Saturday, April 27, 2013

Cocoa Baked Oatmeal in a Mug

A mug breakfast dessert, of sorts, for you this morning. Gluten-free, as always, and dairy-free. Forgive the phone photos.

I'm not feeling well this morning. Yesterday I started feeling the scratch in my throat and took every supplement, essential oil and natural remedy I had on hand (properly spaced apart, of course) to avert the illness I felt imminent. My husband came down with a mild cold last week and my youngest came down with a bad cold this week, so I'm hoping it's the first cold and not the latter that I'm fighting. Regardless, I don't feel great.

After I slept in for a while, I got up and everyone else had already eaten. So no big breakfast. They'd finished off a pan of oatmeal (certified gluten-free, of course - and FYI - not everyone who eat gluten-free can handle even GF oats so use caution and listen to your body if you're not used to eating them). I didn't feel like cooking or baking. I wanted something simple, single-serving and yummy. I really wanted baked oatmeal (goodness, speaking of photos! I shudder at my early ones!) or something of the sort but wasn't about to wait that long or give that much effort. Mug baked oatmeal?

You have seen a couple of mug cake recipes posted here, and I have even more I have yet to put up. Some of them include oatmeal in them, but I hadn't tried pure baked oatmeal in a mug-microwave combination yet. I did a quick search to see if anyone else had attempted it yet. Given the way I'm feeling, I didn't want to mess with too much experimenting.

I came across this instant fudge brownie baked oatmeal in a mug and at first decided to not use the cocoa, because I thought I wanted cinnamon. I changed my mind, though, and went all out. I modified the recipe to suit my needs and desires, as you can see below.

Was it good? It was exceptional. A word of warning, though - as you can see from the photos, it overflowed from my standard size mug. Because it was a different consistency than other mug cakes I've made, it actually dribbled down the sides of the mug rather than just puff up and then shrink back into it. The Nutella mug pictured next to it below with my coffee would have been a better size for this microwave-baked oatmeal.

In the state of mind and all going on in my life lately, I'm likely to be posting more phone photos for you just so I can get posts up. It's really a little ridiculous considering I use my good camera nearly every day and am editing photos nearly every day, to not be taking good photos of my food for you! To be honest, though, I've been going through a lot and my family has been fed grits and eggs, toast and eggs and pancakes for more meals in the last couple of months than I'd like to admit. Thankfully I have an awesome husband and children who must think I even make eggs and grits with a magic hand - or they are just being really super sweet, which is more likely the case.

Projected time start to finish: 6 minutes
(Printable Recipe)

1 large egg
1 Tablespoon coconut milk
4 Tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla
1/4 cup certified gluten-free rolled oats
1 Tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
2 small pinches kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
2 1/2 Tablespoons pure organic cane sugar

Grease inside of large microwaveable mug and add egg, coconut milk (or milk of your preference), applesauce and vanilla. Stir with fork until blended.

In a small bowl, combine oats, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder and sugar. Mix into mug slowly until all is combined.

Microwave on high about 2 minutes and 15 seconds or until it's all "baked."


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

And then comes morning ...

We were all in shock yesterday as the events unfolded at the Boston Marathon. When bad things happen, we usually are shocked at first. Then we grieve. We hurt. We cry. We scream, "Why??" We pray. We help, and to quote the beloved Mr. Rogers, we "look for the helpers."

Since a few weeks prior to this, I've already been grieving and hurting and screaming about a loss that has rocked me to the very core and has broken my heart into millions of pieces that can't possibly be fully repaired. I'll write about that sometime, the sudden passing of my dear kindred spirit on earth.

So as I'm already on the verge of tears every second of every day, the news yesterday morning that a beautiful blogger named Kate of Chasing Rainbows said goodbye to her son that so many of us had been praying for - it seemed like more than anyone could bear. And then the explosions at the Boston Marathon brought yet another tragedy into more lives.

It's too much. It's all too much.

And so I pray. I pray for those hurting and for those who have lost. I pray for our world and for love to reign. I pray for peace and for comfort, for all and for me. And when I don't feel like I can pray, when I feel too angry or bitter or "what's the point?" to pray, I take a big breath, and take one more step, and say, "I know you can hear me, anyway, God, and I know you'll be there waiting when I can start up again."

And then I look outside and see new life. I look at my husband and my children and I see love and joy, and eventually a smile or a laugh comes from me. I remember that there is no sadness or pain in heaven, and that those I've lost are there together, and have faith that one day I'll see them again. And that brings me joy, too, in the sadness of missing them.

And I look for the helpers, and I look for ways to help. Whether that's donating money to charities providing aid, or directly to families, or being a shoulder for someone to cry on or cry with, or an ear to listen, or writing a note, or praying. Or doing more. Or all of the above. There is something I can do, no matter what my strength. Something you can do, no matter what your strength.

And this cycle starts all over again. Pray. Breathe. Take another step. Smile. Laugh. Cry. Pray. Breathe. Take another step ...

Cherish those you love, and let them know. Squeeze them tight and make some memories. 

And slowly, every day, there is light that comes out of the darkness. And there is morning after night. 


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