Oatmeal-To-Go “Muffins”

I had a breakfast in Burlington, Vt., a few years back that I’ve wanted to recreate but never got around to it. Now that I’m a busy mom of a 3-month-old and going back to work, I’m inspired to finally give it a whirl.

The original was a steel-cut oatmeal cake topped with whipped cream, fresh berries and maple syrup. The oatmeal is prepared,  poured into a baking pan, cooled in the fridge and then individual, square servings are cut out and placed under the broiler to get all the edges browned and crisp. It was oatmeal the way your mother never made it and I could have eaten by the brick. The way the berries and cream and syrup ran down into the cracks of the oatmeal cake, like water over stones…oh…so tasty.

My version adds some portability, though it admittedly lacks the same flair. Instead of a cake, I’ve turned it into a muffin and baked the fruit and syrup into it. I’ve omitted the cream, too (though in the picture, I’ve added a little half-and-half and maple syrup for kicks). I eat these hot or cold, and they can be frozen and reheated at work for an oaty pick-me-up.

Oatmeal-On-The-Go Muffins

Oatmeal-To-Go "Muffins"

The Recipe:

4 cups old fashioned oatmeal

4 cups water

1 tsp salt

1 diced apple

1/2 cup dried dates

1 cup crushed walnuts

3 Tbs. maple syrup (Grade B from Morse Farm)

Liberal dash of cinnamon

Brown sugar for topping (optional)

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Oatmeal mash

Preheat oven to 350 F. Bring water and salt to a boil. Add oatmeal. Lower heat to medium and cook oats for approx. 5 minutes. Oatmeal mixture should be thick. Remove from heat and add apples, dates and walnuts (and feel free to vary the fruit and nuts to your liking). Stir in and then add maple syrup and cinnamon. Spoon heaping helpings into a greased 12-count muffin tin (approx. 1/3 cup in each hole). Sprinkle tops with brown sugar if you like. Omit if you’re counting calories. Place in oven for 25 minutes so tops can get browned and a bit crisp. Remove and let cool. Serve as you see fit.

Finished muffins

Fresh from the oven

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Courage – Live Recordings

The last two weekends have been a flurry of action as the workshop production of Couragewas underway, first at Chief Ike’s Mambo Room in Adam’s Morgan and then in the blackbox at Capitol Hill Arts Workshop.

It was a trippy way to reenter the performance scene, and I had a blast working with the band, jamming and letting go (kinda) of my inhibitions about playing in front of a crowd. My mandolin enjoyed her time in the spotlight.

Want to listen to recordings from the final performance? Click here to visit the dog & pony dc Courageblog with all the sound files. In addition to playing in the band, I sang on “Home.” Two of the four performances I managed to stay on beat through the whole song. Sadly, this is not one of them. Sorry, Milo.

We’re going to do a studio recording in a few weeks. If I’m allowed to post those songs, I will.

Practice Makes Play

We had our first all-cast rehearsal for Courage last night. We did a round-robin read-through with the band playing the various songs we’ve been rehearsing the last few weeks. The violinist and I were the only ones going acoustic up against the guitar, bass, accordian and drums…which was actually kinda freeing for the first “performance.”

I’m still pretty shakey on a lot of the chord changes and strumming patterns, so it was lovely to know not many people would hear me if I goofed up. And also nice to know I could experiment in the realms I was comfortable in to make the performance as much of a practice session as any other.

More practice on Tuesday night! Playtime continues.

Rehearsing to Be a Gypsy Punk

I spent last night rehearsing with the band for Courage. It was exceedingly cool. The crew was composed of a guitarist, bassist, drummer, violinist, accordionist and me on mandolin. The sound was so…full. It was the first time I’d played with that many people, not to mention played to be heard (rather than just blend into the background).

This Sunday we’ll play for the cast, so I guess it’s a little like our first performance. Maybe more like a try-out. If I can just hit that stupid Bb, I’ll be content. 

I’ll see if I can get the ok from the musical director to record a bit of a song or rehearsal for a preview here.

Baking Something New

Hey all,

So I dropped off the face of the blogging earth, huh? Sorry to those who were checking this page out with any regularity. But it makes me laugh a little when I look at the date of my last post — October 29, 2008 — because just a week later I learned I had already embarked on my most ambitious baking project yet. Wink, wink, nudge, nudge. Me and the Mister are gonna have a kiddo, you see! So I’m hoping you forgive my multi-month absence, as well as what is likely to continue to be a lazy updating schedule.

You know what’s weird? With every week that goes by, my mandolin moves just a little further away from me. 🙂 The kiddo seems to enjoy the music, though. Speaking of…I’ve been given a really cool opportunity to play and sing in an upcoming workshop production of Courage — a take on Mother Courage and Her Children by Bertolt Brecht. I’ll be one of the minstrel rabble and we’re performing all original music…very gypsy punk stuff. Way out of my comfort zone (but then again, what isn’t at this point?) but so much fun to fiddle with. Lots of minor chords and trills going on…much stretching of the fingers.

It’ll go up early May and is being put on by Dog & Pony DC, a DC theater company run by three terrifically creative ladies. You can keep up with how Courage unfolds on their blog. And I’ll probably be babbling about it here, too.

Cheers, for now!

New House, New Oven

We’re in the new house! And hence…I have the time again to do the things for which this blog is named!

When we bought our house, I knew the range already had two tricksy burners. What I wasn’t expecting was a non-functioning oven and a not-up-to-code gas line.

*heaves big home-ownership-lesson sigh*

But I’m very lucky that there are people in my life who love me enough to sponsor my need for a functioning oven in which to bake. I owe my new Kenmore Gas Range and Convection Oven to my Omi and Opa and my Uncle Chris–I have named burners in your honor.

I’ve baked with convection before and knew I wanted to make that upgrade, but I’m wondering if anyone out there knows any interesting convection secrets? If so…hit me!