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I had intended January to be a month of breakfasts. As I explained in my first post in this series, after many years of ignoring the most important meal of the day, I was looking forward to sharing my newfound love for breaking the fast, so to speak.

And then January disappeared.

So I’ve decided to continue my little series into February in the hopes that we can all enjoy some special breakfasts!

Had I not wanted to continue the title for these series, I would have instead called this post, “Oatmeal, How Do I Love Thee, Let me Count the Ways!” To be frank, I cannot imagine my fall/winter without bubbling pots of oatmeal.

Oatmeal, of course, is the product of cooked oats. Whole oats (often called groats) are one of the most beneficial whole grains known to humans. Among numerous benefits, oats are packed full of fibre, provide calcium and are an excellent source of protein.

Okay. Now that the health information is out of the way, let’s get to the real reasons why oats are a true blessing.

To begin with, that bubbling pot of oatmeal that I referenced above would probably fall into my top five list of favourite things to eat. It is comfort with a capital C-O-M-F-O-R-T. I have been known to eat oatmeal not only for breakfast, but for lunch and yes, occasionally, for dinner. Said pot of oatmeal can be made at the beginning of the week and sustain you throughout the next five to seven days. One spoonful of warm oatmeal (with a touch of cinnamon and brown sugar, thank you very much), is akin to a hug to start the day.

The next reason to love oats is that with oats, you can make oatmeal cookies. I believe that on this point, no explanation is required.

Oats are also to be loved because when ground, you get oat flour that you can use to make bread, cookies and all sorts of other wonderful things.

I assure you that I am not on the payroll of any major oat company (not that I wouldn’t mind it). Rather, I just want everyone to know that Cream Puff loves her oats and by extension, her oatmeal.

My favourite brands of oats are the usual suspects: Quaker Oats, McCann’s Irish Oatmeal (for steel-cut oats) and when it’s on sale, Oats from Bob’s Red Mill.

To showcase my love of oatmeal for breakfast, I was going to prepare my standard oatmeal but as luck would have it, I have recently become enamoured of baked oatmeal.

Baked oatmeal uses all the same ingredients and add-ins that stove-top oatmeal does the difference being that baked oatmeal tends to have a slightly different texture. Depending on what you add, it can be airier and at times slightly cake-like. Baked oatmeal, in general, is also not as liquidy as stove-top oatmeal.

Awhile back I found a terrific recipe for Baked Oatmeal with Apples that I fell in love with. You can make this on a Sunday night and enjoy it for breakfast every day of the week. You can add all sorts of things to the recipe and of course you can use any fruit you like including pears, bananas and berries.

As you look towards next week and as you plan your meals, I hope you’ll consider this an option for breakfast!

Ciao!

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Baked Oatmeal with Apples, Bananas and Walnuts
Based on this recipe from Kickpleat of Everybody Loves Sandwiches.

1 cup whole rolled oats
1 tsp. cinnamon
a pinch of nutmeg
1/4 tsp. salt
3 tbsp. maple syrup
1 tbsp. grated orange zest
2 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled and diced
1 ripe banana, mashed
1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
1-1/4 cups milk (use any type you like)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Grease a 9-inch pie plate (you can use any baking dish you like) with butter.

Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix well.

Pour into the pie plate and place on a baking sheet in case of spills.

Bake in the centre of the oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed (but don’t cook it for too long or it will dry out too much).

Remove from the oven and let cool. Serve warm with yogurt and honey.

Enjoy!