It’s been a crazy past few months. Fires in California and natural disasters in Houston, Puerto Rico, and Florida destroyed everything in their path, reducing family homes to nothing. The recent mass murder in Las Vegas left many of us questioning all that is good. A few months ago a hate rally inspired terror and fear in Charlottesville. And it goes on. The news is utterly tragic, to say the least. The other day I was in the grocery store and a woman with a little girl stopped to smile at Larson. Larson’s face lit up and he held the girl’s hand for a moment. “The news is so depressing. Why can’t things like this be on the news?”, the woman asked me. I laughed. But really, with all darkness and devastation, can’t two sweet babes holding hands in the grocery store make headlines, just once?
Did you know that our human brains are more affected by negative events than positive ones? It’s the negative things that happen to us that are the ones we remember best. There’s a biological reason for it (it helps us flee from and avoid danger), but it can also be challenging to overcome. It’s why out of 99 positive compliments, we remember the 1 criticism. We’re wired that way.
It’s necessary to make space and time to grieve these events. But once we’re ready, to balance the current bleak outlook we can consciously meditate on the positive. I’m grateful to see so many amazing ways to help the victims of these tragedies. Almost immediately, companies and non-profits and everyday people are giving back. Even in a country that feels incredibly divided, people are coming together. That gives me hope. And instead of descending into a hole of depression, we can gather loved ones close and cherish each other. We can come together for Sunday brunch or movie nights or bike rides and enjoy each other’s company. We can talk about our fears, our hopes and dreams for a world where there is more peace and compromise and listening and less division and confusion and fear.
This recipe, then, is one for those gatherings. It’s a baked steel cut oatmeal recipe based on our favorite pumpkin pecan baked steel cut oatmeal. Best of all, it’s an idea brought to us by a reader, Heather E. Heather let us know that she makes our pumpkin baked steel cut oatmeal often, so often that she’s created a few other “flavors”. When she mentioned a carrot cake version, I knew we needed to try it out. And just as I imagined, it’s cozy and comforting: flecked with orange carrots, and flavored with cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Heather suggested another tweak from the original: feeling “too lazy” to melt butter, she substituted olive oil and found the flavor of the baked steel cut oatmeal was just as delicious. Since I’m all about lazy hacks, we included the olive oil in this version and loved it.
This baked steel cut oatmeal takes over an hour to put together, so make sure to make it when you have plenty of time. However, the leftovers save well and make for a healthy breakfast recipe that lasts throughout the week. It’s also a nice make-ahead dish for a special brunch. Since we’re not able to cook for you all in person, consider this our cozy fall treat, virtually. Sending warm thoughts to all.
Special thanks to Heather E. for the inspiration for this recipe!
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This recipe is…
Vegetarian and gluten-free. For dairy-free, use almond milk.Print
Serves more as part of a large brunch spread; less if eating as the main event.
- 3 large carrots
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large egg
- 2 cups 2% milk (or almond milk)
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1½ teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup raw steel cut oats
- 1/3 cup pecan pieces
- Preheat the oven to 375F. Grease a 8×8 or 9×9 baking dish.
- Peel and finely grate the carrots, enough for 1 1/2 cups.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the olive oil, egg, milk, maple syrup and vanilla extract.
- In a small bowl, stir together the cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, baking powder and kosher salt. Pour into the bowl with the wet ingredients and whisk to combine. Stir in the steel cut oats.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish, then mix in carrots and spread them around evenly. Cover the pan loosely with foil.
- Bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil then sprinkle with pecans. Bake another 30 to 35 minutes until set. Serve warm, or refrigerate and eat leftovers for several days. (Note: Our pumpkin pecan steel cut baked oatmeal is best cold, but this version is best warm or room temperature. Leftovers store well and can be reheated.)
About the Authors
Cookbook Author and writer
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Cookbook Author and photographer
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.