Hi. Remember me? Brown-haired, smudged-glasses-clad, Gilmore girl of the pancake-loving sort? This post may help explain the time lag as I’ve entered a new stage of cooking. In fact, if I were doing a market analysis of cookbooks/blog offerings, I’d say I’m filling a gap here. It’s called “analyst-office-baking” and it’s not for the faint of heart.
Here’s how I’ll let you know if you’re cut out for this sort of cuisine: do you find yourself wishing you had time to make breakfast before work in the morning? Do you sometimes make smoothies for breakfast but then feel too bougie and adult and basic be–(you get the picture) and want real food? Do you find yourself at the office OFTEN??? I think I’ve described a very large population of people. Last question is, are you committed to steppin it up knotch?!!? That’s the big question peeps.
I was talking to someone the other day about living out what you say you’re going to do and really, it’s hard. Do you say you want to cook more and eat healthier? I surely do but then find myself eating leftover Cookout milkshakes for dinner (peanut butter has protein, OKAY). So here’s the sort of thing you do when you want to eat healthier but “don’t have time.” You bring. it. to. the. office.
Maybe not the most ideal thing to do, but hey, if a few oats and the wafting smell of warm butter and coconut luring from the 2 inch wide snack room put a little pep in your step, I’d say it’s a win for this week.
Many of you may have heard of my oatmeal-cart dream. Well, while I haven’t been so good about saying-I’m-gonna-do-it-and-doing-it, I have been slowly working my way through kinds of oatmeal recipes. It all starts back in college when I made the microwave kind and it would ALWAYS blow up in the microwave. Why does that happen? Lately I’ve even explored pumpkin baked oatmeal!
These days, I’m usually working with steel-cut oats of the McCanns kind, but I have wanted to venture into the baked oatmeal side of the species. To be honest, I also REALLY wanted to see my co-worker Jon, dubbed “johnny springtime” on a particularly nice day, become overjoyed at what he’s described as his favorite style of oatmeal.
Key ingredients to making this kind of cooking work:
- The bag – make sure you’ve got your yuppie Whole Foods reusable tote to carry your ingredients in
- A toaster oven at your office
- Tups – get some good tupperware, preferably mason jars if you’re cool and can and stuff
- Hungry eaters to taste test – nuff said
I chose to take a stab at Heidi Swanson’s Baked Oatmeal. I couldn’t 100% tell you why Heidi is such a legend in the blogging world, but she is. You’ll see her referenced often, and I wanted to finally test out one of her recipes.
The great thing about this is that you can really substitute out any nuts or berries. I have frozen blueberries on hand usually, and the good thing about that is that if you’re office baking, it’s probably thawed by the time you’re at work. Unless in fact, you work from home, in which case I shouldn’t have to instruct you on how to office bake.
I am just now realizing that many of my friends reading this may walk/subway to work. A few strategies to making this work for you:
- Drag a wagon to work with your cooking ingredients, thus saving your shoulder the stress of carrying a heavy bag of ingredients
- Introduce yourself to a cute girl/guy on the subway and ask them to help you carry your ingredients to work
- Buy ingredients at the grocery store close to your office
- Fill a large backpack with all your ingredients, strapping eggs to your stomach wrapped in bubble wrap so as to not crack them.
- LOL, I’m giggling at the suggestions above. Please let me know if you take me up on them
Okay, ready to cook??
Blueberry Coconut Almond Baked Oatmeal, adapted from Heidi Swanson
- 2 cups rolled oats
- 1 cup almonds, toasted and chopped
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 pinch ground nutmeg
- 1/2teaspoon fine-grain salt
- 2 cups almond milk
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 1 large egg
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- half a bag of frozen blueberries
- 1/3 cup shredded sweetened coconut
- Preheat toaster oven to 375 and butter a 8×8 square pan
- In a bowl, combine, oats, baking powder, salt, and half the nuts. Listen to your co-workers joke by the coffee maker and ask them to make you a cup while you’re prepping ingredients.
- In a separate bowl, whisk egg, milk, half the butter and vanilla together
- Spread about half the berries in the pan and then sprinkle the oat mixture over it.
- Pour in the milk mixture, shaking the pan slightly to ensure the liquid gets in the pan evenly. Then pour the rest of the berries evenly over the top, sprinkle the coconut, and sprinkle the last bit of nuts.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes until the pan is nice and golden brown. During the time that this is cooking, check email, make another cup of coffee, say hi to your boss, twiddle your thumbs, and most importantly, get excited breakfast is on the way!!!!
- Take the pan out and let cool for a few minutes. Cut in slices and top with more butter and syrup. Enjoy with your co-workers Patrick and Jon (oh wait, that’s just me) and carry on with your day! Carpe diem!!