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Pumpkins One, Two, and Three (and Me)

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Entries in breakfast (5)


Baked oatmeal.

I realized it's been some time since I've posted a recipe.  Here's a standby in our kitchen:  baked oatmeal.  I've also heard it referred to as Amish style oatmeal, and I did indeed scribble down the recipe from an Amish outpost years ago when my parents lived near Lancaster, PA. 

It's a favorite because I can mix up a batch and hold it overnight in the fridge, then mindlessly plop it into the oven first thing in the morning.  But note that you don't have to make it the night before...just as often, I mix and bake the same morning with slightly different results.  If you've never had baked oatmeal before, I should mention that the consistency is different than what you typically get with instant or old-fashioned varieties.  It's drier, crumbly, yet creamy...if that makes any sense.  And there's a nice bite to the dish.  We like it served with warm milk and sometimes top it with fresh fruit and yogurt.  I should also share that it's rare for me to strictly follow the below recipe.  It's a good starting point, but I tweak it often, adding in nuts, whole grains, dried fruit, etc. 


Baked Oatmeal


  • 1/3 C butter, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 C milk + 2 Tbl milk
  • 3 C oats (old-fashioned)


Preheat oven to 350; mix all ingredients (can hold overnight in fridge if desired); pour into 9 x 13 inch pan and bake for 35-45 minutes.  Serve with warm milk and fruit.




Mixing it up.

After weeks and weeks of churning out the  coconut banana bread with lime-glaze, I decided to mix up a batch of banana bread from the "archives."  It was one of my original posts--Banana Blueberry Bread

I made a couple of loaves last week and completely over baked them.  I had an odd, nonchalant attitude about the entire thing and did not watch them like a hawk those last critical minutes in the oven.  This is a departure for me.  I have been known to pull a chair up to the oven and watch a baked good like a sitcom.  Perhaps gooey lime-glaze and its wondrous moisture-enhancing quality has made me a bit lazy?

Even though the bread turned out on the dry side, we nonetheless enjoyed some variety and I'll still reach for the recipe now and then.  But the boys are asking for our "normal" banana bread for their upcoming birthday breakfasts.  We celebrate three birthdays in just over five weeks.  And the first one, for littlest one,  is tomorrow! 



Vanilla scones.


In one of our recent batches of scones, I added vanilla.  I don't know why I didn't think of that before--it's delicious.  I added it to the liquid, right before the final stir.  The post on our favorite scone recipe is here.  Oh, and I just made some lemon sugar and am eager to try some in our scones as well.  To make lemon sugar, I just mixed the zest from one lemon with two cups of sugar and let it sit, covered.  It took a couple of days for the sugar to take on a lovely, but delicate, lemony flavor.  I think it will be fabulous in several recipes--the boys love anything lemon!  

Hope you have a wonderful weekend,



Halliefest Scones.


Every couple of years or so, a dear friend named Hallie, who lives in San Diego, comes back to D.C. for a visit.  She used to live here and we met while I was in law school over a decade ago.  My law school is a block away from a gym and every Friday night many of us would cram into the aerobics studio for a particular step class (please remember that I said this was over ten years ago, so step aerobics and thong leotards were the rage.  I try to block out the memories of the thong leotards and ask that you do too). 

Most girls were a little territorial about their spots in class.  And by a little territorial I mean major stinkeye if you got too close.  But not Hallie.  She noticed I always rushed in with barely enough time to set up my step (I had a school class that ended minutes before the step class and leaving 10 minutes early from Real Property--my preference--was not going to fly).  So one day Hallie set up my step for me and I've latched on to her and her good karma ever since.

Hallie is sort of like that to everyone.  That means she has a lot of super close friends who would move Heaven and earth for her.  When she comes back to D.C., I usually host a brunch to celebrate and people crowd in just to get a minute with her :) so I nicknamed the event Halliefest.  Next time I'm putting up a velvet rope.

At Halliefest '08 I served some scones that have become a family favorite.  The recipe came from a friend I worked with--he told me it was from The America's Test Kitchen Cookbook so I knew straight away the scones would be terrific and they are.  As further proof, one of my favorite food bloggers of all times, Smitten Kitchen, also proclaimed this recipe The One for perfect scones, so there.

Now the recipe calls for heavy cream which does ensure a flaky experience that I have been known to go on and on about.  But to be honest, for everyday consumption, I use half and half because that's what I always have on hand to use in my coffee.  If you do that, you don't need a full cup...closer to a generous 3/4...and you'll get a dough that you can just drop onto your baking sheet rather than shaping and cutting.  The texture is different, more chewy, but on top of cutting out some fat, an added bonus is it's less crumbly--something that might be a good thing if little hands are eating one, two, or five. 

Please promise that you will not do the half and half biscuit style and proclaim these a dud as far as scones go--the heavy cream version is what will sell you on this recipe so you should really start there (and then build on it and marvel how Starbucks can call a sugary hockey puck a scone).  I made these today as part of our Father's Day breakfast.  But in the spirit of Hallie's countless good deeds, I also piled some on plates for the boys to deliver to a few dads in our neighborhood as an unexpected treat.

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Banana Blueberry Bread.  Yum.

            Have you ever been to an Amy's Bread shop in New York?  If not, you should know that the promise--the potential--of a home cook turning out treats like theirs is pretty amazing.  And since my sister-in-law's name is Amy, I decided I had to get her The Sweeter Side of Amy's Bread cookbook for Christmas.  And because I don't know of any fabulous "Sandra" bakery cookbooks, I went ahead and stuck one under the tree for little 'ole me as well. 

Since Will, our 15 month-old, usually loves bananas, I have not laid hands on any overripe ones for quite some time.  But now, out of the blue, he won't eat them.  He will mash them, fling them, poke them, and sculpt them, but nary a bit will get past his lips.  I've tried.  Of course, I'm more than a little vexed that without warning, my go-to, easy to transport--yet healthy--snack is out of favor with him.  But at least now we can enjoy banana bread again. 

Know that this is no ordinary banana bread--it's neither achingly sweet (yippee!) nor cinnamon-y.  It's flavorful and moist and, well, it's really, really good.  We ate both loaves within days.  I will force restraint next time by freezing one.  Better yet, I'll give away a loaf as a gift and spread the goodness.  I hope you'll try it. 


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