The summer I turned 17, I went to Hungary. Along with 25 other teenagers, I helped to restore a falling down building that would one day become an orphanage. We slept inside, on dirt floors. There was no plumbing. We used an outhouse in the old servant's quarters all summer long. We heated water for our baths over an outdoor fire and were allotted one bucket of hot water each day. We scrubbed our dirty jeans and tee shirts by hand and hung them on the line. We poured concrete, cleared brush, emptied piles of trash from buildings around the property. We had a rip roaring good time.
We woke early every morning. It was cold. Especially for a southern California girl. We did an hour of work before breakfast. We usually spent that whole hour fantasizing about breakfast. Would it be eggs today? Hope not, they were powdered. Cold cereal? Boring. Bacon? Pre-cooked, greasy, limp and uninspiring. Grits? That always pleased the southerners on my team, but I had never had grits before in my life and when I did? Not a fan.
But there was one thing. Baked oatmeal.
A favorite every time. A steaming square of cake-like oatmeal placed in your brown, melamine bowl. A dash of cinnamon, some warm milk poured over the top and it was the best breakfast of the summer.
I have searched high and low for a good baked oatmeal recipe. I can't use the recipe from Teen Missions, the group I went to Hungary with. For one, it makes enough to feed a small army. Also it calls for powdered eggs and powdered milk, not stuff I usually have in hand.
So I search.
I just stumbled upon this recipe here. I made it this morning for breakfast. It's good. Really, very good.
I must confess, it is not exactly the same. It is a little less cakey than I remember. I may try whirring the oats around in my food processor next time to change the texture a bit. But of the recipes I have tried, it is the closest. I will be making it again.
It may become the breakfast of Saturday mornings.
We didn't have butter to put on our baked oatmeal over in Hungary, but I highly recommend it. Also a dash of cream. I didn't add raisins, but I am sure they'd be tasty. It tastes best hot from the oven. Still steaming, in fact.
Just get your ingredients ready the night before, take 5 minutes to mix it all together in the morning, pop it in the oven, hop in the shower, dry off, do your hair and bammo! You've got steaming baked oatmeal for breakfast.
Happy Monday everyone! Now you know what to have for breakfast tomorrow.