread the apples evenly in the baking dish. Pour oat mixture to cover the apples, then pour wet ingredients over top, making sure everything is evening soaked. Drizzle melted butter over top and bake for 30-35 minutes until the oatmeal is set and lightly browned.

5. Let cool and serve, drizzled with maple syrup.