Today I’m going to share a story about frogs. 🐸
Frogs that keep me up late at night and wake me up as the sun is beginning to rise. It’s almost as if their man goal in life is to make me sleep deprived. It’s forced me to spend precious hours searching the yard for their nesting space. I’ve also spent countless hours researching frogs on the internet. Apparently springtime is spawning season, so even thought I’m hearing one distinct voice, it’s likely a family of frogs that have turned my yard into their new home.
I’m not happy about it. It makes me groggy and feeling unprepared for morning calls I have with east coast clients. There’s no amount of caffeine that can fix the problem in such a short amount of time. Recently, I got into the bad habit of using the snooze button, which meant I had even less time to prepare in the morning and do what I needed to do in order to feel sort of human. I started being lazy and eating bagels and cream cheese with my morning cup of joe, which didn’t give me much brain power even though it satisfied my hunger.
Then I started scheduling my meetings for later in the morning. Which I hated. I like to get an early start with my contract work so I can have the rest of the day to do blogging stuff. So, by starting later in the morning, I was practically forced to do all my photo’s for the blog in the crummy afternoon sunlight. Which I also hated.
I had to make a change. Since my frog-hunting had come up empty (they’re STILL out there making my life miserable), and I’m not a Lightroom editing whiz, I had to go back to the drawing board.
Then I remembered what kept me functioning during my years as a competitive swimmer: oatmeal (and baked potatoes loaded with all kinds of unhealthy toppings…). I loved those little packets of instant oatmeal with unnaturally sweetened flavors like peaches and cream and maple and brown sugar. It made early morning warm-ups and swim meets manageable. Then again, I was a teenager and could function on 48-hours of no sleep. Anything beyond 48-hours was a tad tricky and probably a trip to the emergency waiting to happen.
So, then I got it into my head that I could start making overnight oats in my slow cooker or in a mason jar. The problem with those ideas was pretty straightforward: cooking oatmeal in a slow cooker is a pain in the you-know-what to clean unless I use a bag or spray the inside with cooking spray that causes me to hack up a lung and I am not a huge fan of overnight oats in a mason jar. The oats become too soggy.
After nearly giving up, I remembered drooling over an image of a baked oatmeal in a Williams-Sonoma catalog. It looked beautiful with it’s bright (color corrected) red strawberries, crunchy almonds, and hearty oats. I had to try it for myself. It did not disappoint. 😋
What I love about this recipe is I can do a majority of the prep work the night before and I can easily scale it down small enough to just feed myself. I can throw everything together, stick it in the oven, take a shower and come back to breakfast ready to dig into. I personally don’t need any additional sweetener, but my husband likes to add a little dollop of honey or maple syrup because he has goals of becoming a diabetic. You can stick to the original recipe and use almond milk, or regular milk. You can probably use coconut milk, but since I don’t particularly care for it, I haven’t tried it.
While it hasn't entirely made me more human than zombie, I have found that when I made this delicious baked strawberry oatmeal, I have more energy in the morning to do the important (and time consuming) tasks that need to get done.
- 1 1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
- 1/2 cup slivered almonds
- 1 pound, sliced in half fresh strawberries
- 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cardamom
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 large free range egg
- 1 1/2 cups vanilla almond milk
- 3 tablespoons, melted and cooled, melted and cooled unsalted butter
- for taste honey