peaches & cream baked oatmeal: making over a childhood favorite!

when i was a little kid, i absolutely a-DORED quaker’s peaches & cream oatmeal. i mean, i loved it. i would make it with extra milk {absolutely never water} and drink it right out of the bowl. sometimes i’d even combine two packets into a single bowl {yeah, i was one of those too-much-is-never-enough kids with food – don’t judge me}. whether for a snack or breakfast, i was all about this tastiness.

however, as we humans have a habit of doing, i found myself growing older and a bit wiser in my relationship to food and the willingness i have to include certain foods in my diet. this newfound attentiveness to ingredients and their sources led me to completely cut out all sugary breakfast cereals, including my beloved oatmeal.

i mean, honestly – let’s take a moment to review the list of ingredients in my beloved peaches & cream oatmeal, which quaker lauds as:

  • Made with heart healthy 100% whole grain oats
  • Good source of calcium, iron and essential vitamins and minerals
  • Cooks in 90 seconds in the microwave
  • Deliciously nutritious way to begin your morning

hmm, let’s see just what’s in this wonder-food:

Ingredients
Whole Grain Rolled Oats, Sugar, Creaming Agent (Maltodextrin, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil**, Corn Syrup Solids, Whey, Sodium Caseinate, Sugar, Dipotassium Phosphate, Mono And Diglycerides, Artificial Color, Salt, Soy Lecithin, Artificial Flavor), Flavored And Colored Fruit Pieces (Dehydrated Apples [Treated With Sodium Sulfite To Promote Color Retention], Artificial Peach Flavor, Citric Acid, Annatto Color), Salt, Calcium Carbonate, Guar Gum, Oat Flour, Artificial Flavor, Niacinamide*, Reduced Iron, Vitamin A Palmitate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride*, Riboflavin*, Thiamin Mononitrate*, Folic Acid*.

i’ve taken the liberty of underlining the things that i generally try to consciously steer clear of in my daily food intake. note that it is over half of the actual ingredients. i’m not even going to count all of the vitamins that quaker decided to inject into this frankenfood as actual ingredients; had they not messed with the oats so horribly to begin with and allowed them to preserve their innate nutritive components, there would have been no need for them to do that.

rather than go into a rant regarding my hatred of all corn- and soy-related byproducts and big agra’s continued perpetuation of their shameful existence {that’s a topic for another day!}, let me share with you how i went about recreating a much better version of my childhood favorite.

the following recipe is adapted from nourished kitchen, hands-down one of my favorite resources for delicious, real-food recipes.

peaches & cream baked oatmeal {serves 4-6 depending on portion size}

ingredients

  • 1/2 pound steel cut oats {i used the mccann’s brand that you can find at m; ost grocers, but trader joe’s has a reasonably priced variety & any will do}
  • 1/2 cup walnuts {or pecans, or almonds, or whatever you like}
  • 2 tbsp yogurt, kefir, whey or buttermilk {for soaking}
  • dash unrefined sea salt {i like celtic gray sea salt}
  • 3 pastured eggs from your local farmer {or the best you can find in your grocery store}
  • 1 cup of whole, fresh milk {unpasteurized if possible but plain old pasteurized is fine – make sure to use whole and not skim or 1% or even 2%!}
  • maple syrup to taste {no more than 1/4 cup – i just did a couple swirls}
  • 1/2 cup of dried peaches {preferably unsulfured, but use what you find!}
  • 2 tablespoons of cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup butter {preferably from your local farmer, but if that’s not a possibility, kerrygold is a fabulous brand you can find most anywhere}

instructions

1. pour steel cut oats and nuts into a ceramic dish or mixing bowl.

2. add enough pure {filtered!} water to completely submerge the oats and nuts. add your dash of salt and the yogurt, whey, kefir, or buttermilk.

3. allow the oats and nuts to soak, covered, overnight in a warm spot in your kitchen {i put mine near the stove} for eight to twelve hours. {read about why soaking is good and necessary in the original recipe by nourished kitchen here!}

4. in the morning, drain the oat and nut mixture in a colander. place them back into the mixing bowl or ceramic dish in which they spent their evening luxuriating.

5. preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and use a liberal amount of delicious butter to grease your baking pan {i used a medium-sized corningware casserole dish, approximately 13×9 if not smaller but with some depth}. pour the oat & nut mixture into the greased pan.

6. beat together your eggs, milk, and maple syrup til well combined.

7. pour the egg, milk and sweetness mixture over the soaked oats & nuts; make sure you stir it all together really well at this stage so that the custard-deliciousness incorporates all of the yummy oats/nuts and those poor things aren’t left all by their lonesome at the bottom of the dish.

8. gently fold in the dried peaches and cinnamon. mmm you’re almost there!

9. smooth the entire thing out in the greased baking dish. dot with pats of butter til you feel you’ve used enough {or til the top is covered, since you can never have enough butter!}. i used maybe 10 little pats of butter {about 3/4 of a stick} spread out across the top of mine.

10. bake in your preheated over for about 40 minutes, or until the oatmeal is a gorgeous golden-brown and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

11. top with cream, maple syrup, or whatever your heart desires {mine desired full-fat, cream-top peach yogurt from grassfed cows this morning – mmmm} and ENJOY! :)

IMG_2050
two cast members from the all-star lineup make a bashful appearance, choosing to pose behind their award-winning production;) id est: check out the brand of steel cut oats i used, the container of dried peaches i found, and my bowl of noms {topped with yogurt} that i ate for breakfast this morning!

now, isn’t that better?