Rooted In Wonder:
Nurturing Your Family's Faith Through God's Creation
Master Naturalist, Bible teacher, author, wife, and mama of four! Join our adventures of discovering God while adventuring in creation.
A Couple of weeks ago, we were headed downtown to meet some friends for coffee. Two minutes into our 20-minute drive, Grayson flipped on the turning signal and began to turn the car for Starbucks. I gave him a silly look, “You know we’re going to Alterra for coffee, right?” He sighed, turned off the switch, and turned the car back towards the highway. It was a busy day on the lakefront, and it was 40 minutes later before we were seated with our coffee, both of us on the edge of ornery by then.
Yesterday we were headed back downtown for Alterra. This time I had learned from my mistake, and my first task upon waking was to brew a pot of coffee. You see, the to-do list of getting two adults, a toddler and a newborn out of bed, fed, dressed, packed for the morning, and into the car is not only quite lengthy, but also requires a whole lot of strategy. I have concluded that we do indeed need a cup of coffee to get us through the morning rituals and to the coffee shop so we can refuel….
Although I strive to keep our mornings as relaxed as possible, they can at times require a lot of work. Along with coffee, I believe it’s important that the first thing to hit our bellies in the morning will be something that helps us to begin our day right. Our current stage of life, and the demands that come with it, necessitate that we eat a wholesome breakfast, one that will provide us energy and keep us going strong until lunch.
This recipe for baked oatmeal absolutely meets all of our prerequisites for a wholesome breakfast. Its simplicity appeals to my busy schedule, requiring only 5 minutes of preparation the night before. In the morning, all I have to do is pop it into the oven for 35 minutes, and breakfast is served!
Now, this does require a little forethought, as Grayson leaves quite early for work. It obligates me to wake up early enough to bake it before he has to leave. Lately however I find myself up every morning around 4:00am to feed the new baby.
This is how it looks: 4:00am I wake up to some small whimpers, grunts, and toots. I groggily walk to the kitchen and turn on the oven to preheat. I return to the bedroom, plug my earphones into my phone, click to the next episode of “The Office”, and begin to feed Ellis. By the time he’s ready to burp, the oven has signaled that it’s ready for work. I burp El, set him gently onto our bed, pop the oatmeal into the oven, and return to finish feeding Ellis. 35 minutes later Ellis has had his breakfast, and breakfast for the rest of us is ready when we are. Now that’s multi-tasking!
I am a huge fan of any breakfast that can double as a snack, or even a dessert! And so this recipe for baked oatmeal is a winner; and a staple treat in our house. I actually do not like oatmeal, but I love it baked! So if your not a fan of the original gloppy stuff, try it this way– you may be surprised to find you enjoy it!
This baked oatmeal is also a fantastic breakfast or snack for nursing mommas because it’s packed full of oats and flax seeds, which can both help in increasing milk supply. When I was nursing my firstborn, Ezekiel, and trying to increase my milk supply, I would make a pan of baked oatmeal. I notice a marked increase in milk when I began my day with a bowl of oatmeal.
Another benefit for new mom’s is that flax seeds replenish omega-3 stores after your growing baby depleted them while he or she was growing inside of you. When omega-3 stores are depleted, a woman is much more susceptible to the onset of post-partum depression. Eat a diet rich in omega-3s to help prevent the baby blues!
Flax isn’t only beneficial to nursing moms. Flax seeds boasts a wide range of healthful benefits for the whole family. They are the richest plant source of Omega-3s. Now before I get too far into this, let me explain something first.
I’ll keep this short and to the point lest I wade into boring waters, but I never knew this, and think it’s worth spending a few moments on: there are three main types of Omega-3s:
Now, most research will tell you that marine-sourced DHA and EPA (found primarily in cold-water fish such as salmon, sardines and mackerel) are more beneficial to one’s health than plant-sourced ALA (found primarily in flax seeds and, to a lesser degree, walnuts).
Don’t throw out the flax for the fish, though! Nina Planck in her book, Real Food, claims that “ALA is required for the formation of other omega-3 fats…which are essential to brain, visual, and hormone function.”
All three Omega-3s play a vital role in mental health, and are often attributed to reversing depression and other mental illnesses. ALA is converted by the body into EPA and DHA, although the efficiency of this conversion is yet unknown, and most research will tell you it is quite insufficient. ALA will convert to DHA and EPA to a greater degree in women than in men, and in those who have a healthful diet with sufficient levels of vitamins B3, B6, C, Zinc, and Magnesium, as these aid the conversion process.
Okay–we can exit the classroom. It’s safe to summarize our lesson with this: Eat a well-rounded diet including all three omega-3 fatty acids. This can be done by including cold-water fish and flax seeds into your diet. (You can also take omega-3 supplements, if you don’t eat fish)
Along with the simplicity of baked oatmeal, I love the versatility of this dish. I change it up by using different fresh or (unsweetened) dried fruits. For the oatmeal pictured I used dried currants which I found in the bulk section at Whole Foods. I’ve also made it with raisins, as well as fresh strawberries with orange juice and zest. It serves as a perfect breakfast to incorporate summer’s bounty of fresh fruit into.
Whether your a nursing mom, a student requiring sharp mental focus, work a physical job, or simply desire a simple, delicious, and wholesome breakfast to carry you strong through your morning, this baked oatmeal is sure to hit the spot.
Real Food, Nina Planck
Raising kids stirs something deep in our souls — an innate knowing that our time is finite. Taking my kids outside in creation, I’m discovering how to stretch our time and pack it to the brim with meaning. God’s creativity provides the riches of resources for teaching the next generation who He is and how He loves us. Join our adventure and discover inspiration and resources for refusing rush, creating habits of rest, living intentionally, and making the most of this beautiful life!