Monday, March 25, 2013

Strawberry Banana Baked Oatmeal

“I want my brefrast.” I was like a broken record as a child, insisting on eating breakfast first thing in the morning. Now that I'm hurling into my mid twenties and can correctly pronounce breakfast, things haven't changed. I am physically incapable of doing a single thing before eating. Tons of people roll out of bed in the morning and go running. Hit the gym. Head straight to work and grab a bite mid-morning. Some insist that they're not hungry until lunch time.

I wake up starving. Ravenous. As in, I can't even think about brushing my hair, let alone exerting myself before eating. And I'm not talking a granola bar. Or even a bowl of cereal. These days, It's got to be oatmeal. Oatmeal with a little cinnamon, brown sugar, nutmeg and lots of fresh berries. Gimme a steamy bowl of oatmeal and I can face the day. Like brush my hair and other hard stuff. 

My mom shares my love of oatmeal, so when she and dad came to stay for my birthday (yay!) last week, I tried my hand at a fancified baked oatmeal. There are lots of variations out there, but this one was a winner! Some baked oatmeals turn out dry and tasteless, but this one had just the right consistency and a light sweetness. I love that it's wholesome and healthy—it fills you up without weighing you down. There is a ton of room for creativity here, so mix it up with different fruits or nuts if you'd like. But we found the strawberries, bananas and blueberries to be delicious! Plus they make it super pretty. I also threw in a few chocolate chips, and they were tasty little nuggets of goodness here and there, without making the dish scream chocolate. 

To save precious time in the morning, I tossed the dry ingredients together at night and finished it up in the morning. This oatmeal took very little time and was quite delicious!

Strawberry Banana Baked Oatmeal
Inspired by Inspired Taste


  • 2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/3cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ tsp nutmeg (optional)
  • ½ cup pecans or walnuts, chopped (I used spiced/candied nuts)
  • 1-2 cups sliced strawberries
  • 1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 cups reduced-fat (2%) milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 ripe bananas, peeled & sliced
  • ½ cup blueberries
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Generously spray the inside of a11 by 7 inch baking dish or 8-inch by 8-inch square baking dish  and set aside. 

In a large bowl, mix together the oats, sugar, baking powder, orange zest, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, half the walnuts, half the strawberries and half the chocolate. Add to prepared baking dish. At this point, you can cover, refrigerate and finish in the morning. But if not, arrange the remaining strawberries, walnuts and chocolate on top of the oats. Then scatter the banana slices. (you want to add them last because they brown quickly)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, butter and vanilla extract. Pour over oats and fruit and gently shimmy the baking dish to help the milk mixture permeate the oats. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the milk mixture has set. For an extra tasty touch, sprinkle 1-2 tablespoons of brown sugar on top and place under the broiler for 30 seconds to 2 minutes, depending on your oven. Watch it carefully! Then dig in and enjoy!

I had the most splendid birthday! My darling parents came to Charlottesville and Lover made it home from Appomatox as well. The only thing missing was my sis, but she was here in spirit. And she sent me the makings of what will hopefully be a beautiful garden this spring! Lots of seeds and greenhouses to grow them in. I'm so excited to feature some of my harvest on Blissful Baking!

We spent Friday moseying around the Corner at Bodo's, a famously cheap and delicious bagel joint here and finished it off at Arch's, a frozen yogurt place that is home to a gooey brownie topping that I absolutely go nuts for. You can bet that I slathered it on, along with caramel, heath bar and peanut butter cups. 

On Saturday, Gradon took us on a tour of UVA campus and we ventured into the Rotunda. It was cool to see all of the rounded rooms and the life size statue of Jefferson that was removed from the building during the fire of 1895, virtually unharmed. It's under construction, but we're hoping it will be perfect by the time Gradon graduates from medical school. We also saw Edgar Allen Poe's dorm room and just enjoyed a scenic walk. Afterwards, mom and I slipped away to do a bit of antique shopping and stopped by some local bakeries for samples while the boys watched basketball.

Then we all headed to Fossett's, a fancy restaurant within the Keswick Estate. Check out the unbelievable view! And the food was fabulous—everything from the roasted pumpkin gnocchi to my bison ribeye was perfection.

Waiting for us at home was this incredible chocolate peanut butter cake bomb, as we called it. It was to die for. All efforts to exercise self control the following week in trying to resist eating leftovers every day were abandoned. It was so worth it.

I was so spoiled with presents as well! Mom and dad got me a lovely dress, some pretty  jewelry, a kitchen aid attachment i've been wanting, and a special picnic basket with “Nielsen” engraved on it. I'm already so emotionally attached to it not only since it's a gift from mom, but because this particular one reminds her of her own family's basket growing up. It will certainly be accompanying us on picnics for years to come. I'll have to take good care of it so I can pass it down to the next generation! I'm so grateful to have such a wonderful family to spend these special times with. I love them dearly.


  1. Awww yes I love the birthday pics! I was definitely there in spirit but I'm glad I got to see these. You look AMAZING in the hot pink Christmas dress--so glad I finally got to see you in it. The snow in Charlottesville needs to go away so you can start your garden!

  2. You look gorgeous in your birthday dinner pics! And I like that you are rocking the Kingsville Dance jacket! Nice! :)

  3. I totally know what you mean about waking up hungry! I am STARVING when I wake up! I love the recipe!

    1. Thanks Michelle! I'm so sad that your blogging days have come to an end! I was a major follower. Loved all of your recipes!