Saturday, August 30, 2014

Baked Cinnamon Apple Raisin Oatmeal

As you know, I've already decorated the house and taken to wearing sweaters in the morning in hopes that I can will the fall season and it's weather into early fruition. I think some of hat wishing and willing and pretending is starting to work because we've had some glorious 50 and 60 degree nights here in Virginia these past few weeks.

 The morning coolness lingers until about 9AM when the sun has had enough time to come up and start heating things up. It's lovely to take an early morning walk with Bear through the woods, come back and relax on the deck before the heat starts to drive us indoors.  This also allows me more of an excuse to bake warm things. Obviously the cake and cupcake baking never really stops, no matter the weather but this recipe also came out of necessity because every single morning Shaun worked he would stop at McDonalds on the way and get breakfast there.Unacceptable.

So after speaking with Steph about his terrible dietary habits, she recommended baked oatmeal. Something she makes once and lasts as a hearty breakfast throughout the week. I decided to make this recipe based on what I had lying around or what I picked up at the farmers market. The other great thing about this recipe is exact measurements are not really needed. I kind of eyeballed the oats, vanilla and mixing until I liked what I saw.


and here is how you can make it yourself:

3 cups rolled oats
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
3 tsps cinnamon
2 tsps baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup milk
1 stick of melted butter
2 tsps vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/3 cup slivered almonds
1 granny smith apple cut into chunks

Step 1. Grab all of your ingredients and butter up a baking dish and preheat your oven to 350


I typically use even less bowls than this but I wanted to try to make it pretty for blogland.  Looks like I still have some work to do.

Step 2. In a medium sized mixing bowl, mix the oats, baking powder, brown sugar and cinnamon together until the brown sugar is incorporated and thoroughly mixed through.

Step 3. Add the vanilla, milk, eggs and melted butter and mix thoroughly until everything is incorporated

Step 4. Add your diced apple, almonds, raisins or whatever else you would like to at this point and mix until everything is evenly distributed.

Step 5. Butter your baking dish and pour your oatmeal into it. 

Step 6. I added a little cinnamon sugar to the top for a bit of crunch and extra cinnamon sweetness but you can leave this out if you're not in love with cinnamon like me! 

Step 7. Bake for about 35 minutes. I like a little bit of crunch left in my apples so I typically bake mine for 30-35 but if you like yours more the consistency of apple pie bake closer to 40-45

Step 8. Take a picture of your dog sleeping sweetly like a little angel

Step 9. Enjoy!

After you have this oatmeal you will never ever go back to those dry little packets you microwave with water. The freshness and texture are just lacking with those and even if you add nuts and fruit it still has more of a sticky/goopy texture that I just can't get past. With the apples, raisins and almonds in this oatmeal the texture is perfect a perfect crunch, chew and that wonderful texture of a baked good.

I like to eat my oatmeal with a little bit of drizzled local honey and some fresh heavy cream. But if you like yours less sweet or dryer you can leave those out. Obviously you can also tweak the ingredients to your liking as I did with this one. I also picked up some local peaches and nectarines lately and I'm thinking a peach/raspberry/almond combination would be delish.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Kidwell Farm at Frying Pan Park

Wednesday Adam, Bear and I met up with Debi and Madison to visit Kiwell Farm at Frying Pan Park.  Debi is probably one of the few people on earth that is more passionate about animals as me! That including the fact that she is just awesome and has the same ideas, creativity, dreams and thoughts as me is why we are such good friends. (Seriously, we often finish each others thoughts)

Although I was suffering from a mild aura and migraine for most of the day, it was still a beautiful day and we had a wonderful time exploring and seeing the animals! Since I felt so terrible, I'm glad I snapped pictures so I have these wonderful memories to look back upon!

Bear and this sheep were BFFs, it seemed they were both sad to leave each other!

Everyone was a fan of the baby quails

how could you not be?

Bear and Madison together were quite frankly the most adorable thing I've ever experienced.

You can see Bear got tired of my squealing every time they were together.

the farm had the cutest farmhouse still on the property, with everything inside filled with period items. I still think I could live happily with this kitchen on a daily basis. 

It seems our destiny to live in a creaky old farmhouse was solidified with this picture of Bear standing on the front porch, light dancing around him like angels were calling us to stay.

I wanted to pull up a rocking chair and sip some sweet tea on this front porch!

I'm not sure what Bear became so serious about halfway through, but it's quit a funny juxtaposition between him and the two sweet, smiling kiddos.

Immediately after the previous pictures, when we were safely in the shade, Bear began to smile again. Then again, how could you not?!

The sheep this time around weren't as friendly and loving as the first ones. We think Bear may have been flirting with one of their girlfriends and a few boy sheep grew a little jealous and stompy.

luckily, sweet Maddie was always there to cheer Bear up. Made my heart jump a little bit every time she snuggled up to him!

the moo cows kept their distance today. Although it was a packed day at the farm, apparently there was a kids concert and a magician so there were children and parents running everywhere.

I loved the little bathtub for the ducks. Seems quite fitting on a farm.

This little hobbit house was my favorite too. Sweet Maddie was picking flowers for her momma the entire time we were there, Debi managed to get an impressive little bouquet of wildflowers by the end.

When we first came over to this big guy, he began rolling and splashing in the mud, Adam and Bear got splashed a little as well, now they fit in! 

Maddie decided she would take on the responsibility of walking Bear, she did quite a good job too if I say so myself! 

I was so in love with all of the big old red buildings throughout the farm, as well as all the sweet animals that were lazing around on the hot day.

On the other side of the farm was a merry go round. A "carousel" as Adam corrected me.

We went into the farm store to get cider and water, there was no cider left but Maddie got a push pop and Adam got ice cream. It's hard to say no, ya know?

In fact she took that push pop with her through the playground, happily enjoying her snack amidst the screaming and flailing children.

Adam even made a new caterpillar friend! 

I am so happy I got to spend the day with some of my favorites! I look forward to next time when I'm well enough to