Last Saturday I woke up crazy early at 6:45am, despite not setting an alarm. It’s funny—and somewhat unfortunate—how fine-tuned body clocks can be. Some days I like to lie in, and other days I like to get up and take care of things on my to-do list, which is always ridiculously long by the end of the week. Last Saturday, I decided to get out of bed and beat the farmers’ market rush by heading there at 7am instead of my usual 8-9am visit. I love being in places early in the morning or late at night, when there are barely any cars or people around. There are no distractions, and the stillness gives me space for certain observations and reflections. It’s often in these moments that I notice the little intricacies that make life so special and enjoyable, like seeing a kid ride a bike for the first time or someone’s first bite into a really good pastry. A few months ago, I probably wouldn’t have remembered such details, let alone notice them. I’m awestruck by how easily I find joy in the little things when I am truly present.
On this particular morning, it was Ontario strawberries that I revelled in. Baskets of strawberries lined almost every stall, and the sight was so unexpected that it made for the best surprise. I felt so much joy just seeing the strawberries, and after my first bite—which was just as magical as I thought it would be—I was really thinking about how amazing life and nature’s bounty was. I bought two baskets, the first of which would be eaten on the way home, and the second of which went towards making this baked oatmeal. Of course, since the strawberries were situated right next to the rhubarb, I couldn’t help but buy a bunch of those too. I know that chefs, bloggers, and foodies have exhausted the strawberry and rhubarb pairing, but it is such a timeless and delicious combination that I couldn’t help but put them together yet again.
I was tempted to go with overnight oats or parfaits, but the weather has been so funky lately- with rain and thunder throughout the week- that I’ve been craving warm, comforting, and cozy foods. So baked oatmeal it was. It’s 11:30am and I’ve already had three of these oatmeal cups because they are SO DARN DELICIOUS that I just can’t stop eating them. I’ve boxed them up and put them in a fridge for the sake of my co-workers, who won’t stop asking when I’m going to bring baked goods next. Yeah, lucky them, right?
NOTES: You can eat these oatmeal cups on their own, but I prefer having them with a bit of nut milk and fruit compote. If you aren’t feeling the fruit compote, a little maple syrup, honey, or agave syrup will do the trick. This is pretty much a one-bowl process that goes into the oven for 40 minutes, and before you know it, you’ll have reached baked oatmeal nirvana.
- 2 cups oats – use gluten-free oats if necessary
- 1 cup nut milk or milk of choice
- 1 cup strawberries, chopped
- 1 cup rhubarb, chopped
- 1 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 cup coconut sugar
- 1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon ground flax
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil + more for greasing
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- nut milk and fruit compote/your sweetener of choice, to serve
1. Preheat the oven to 190ºC/375ºF. Prepare the flax egg by combining 1 tablespoon ground flax with 3 tablespoons water and set aside.
2. Place the dry ingredients into a bowl and mix. Add the fruit, nut milk, water, and flax egg. Stir to mix well.
3. Grease a muffin tray and spoon the batter into each cup. Bake for 40 minutes, until the top is golden brown. Once done, remove from the oven and allow the oatmeal to cool slightly before serving. Serve with your milk and sweetener or choice, or, if you’re feeling exciting, some fruit compote.
Wishing you much love and happy kitchen adventures,