A Celebration of the Roaring Twenties and Cranberry-Apple Baked Oatmeal

You spoke my language and touched my limbs
It wasn’t difficult to pull me from myself again
And in our travels we found our roads
You held it like a mirror, showing me the life I chose -Sea Wolf, Dear Fellow Traveler

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My friends and I are going to write a book one day and it will be called “Shit No One Told You You’d Go Through in Your Twenties.” Stay tuned. It won’t be all bad. The twenties are a loaded package of transitions and growing pains and trials that slap you in the face with adulthood. But if you can emerge from everything you weren’t expecting to encounter, you’ll realize that it wasn’t for nothing and the world is wider and fuller than you could ever have imagined. No need to be afraid.

I have just come over the hedge of my mid-twenty mark and if I turn around for a minute, the view behind me is really something else. There are graduations and travels and internships and new people and weddings and empty bank accounts and health-related hurdles and anxiety and break-downs and relationship sagas and proud accomplishments and intense loneliness and stronger friendships and new babies and unemployment and unrelenting existential questioning. It’s been one hell of a decade so far, but now, I can honestly take a deep breath and look forward to whatever the second half will bring. All these experiences shape me whether I like it or not. And not that I want to give the hard times any encouragement, but I have to admit that every single time life knocks you down, it also gives you the opportunity to get up a little bit stronger and wiser. (Thank you, Nietzsche, for being dead long enough for me to plagiarize and paraphrase your words).

Sometimes, all I can do is sit in amazement and wonder and look at God with a thankful heart. Then I get up and find courage to do frightening things such as budgeting and baking, both of which require entering into the wild world of numbers and precision.  Since selfishness is something I hope my twenties will continue to drive out of me, I make the decision to bake.  There is nothing about baking that I enjoy except for the smells and the taste of the final product, and now even that last pleasure is robbed by my gluten intolerance.  Nevertheless, I’ll still bake because I love my family and because there are cranberries in the kitchen that will go bad soon.

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Cranberry Apple Oatmeal

*This is more akin to oatmeal than to bread in texture.  Like oatmeal, it is not too sweet on its own, so toppings of brown sugar or maple syrup or honey are welcome additions.

Ingredients

2 1/4 cups steel cut oats
1 cup cranberries
3 apples, peeled and chopped (I used gala)
2 cups whole milk
1 stick butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 cage free eggs

Preheat oven to 350° Use a food processor to grind the oats into a coarse oat flour. Add the cranberries and 1 cup of milk and blend. Transfer to a kitchen aid, add the rest of the ingredients, and mix until smooth. Pour into two greased loaf pans or two smaller ones and bake for an hour or until a knife can be inserted and come out clean.

Enjoy with some butter or jam… or just inhale the smells and pretend you’re tasting it. The sad thing is, I could have used gluten free oats for this but didn’t have any. Next time.
 

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