The first day of school was a big day in our house. For days before, we talked about what the girls would wear, what their teachers would be like, who might be in their class, and a million other vital details. I always wanted to make a really good breakfast on the first day of school. I thought we should begin as I hoped we’d go on. Of course the big school breakfast didn’t happen every day, but this recipe helped us make a good start.
We first ate baked oatmeal at an Amish restaurant in Penn Yan, New York. It is seriously filling, and not too sweet. There are lots of baked oatmeal recipes that are meant to be grab-and-go food, like granola bars, but I prefer this recipe because the addition of milk softens and warms it – and you have to sit down and eat it. A sit-down breakfast, especially on the first day of school, is a good opportunity for parents to put a positive and reassuring spin on the day to come, and answer any nervous questions that kids may have before they head out into the world.
We had a little ritual whenever I dropped the girls at the door of their school. I always said “Bye and I love you”, because I wanted the last thing they heard from me to be “I love you.” So sappy, right? I was careful not to say it too loudly when they got older, to save them the embarrassment of their friends hearing. The phrase stuck though, and we still say it to each other today when we’re saying goodbye.
Prep time: 15 minutes to assemble, 40 minutes to bake
- 3 cups oatmeal
- 1/3 cup butter, melted
- 2 cups milk, plus milk to pour over oatmeal
- 2 eggs
- 1 ½ Teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ Teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- 1/1 /2 teaspoons vanilla
- ½ Teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 Tablespoon cinnamon
- 1 cup walnuts, chopped
- ¾ cup dried apricots, chopped
(You can substitute any dried fruit for the apricots.)
- Mix together melted eggs, brown sugar, baking powder, vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt.
- Mix in butter and milk, then oats, walnuts and apricots. Stir well and put into a greased baking dish.
(Oatmeal in baking dish can be stored overnight in the refrigerator if desired.)
- Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Serve hot with warm milk poured over the top.