Blog Posts

Simple Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal and Why I Blog

It’s hard to believe I’ve been writing this blog for two years. I’ve learned a lot and hope anyone who reads this has too. And if you haven’t learned anything, I hope you’ve at least enjoyed yourself! This is How I Cook began as a way to file my favorite recipes. Often the kids would ask how I made this or that and it would take me a long time to find what it is they were asking about. Other times I would make something and forget where it is that it came from. And last but not least, often I would come up with a great recipe and not write that down either.

Now I actually keep a notebook. No, I’m really not organized, but it does help me to remember. And I’ll be honest. I’m not good at planning ahead, so what I cook, is really what I wanted to eat that day. And since I have to take photographs, I have to remember what it is I took the photograph of. Generally, if it is that bad and I can’t tell what the heck it is that I took the photo of, I don’t share it with you. And let me tell you when I take a really good photograph I’m tempted to share it with you; even if it doesn’t look any good. But I don’t. That just doesn’t seem fair.

Another thing this blog has allowed me to do is keep track of my memories. It is amazing to me how food creates so many memories. Where you ate it, who you were with, how it tasted, the good, the bad, the happy, the totally awful. Food seems to trigger a lot of emotions and is something I’ve always appreciated. I love to look at it, to shop for it, to discover it and to cook it. More importantly, I love to serve it. I love when people eat my food. It makes everything seem worthwhile.

I also love that one day, maybe, my kids will have kids. And maybe one day they will cook. And continue this blog. And maybe have a famous restaurant. Or write a book. Or travel the world, all while being a good person. And eating these foods. And reading my stories. And saying-hey mom-that person sounded like a pretty cool person. And boy, did she know how to cook!

And after two years of blogging and taking photographs, wouldn’t you know the top ten of most looked for recipes, is my blueberry baked oatmeal? Yes, it is good, but it is not even close to MY favorite top 10. But that’s OK. I’m happy if you are. So, I came up with a new baked oatmeal. Pumpkin baked oatmeal. Kind of fitting for the season. And it tastes a lot like a pumpkin pie for breakfast. Only crunchier. 

Now I’m going to be honest with you. Pumpkin pie is not my favorite. I love apple and cherry. And chocolate and cranberry. But pumpkin is good. Just not my favorite. And really if you’ve ever tasted pumpkin on its own, it doesn’t have much flavor. The spices are what make it taste so good. The spices are what make the house smell good. The aroma is warm and inviting and that’s one of the reasons I think pumpkin is so popular. That and well, the whipped cream.

I love breakfast and I’m not really good at making it for myself. Often I’ll take out a container of yogurt and call it breakfast. Or I’ll have a bowl of cereal – a holdover from my kid days. Sometimes I even have Cap’n Crunch and feel extra special. Or if I have graham crackers in the house I’ll make the graham cracker cereal that my dad used to make for me. Dad used to take cinnamon grahams and break them into small chunks, put them in a bowl and pour milk over the top. Yep, I still do it, Dad. Do you think it would work with Oreos?

I do go on an oatmeal kick now and then when I want it every day. But I hated oatmeal as a kid. So what happened? I really don’t know. Maybe it is because I’ve discovered brown sugar and honey and nuts and raisins? I’m not sure anyone served that to me as a kid. But that’s OK. I loved graham cracker cereal. And liver sausage. But not together.

So over the weekend after buying pumpkin at the store, I decided to try this. I have no doubt there are a myriad of recipes out there, but this one is mine. And it is good. And you could crumble graham crackers into it. But I didn’t. I ate it straight. With pears on top. Now the next time I do this, I think I would brush a little browned butter over the pears and maybe an extra drizzle of honey. Yes, there will be a next time because this was good. In lieu of whipped cream, I did dollop this with a big spoonful of Greek yogurt. The choice is yours when it comes to flavors. And you could put some maple syrup on top, too.

What I’m trying to say is that I’m sharing. With you. My blog. Me. Do what you want with it. Just make it yours. Because, really, that’s what food is all about. Creating. Giving. Respecting. Sharing. Food is always more fun when you have someone to share it with. And it tastes better, too. I’m having fun cooking with you! I’m having fun writing and keeping track of my crazy life. Thanks for travelling with me!

Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal
Serves 4 or 2 very hungry people

1 c chopped nuts
1/2 c oats
3/4 c pumpkin
2 T brown sugar, honey or maple syrup
2 t maple extract or vanilla or a combo of both
1/8 t salt
1 1/2 t pumpkin pie spice or to taste or I used 1 t cinnamon,1/2 t allspice. 1/2 t ginger, 1/2 t nutmeg and 1/4 t ground cloves
1/4 c apple juice
1 c milk 
I sliced a pear on top and baked it that way. Feel free to add up to 1 c of dried fruit and 1 sliced banana if you want.

Combine in an 8″ buttered or greased baking dish and bake at 350 about 45 minutes. 

Others to try:
Simple Banana Blueberry Baked Oatmeal
Pumpkin Brown Sugar Muffins
Green Chile
Not My Mama’s Cherry Pie
Microwave Caramel Corn

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  • Reply
    Mary Callan
    October 21, 2013 at 11:51 pm

    Lovely post – it's great to hear your thoughts on blogging. I LOVE the idea of the baked pumpkin oatmeal – scrumptious. I'm with you – not crazy on pumpkin pie but this is a lovely fall treat!
    Mary x

    • Reply
      Abbe Odenwalder
      October 22, 2013 at 4:18 am

      Thanks Mary! What are yours? It is a great fall treat. thanks fro reading!

  • Reply
    Liz Berg
    October 22, 2013 at 12:10 am

    I started blogging for the very same reasons. And now it seems to have taken over my life…funny how that happened. I'd rather have apple pie, too, but somehow, oatmeal that tastes like pumpkin pie sounds incredibly delish! Thanks for sharing so many winners with us all over the past 2 years! xo

    • Reply
      Abbe Odenwalder
      October 22, 2013 at 4:19 am

      You are sweet, Liz. I think that's the hard part-figuring out how to control it and where to go with it-hard decisions. But fun!

  • Reply
    Kitchen Riffs
    October 22, 2013 at 12:18 am

    Two years? Congrats! Time flies, doesn't it? Thanks for sharing with us – we appreciate it. And thanks for this great looking oatmeal! I really like the idea of it – good stuff.

    • Reply
      Abbe Odenwalder
      October 22, 2013 at 4:20 am

      Time certainly does fly. Sometimes that's good and other times, not! But oatmeal works! Thank you, john.

  • Reply
    October 22, 2013 at 3:09 am

    I like baked oatmeal, especially in the fall and winter–this sounds great!

    • Reply
      Abbe Odenwalder
      October 22, 2013 at 4:20 am

      It's a good one to have in your back pocket, Nancy!

  • Reply
    Angie Schneider
    October 22, 2013 at 3:18 am

    Oatmeal and pumpkin…I could finish the whole dish, Abbe.

    • Reply
      Abbe Odenwalder
      October 22, 2013 at 4:21 am

      Actually, it is easy to do, Angie. Don't ask how i know!

  • Reply
    October 22, 2013 at 3:47 am

    congrats on 2 years! every recipe is a treasure. xoxo

  • Reply
    October 22, 2013 at 2:48 pm

    It's beautiful, Abbe. I'm glad I stumbled across your blog. It's always so warm and friendly here. I feel so at home ♥

    • Reply
      Abbe Odenwalder
      October 22, 2013 at 6:26 pm

      Oh, Sharon. That makes me feel so good! Thank you. And I wish I could give you a hug () Maybe that is a virtual hug?

    • Reply
      October 23, 2013 at 1:51 am

      ((hugs)) ^.^

    • Reply
      Abbe Odenwalder
      October 23, 2013 at 2:46 am

      So that's how you do it!

  • Reply
    Natalie G
    October 22, 2013 at 6:14 pm

    Drool. I can't wait to try this lovely recipe out.

  • Reply
    October 22, 2013 at 8:17 pm

    I am totally making this for the rest of my breakfasts this week. My work schedule has been so crazy, I haven't gotten my lunch workouts in, so now that has to be pushed to the night, and I don't think its fair to my husband to come home from work and then spend 3 hours making dinner, cleaning up, preparing food for the next day, blogging AND working out!

    I plan on putting this in the oven as I start my Insanity Pure Cardio – I am sure the smell of this baking will make me move faster! 😀

    And I too think of my blog as a living diary my future grandchildren can look back and know that their grandma at age 45 swears like a truck driver and likes to describe some foods simply as "amazeballs."

  • Reply
    Abbe Odenwalder
    October 22, 2013 at 9:10 pm

    And i so totally hope you love it! You have a good husband. I think I should start swearing, too! You are truly amazeballs!

  • Reply
    October 22, 2013 at 11:39 pm

    I love the pinwheel of apple slices!

    • Reply
      Abbe Odenwalder
      October 23, 2013 at 2:46 am

      Well, they might look like apples but they started as pears. But apples would be good too! 🙂

  • Reply
    October 23, 2013 at 3:41 am

    OK, I'll admit it. When I saw "oatmeal" in the post's title, I wasn't in any hurry to check out the recipe. I'm not much for breakfast and oatmeal didn't make it to the "short list of approved breakfast foods." Then I came here and saw how it was prepared. Wow, Abbe! It hardly looks like oatmeal. I prefer to think if it as a new version of tarte tatin, only no flipping is involved and it has an oatmeal crust. 🙂

  • Reply
    Paula @ Vintage Kitchen Notes
    October 30, 2013 at 10:30 am

    OMG I'm so late reading this Abbe, such a heartfelt post! Food is such a great universal way of sharing, and will always be. So glad you started this blog and I got to know you a little (as much as we can virtually, I know!).
    Oatmeal is one of my favorite things, so this is an amazing recipe for me! I used to crumble oat cookies when I ran out of granola.

  • Reply
    shannon weber
    November 6, 2013 at 10:23 pm

    two years! yay! i love your perspective on blogging: it's a great way to record memories without feeling like you're "trying" to, if that makes sense. i know i've tried to record things in the past on a regular basis, and have failed almost every time. blogging makes that easier. keep sharing, Abbe.

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