Sunday, January 18, 2015


I made this again and now I have some blueberries...yumm!

When I was a child, my Ma-Maw Allie came to live with us.  She was an amazing cook and I, unfortunately, was such a picky eater when I was little.  Ugh...why?  She would make everything from scratch....things  like Fried Apple Pies in a cast iron skillet, Watermelon Rind Preserves, fresh Pinto Beans, and I would not have any part of it.  However, I remember her delicious fried shrimp, her amazing gumbo, and especially the yummy breakfasts she would cook me every morning!  She would wake me up and ask me what I wanted for breakfast.  I mean how spoiled could I get?!  She made the best pancakes and french toast ever.  One of my favorite things she would make though,  was oatmeal.  I loved it with 2 slices of toast.  I was only 10 when she passed away and I hate that I never really helped her cook or tried to like the things that I thought I didn't like because now I would give anything to have one of her fried pies!  Maybe growing up watching her and enjoying her love for making things fresh is where my love of cooking and cooking things from scratch came from.  
My Ma-Maw Allie, my mom, and myself....circa 1970.  I was about 7 years old here.

I have always made my oatmeal like my Ma-Maw Allie made it and that is with water and no milk. Now, I love it that way but I think I have found a way that I love it even more!  When my husband James and I went to Colorado recently with our friends Pat and Nita Hughes, we stayed at The Sonnenalp, a beautifully quaint, cozy, Bavarian resort in Vail.  We ate breakfast in the hotel and they had the most wonderful breakfast buffet.  I usually hate buffets, but this one was exceptional.  If you wanted something, it was on this buffet.  It took up an entire room!  It was there that I tried their oatmeal.  It was so creamy and almost velvety.  They had every kind of topping you could want.  Before this day,  I had always just ate my oatmeal with butter and sugar, maybe sometimes blueberries and/cinnamon.  This place had every kind of fresh and dried fruit you could want, almonds, walnuts, pecans, brown sugar, white sugar, coconut, flax seeds, sunflower seeds, etc.
It was then that I tried some oatmeal that was the best I have ever eaten.  I could not figure out why it was so good until the other day.  I was at home and sick and watching Barefoot Contessa on the Food Network (I am obsessed).  That day she was making her Sunday Morning Oatmeal and it looked just like what I had had at the Sonnenalp.
My husband and I in the beautiful Sonnenalp dining solarium.

James and I with our friends Nita and Pat at the Maroon Bells in Aspen.  

Well, I made that oatmeal this past Saturday morning and it was de-li-cious.  Finally, I found what was was the milk.  Milk in the oatmeal...I had never made it that way before, but now I know that it is what set the oatmeal apart at the Sonnenalp.  Makes so much sense, too.  I mean, that is what made it so creamy and so full of flavor.  

Now, I am going to post the recipe exactly the way Barefoot Contessa makes it.  But...I did not add everything she added.  I did my own thing like at the Sonnenalp.  Barefoot Contessa does not add butter, but I did.  She adds bananas, raisins, and dried cherries but I didn't have any so I didn't add those.  She also uses Maple Syrup as her sweetener but I used brown sugar.  Then I added what I could find in my pantry like dried cranberries, blueberries, pecans, and brown sugar.  Next time, I want to add the bananas, dried cherries, maybe some fresh blueberries, some cinnamon, raisins, next time.  The options are limitless.  Don't forget to add a little sprinkle of kosher salt before you take your first bite.  I love how the sweet and salty complement each other.  My friend Nita always reminds me to do that!

Only negative thing I can say is that my husband likes it better the old way...with just water.  Uh-oh...he might have to have to learn to like it this way! 

(Exactly the way Barefoot Contessa makes it)

1-1/2 cups Whole Milk

2 cups Water
1-1/2 cups Quick Cooking Oats (not instant)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 Banana, sliced
1/2 cup Dried Cherries
1/2 cup Golden Raisins
Pure Maple Sugar or Brown Sugar to sweeten

Heat the milk and water in a medium saucepan until it starts to simmer.

I know it doesn't call for butter but add me on this!

Add the oatmeal and salt, bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened.

Don't look for the banana because I didn't have one...(pic is so blurry you probably wouldn't see it anyway)

Off of the heat, stir in the banana, cherries, and raisins.  Place the lid on the pot and allow to sit for 2 minutes.

Serve hot with maple syrup or brown sugar and extra milk.


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