Jody Linn

Artist, conservator, cake provider, insomniac.



Back Into Breakfast

I started meal planning my dinners again a few months ago just to put a little more structure into my life but I know from past experience that breakfast can make or break the whole endeavour. If I don't eat breakfast within a half hour of waking, I'm kind of screwed for the day. So when my roommate (and fellow student) Erin Grexton suggested that we make this class a team effort, I was on board.

I started the whole thing rolling with the Overnight Oats. So... cold cooked oats are the kind of thing that I really really WANT to like. I put it together, enough for both of us (leaving a lot of room for fruit!). Unfortunately, I really don't like the flavour of uncooked oats; even mixed with flavored yogurt and fruit, it just tastes somehow dusty to me, always has. The other problem was that it was an awful lot of raw fibre to put into a system that's unused to it, I spent the rest of the morning in some discomfort.


So I may pass on using this recipe going forward but I'm still glad that I tried it! Onto cooked oatmeal, which I know feels good.


I wanted something a little more familiar the next day just to go easy on my tummy so I made oatmeal. I used to cook professionally and, for a really awesome part of the summer of 2014, I cooked for the Western Canada Quaker Conference. There's a running joke among actual Quakers that, despite all of the other jokes it might spawn, they really DO love oatmeal. Rather than hire a kitchen crew, they hire a kitchen coordinator (that was me!) and staff it through their own volunteer labour; one of the set positions of responsibility is the Oatmeal Maker because it's that important to them. 

Because it's a more time-consuming recipe when you're making the starter batch, I chose the one day of the week that I do have a little more time and, in the spirit of the class (and the Quakers, incidentally!), I measured and set out the ingredients for it the night before and planned to make a large batch that could be dipped into whichever morning I needed a close-to-ready breakfast.  

It isn't complicated to make proper oatmeal, but you have to be able to spare the time to stand and stir; it takes about 15 minutes on that first batch. I had the time to invest that morning and it worked out. I could also have done this on the weekend and just stored it in the fridge the same way.


I threw some raisins on just to break it up a little and it was delicious and filling for the entire morning.


My roommate tackled the cookies and the frittata late one evening in preparation for the next morning. I know they're listed as separate recipes but they go great together! The cookies aren't the texture that I usually look for in a cookie but I wasn't eating them as a snack so it still worked. I can see adding raisins and nuts as well for a change up and I would totally investigate other healthy/seedy/oat-y cookie recipes as well to add to the breakfast repertoire (there's a local favourite called a Folk Fest Cookie that would be awesome for this). Baking a batch on the weekend would make a great addition to the pantry.


At a different cooking gig, we used to do a Friday Frittata that was basically all of the leftover meat and veg from the week, chopped up, poured into a pan with egg and then cheese melted on the top at the end. I was hugely popular and so good for using up the extra bits. I don't know how to describe the deliciousness of these mini-frittatas... I was so happy that the recipe made twice as many as indicated because that meant that we had twice as much of them to eat! They also made an awesome fast lunch on a particularly time-crunched day. One piece of toasted rye bread folds very neatly around a mini-frittata so I didn't even have to stop working for lunch (I try not to do that too often, I know that it's important to actually take that break but... deadlines, you know? haha) I think there's a way to combine the mini-frittata recipe and my old Friday Frittata habit to move forward.



So Quaker oatmeal day 2 is where the Quakers really come out to shine because there is no such thing as wasted oatmeal, it gets saved and used to either supplement or start the next batch (a little like a good sourdough) so every batch gets creamier and starchier but using whole oats keeps it from turning into grout. Prepping oatmeal on the next day is as simple as boiling a kettle of water. I put the water on, got myself ready for the day in the time it took to come to the boil and then spent a few minutes re-softening the oatmeal for the day with the boiling water... Pour a little on and smoosh out the lumps with the back of a wooden spoon, give it a stir, add a little more water and repeat until it's all smooth and easy to stir again. At that point you can either reheat it on the stove or stick it in a microwave dish and go the high-tech, non-Quaker route. 

I added some dried blueberries before I started adding the hot water and they rehydrated while the oatmeal was softening. It was like a creamy pudding for breakfast once I added a little maple syrup and milk. It's like having berry pudding for breakfast.



We had planned to try the chia/banana/avocado pudding (and will try it yet!) but I used the only banana to finish up the oatmeal on the final day. I used the same dressings (toppings?) as the crockpot oats and I really liked the texture with the coconut added as the same time as the boiling water. 

There are going to be weeks where I really don't have that one day that I can stand and stir oatmeal on a morning though, so I'm planning the try the Crockpot Oatmeal on the next one of those that comes up (in about 2 weeks actually). 


Thanks for the assist in getting back to eating breakfast properly in the morning! You've given me a lot of ideas and certainly a more manageable way to incorporate it into what I'm already doing in the kitchen. I'm definitely going to check out the other course as I've been working my way up to cooking at home least 5 nights a week and can use all the assists I can get haha

And I will be making mini-frittatas for the rest of my life now, those are so freaking good!


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