early shift breakfast: baked oatmeal with berries

Some days at lulu I "open" the store which means arriving at 9:00 and doing all the behind the scenes retail magic things before the store opens.  When you open you work until mid-late afternoon and in theory have an hour or two before dinner to get in a workout or get some housework done.  So I get up and mentally plan my day thinking go to work, run to the grocery, do a little housework, make dinner, do a little more and then settle in for the evening.  But then I go to work, run a few errands, sit down at the computer and check in on all my social media and e-mail, get sleepy, do half the housework I planned (maybe), make dinner and then sit back down at the computer (it's a magnet especially when I'm home alone because it's right next to me on the kitchen island just calling me to come waste some time), fell all full and sleepy (again), pry myself out of my barstool to do the dishes and then admit that indeed my productive day is over and I'm just too tired to do anything else.   Unless the weather is warm and sunny or there is an amazing class that all my co-workers are attending, that working out after a full day on my feet is so unlikely to happen.  If I workout after dinner forget about falling asleep at a reasonable hour.  So I try to get up early and get in some cardio or if I'm really motivated a 6 a.m. hot yoga class.  Today was one of those crazy days.  Luckily it was my plan all along so last night I mixed up frozen berries, greek yogurt, uncooked oats, a little peanut butter and a little honey and put it in a covered bowl in the refrigerator.  So brilliant.

Other days I get to "merch" the store which means a 7:30 arrival, but merch-ing is when the real magic happens.  We move everything around, dress mannequins and usually have some seriously funny conversations.  By the time the store opens for business the merch team is in desperate need of Starbucks to keep the fun rolling.  The early arrival time always means packing breakfast and lunch.  Tomorrow I'm bringing a little breakfast for the merch team.  It will be nutritious, warm and hopefully delicious.  I'll post the recipe now and then tomorrow or the next day I'll give you a full review.  Can't imagine it will be anything other than yummy.

*Yep, it was everything I thought it would be.  Warm, hearty, easy to fix and serve.  Took it to work with a warm berry compote (cooked about 1 C of frozen berries with a little sugar).  Rave reviews.  Might try it next without berries and with bacon or sausage and maple syrup thinking ahead for next tailgate season.  

breakfast goodness

Baked Oatmeal with Berries

2 C rolled oats (I like Bob's quick oats)
1/2 C chopped walnuts, toasted (bake in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes)
1/3 C organic cane sugar or real maple syrup (next time I'll try agave nectar)
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 C skim milk
1 egg
3 T unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
2 tsp vanilla
2 bananas, sliced
2 C berries (blueberries, raspberries, blackberries or a mixture) fresh or frozen (and partially thawed)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Stir together oats, half of the walnuts, sugar/syrup, baking powder, cinnamon and salt and set aside.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, melted butter and vanilla.
Spray an 8-inch square pan with cooking spray.  Add sliced bananas and half the berries to the bottom of the pan.  Spoon the oat mixture evenly on top of the fruit.  Pour the milk mixture over the oats and use a spatula to make sure the milk is evenly mixed in with the oats.  Top with remaining nuts and berries.  
Bake in for 35-45 minutes at 375 degrees until the top is golden and the oatmeal is set.  If desired serve with additional syrup, melted butter or powdered sugar.  

ingredients, bananas and vanilla missed the photo shoot

oat mixture

bananas and berries in bottom of dish

topped with oat mixture

pouring milk mixture into dish

all mixed together

topped with berries and walnuts

all done!


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