Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal

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It’s been a while.

Should I give a quick update? 2012-2013 was a rough winter for us, with lots of colds and nasty sicknesses. I learned a lot about herbs and targeting specific aspects of the immune system, and what works best for us. We decided to move closer to where David works and has helicopter training, so we did. I had a baby! Our third boy, Daniel, and he is just the sweetest baby. This was our first home birth, and we loved it. Due to the demands of a new baby, moving, and living in a tiny ant-infested old house I was forced to spend less time in the kitchen, and learn about balancing my desire to eat healthy and keep my sanity.

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This pumpkin baked oatmeal is a great fall breakfast. We each ate two huge pieces the first time I made it. It’s full of whole grain goodness, healthy fats, vegetables (pumpkin!), warm spiciness, and sweetened with honey. Then I top it with brown sugar – not so healthy. But we love the crunch, and I really think this would not be as good without it. Balance. Crunchy brown sugar makes me happy. Happy helps me be healthy. So brown sugar on pumpkin oatmeal is healthy? Sure. We’ll go with that.

Daniel has soy, dairy and corn intolerances. More on that in a future post, but I thought I should throw that out there so you know why I didn’t use butter in this recipe, and why I didn’t add more butter after it was cooked, and why I also didn’t drown it in cream:) That’s how I like to eat baked oatmeal. You could totally do that! But I happen to think this pumpkin baked oatmeal was just perfect, even without the butter. Is it culinary sacrilege to say that?

Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal

-Ingredients-

3 eggs
1/2 C. oil (I used grapeseed – you could use melted coconut oil or butter.)
1 15 oz. can pumpkin puree
1/2 C. honey

3 C. quick oats
1 T. baking powder*
1/2 t. sale
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. nutmeg
1/4 t. ginger
1/4 t. cloves

3 T. brown sugar
Cinnamon, for sprinkling on top

1. Preheat over to 350 degrees. Grease a baking dish. I used a 9×9, but you could use a 13×9 or an 8×8. I realize that’s a ridiculous variation in sizes. The original baked oatmeal recipe that I have called for a 13×9, but I’ve cooked it in an 8×8 before.

2. In a large bowl beat together the eggs, oil, honey and pumpkin. Add all the dry ingredients on top, then mix well. Spread in prepared pan (it will be very thick). Sprinkle top with brown sugar, then a little cinnamon. **

3. Bake for 30-40 minutes for a 9×9 or 9×13. For an 8×8 try 20 minutes to start, then check to see if a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

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*I’ve been making my own baking powder since what I found at the store has cornstarch. It’s super cheap and easy to make your own baking powder! I’ll share that soon, too.

**You can prepare the recipe up to this point the night before, then refrigerate and bake in the morning.

Notes: David wasn’t home the first time I made this. There were only two pieces left after Jonathan, Joseph and I finished. We really, really like this.

Yield: Um, probably serves 6 normal people. 3-4 if it’s growing boys and a breastfeeding mother who happens to be starving all the time.

Potato-sausage Soup

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I’m feeling a little bit ripped off today. My brother-in-law and sister-in-law in Dallas have beautiful, fluffy snow. We have rain and ice here in Tennessee – so not fair! Comfort food is in order. It’s definitely a soup kind of day. A creamy, potato-filled, cheesy soup kind of day!

Before I leave you with this super easy sausage-potato soup recipe, here are some random tid-bits of news from my kitchen:

1. This morning I bought 120 avocados for $20. A steal of a deal, I know! There are maybe 20 that are still a bit green so those are going into my refrigerator. The rest are already ripe so I’ve been halving, pitting, and freezing avocados all day. I’ve heard that they’re fine to use in guacamole and sauces once thawed, and if they last until next fall, the new baby will eat them, I’m sure. Apparently some folks add them to smoothies . . . I’ll have to try that.

2. I have a new recipe for chocolate-avocado mousse coming soon. I was eating it out of the food processor, it’s that good!

3. I’ve kept a sourdough starter alive for over two months! This is a personal record. I’ve been sticking with one really good bread recipe, since it works every time and we love it. But I think I’m ready to branch out and try some new sourdough recipes. Suggestions?

Now, back to the soup. Potatoes are on the dirty dozen, so I do my best to buy them organic. I usually get them at Trader Joe’s, but I’ve gotten them at Walmart in the past, too (just a little more expensive). This time of year it’s easier to find organic potatoes reasonably priced, so take advantage and enjoy this soup!

Potato-sausage Soup

-Ingredients-

4 C. chicken broth
5 large potatoes
1 onion
1/2 t. dill

6 T. butter
6 T. flour
2 C. milk
1/2-1 C. cooked, ground sausage

Shredded cheese for serving

1. Scrub potatoes well, then chop (I never peel my potatoes. I hate peeling potatoes) and place in a large pot. Peel and dice onion, then add to the pot with the potatoes. Pour in chicken broth, stir in dill, then cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender (about 15 minutes).

2. While potatoes are cooking, melt butter in a medium saucepan. Whisk in flour and cook for a few minutes. Stir in milk, then cook over medium heat until very thick (about 10 minutes).

3. When potatoes are tender, stir in the sausage, then the white sauce. Cook for 5-10 minutes more until soup thickens. Add salt and pepper to taste, then serve.

Notes: I use spicy sausage in this recipe and rarely need to add salt or pepper, but this will vary greatly depending on the brand of sausage you use. You can also substitute cooked, crumbled bacon:)

If you don’t have chicken broth you can use water. The soup is still good, but not as good. You’ll definitely need to add more salt and pepper.

As I mentioned in the other recipe, we love this soup served with Russian Brown Bread!

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Yield: 6 hearty servings

Adapted from various internet and real life sources.

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