Thursday, October 18, 2007

A simple Amish breakfast...

Oatmeal is one of my favorite foods. I ate so much of this stuff when I was growing up, you would think I'd never want to taste it again! But that's not the case. I guess there was enough of a variety with bagels, grits, and Dad's omelets to keep me from becoming anti-oatmeal.

One of my biggest disappointments after going gluten-free was the fact that oatmeal could become so easily contaminated with gluten during processing, that it was off limits to most folks. I think I was more sad about oatmeal than I was about "gluteny" pizza crusts.

One reason I like oatmeal is because I have family history of heart disease and high "bad" cholesterol levels (which unfortunately has trickled down to me!) and oatmeal is one of those foods that most people can eat without worry. It is actually good for your heart and even helps beat those pesky cholesterol levels.

The other reason I like oatmeal is that it's just plain good. Warm. Comforting. Homey.

When we were in Lancaster Co. a few weeks ago, Sara Stoltzfus, our hostess at Stony Hill Barn, made a wonderful breakfast, she simply called "baked oatmeal." As Sara brought the dish to the kitchen table of the B&B, the aroma was heavenly. It smelled so delicious that I actually snuck a bite of it when no one was looking! Thankfully, I didn't get sick. I am more inclined to think that I may have a wheat sensitivity, rather than gluten-intolerance, but I think the safest way to stay away from wheat is to adhere to the GF diet. At any rate, Sara was kind enough to share her recipe with me!

I've made it twice just this week. Tuesday, when I was at home with a migraine, I didn't really feel like eating, yet I craved that baked oatmeal. So that's what I ate all day. I ate it for a late breakfast and then had another small serving a couple of hours before dinner. All I can say is gluten-free oatmeal is a treasure! It's worth every penny!!

I don't think I could tire from this oatmeal. To serve, I drizzle about 2 tsp. of maple syrup over my bowl. Michael likes his baked oatmeal crumbled in a bowl with milk poured over. You could embellish this recipe with a variety of yummy stuff: raisins, chocolate chips, walnuts, apples, cinnamon, pumpkin puree, etc....

But before you embellish it, try the recipe as it is. Sometimes, the simplicity of a dish is what makes it best of all. Mark Bittman would be proud. This is definitely minimalist cooking!

If you are gluten intolerant and you do not have access to gluten-free oatmeal, try this wonderful recipe with flaked or a cooked batch of quinoa. I would love to know what the results are like.

Sara's Baked Oatmeal

  • ½ cup melted butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, gently whisked
  • 3 cups certified gluten-free oatmeal, or flaked quinoa
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup milk

Mix all ingredients and put in a greased baking dish. Bake at 350° for 40 minutes.

NOTE: Incidentally, I did change two things in this recipe. BUT it was only to cut back on the fat and sugar. I used 1/4 cup of Smart Balance Omega 3 oil, in place of the 1/2 cup of butter, and I cut the brown sugar down to 1/2 cup. Michael said it tasted just like Sara's... so if you're watching fat and sugar intake, cutting down on those amounts did not affect the wonderful taste of this dish!

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