Well hello! Rise and shine, it’s time for breakfast! It’s sometimes true what they say because breakfast IS the most important meal of the day. This is true for several reasons, including the fact that breakfast literally allows us to “break the fast” from not eating anything all night long.
If you put the right foods in, like say fibre from steel-cut oats and whole fruit, and protein from nuts or in this case, nut milk pulp, you help your body get on track to start the day off on the right foot. When you eat this way you can look forward to steadier energy levels, increased productivity/motivation, fewer mood swings and a clearer head (as my dad would ask, “Have you got your head on straight?”)
For me, and probably for many of you, breakfast is often something quick like a smoothie or eggs or a quick oatmeal. But sometimes it’s worth spending a few more minutes on breakfast to make it special. It’s still super simple to put together but the ingredients might need a longer cook time. Let me tell you that just like a bun in the oven, this baked oatmeal is worth the wait!
Pears and cranberries are in season around here and they take centre stage in this creamy, oven-baked oatmeal. The natural sweetness of the pears and their caramelized coat help offset the notoriously tart cranberries. The steel-cut oats are tender but still slightly chewy, which gives this breakfast a stick-to-your-ribs bite that will last hours and hours longer than any quick oats made with artificial flavours or pounds of sugar. To sweeten the pot, ground cardamom is an unexpected discovery that perfumes right through the oats.
After all that, this is exactly what I would like to eat as part of a special Sunday brunch. You can even put all the ingredients together ahead of time and then you’ll just need to cook it in the morning.
Cranberries and pears are adored for their vitamin C, as well as their soluble fibre content. If that wasn’t enough fiber-terrific news, the steel-cut oats in this make it even easier to reach your daily fibre amounts. Steel-cut oats are a less processed form of oats like quick or rolled oats (which you may be eating now to make a quick morning oatmeal) and as such, offer more blood-stabilizing fibre along with energy-boosting B vitamins. Combine this trio of foods with enough water and your colon will be on its way to being clean as a whistle! (Luckily it tastes much better than it is starting to sound).
So without further adieu, here’s how to make it so you can make your breakfast special too:
Baked Oatmeal with Caramelized Pears and Cranberries
- 1 cup steel cut oats
- 1 ¼ cups boiling water
- 1 large pear washed and chopped
- 1 generous cup of cranberries washed and cut in half
- ¼ cup coconut sugar
- 1 cup fresh almond or other nut milk
- ½ scant cup of leftover nut pulp from making homemade almond or other nut milk
- 1 Tb maple syrup
- 1 tsp ground cardamom
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg or more to taste
- ½ tsp sea salt
Mix steel cut oats and boiling water together in a heat-safe bowl and set aside. The oats will absorb the water and help reduce the overall cook time. Use this in the recipe once most of the water has been absorbed. You can also make this ahead: leave to cool completely, then cover and place in the fridge until you’re ready to use it (not more than 48 hours ahead).
Place the pear, cranberries and coconut sugar in a saucepan and heat over medium-high heat for 4-5 minutes, stirring to coat the fruit with the melted sugar, until the pears and cranberries are just slightly soft. Set aside to cool slightly.
In a large bowl, add the steel cut oats and remaining ingredients except for the caramelized fruit. Gently fold in the caramelized pears and cranberries and stir to combine.
Pour into an oven-safe dish with a lid*. I used a 1½ quart baking dish with tall sides.
Bake at 350° F for 45-60 minutes depending on how thick you like your oatmeal. I like mine thick (i.e. not very wet) so I cooked it for 60 minutes to cook out any excess moisture.
Serve on its own or with a splash of almond milk.
* You can make this ahead and set it in the fridge overnight. Then in the morning, just bake as usual.
What’s your favourite stick-to-your ribs breakfast? Let me know below 🙂
Life is a plate… Eat up!