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When the days get busy, we’re always looking for a quick breakfast that we can grab as we run out the door. I know eating on the run is not healthy. But, I believe it’s better to eat on the run than to skip a meal, especially breakfast. I do believe I’ve heard rumor that it’s the most important meal of the day.

Sometimes I’ll make scones on the weekend and we’ll enjoy them throughout the week, walking to the train or driving to work. When there’s no time to bake scones, a piece of toast slathered in jam will do the trick. I’ve been looking for more options. Something more than toast, healthier than a scone, and more filling. This weekend, I think I hit upon just that….

Baked Oatmeal Squares
Introducing… oatmeal squares!

Fresh OatsThis was inspired by a blog post that I saw somewhere, and I can’t remember where. I’m sorry that I’m unable to credit the proper inspiration, I’ve gone back through my Reader, and scoured some of the regular blogs that I visit, and I can’t figure it out. But a few weeks ago, I saw some lovely pictures and skimmed a post. Then it sat in the back of my mind. This weekend, I woke up and decided to give it a go. With a basic concept, I concocted my own version of an oatmeal bar – perfect to eat fresh, or save for later, when you need to grab breakfast on the go. The best part, is you can make this ahead of time and heat them up right before you’re ready to serve. I think this would also make a nice make-ahead brunch dish to serve with eggs.

For those who don’t typically like oatmeal, this is a nice way to ease into this breakfast food. The bar is crunchy on the outside with the perfect combination of sweet and tart to prevent it from being boring.

Walnuts and Cranberries

Cranberry Walnut Oatmeal Squares

makes 12 squares (2-3 squares a serving)
2 c. old-fashioned oats
2 c. milk
1 1/4 c. water
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 c. cranberries (I used fresh, I imagine dried or frozen would also work)
1/2 c. walnuts (broken into pieces)
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon

1. Bring water and milk to a low boil in a medium saucepan. Stir to prevent milk from scorching or sticking.
Stir milk and water2. Add salt, oats, cranberries, walnuts, brown sugar and cinnamon.
3. Stir to combine.
Almost cooked oatmeal
4. Maintain at a simmer and stir periodically, until all liquid has been absorbed and oats are cooked.
5. Grease a baking dish with butter.
Pour oatmeal into prepared pan6. When oats are cooked, pour into baking dish and spread evenly.
Spread the oatmeal evenly
7. Let oats cool. This is a good time to clean up the saucepan. If left too long, oat-goo is really difficult to clean.
8. When your dish of oats has cooled enough to touch, cut into squares with a knife.
9. At this point, you have several options. You can put the squares away for later – maybe a fancy brunch the next morning?

Cut into squaresOption 1
10.1 Heat a frying pan with medium high heat. Melt pan with a small pat of butter.
11.1 When butter is good and hot, fry up a few of the oatmeal squares. They’ll become golden brown and crunchy.Fry oatmeal squares12.1 Flip squares and fry on the other side.
13.1 Enjoy squares with syrup, fresh fruit, or by themselves.Fried Oatmeal Squares

Option 2
10.2 Preheat oven to 350 F and prepare baking sheet with nonstick liner or parchment paper.
11.2 Separate squares and bake on cookie sheet for approx. 45 minutes until golden, flipping halfway through.
12.2 Serve with butter and jam
13.2 Save some for later and you can easily heat them up in the toaster to enjoy a warm oatmeal square as you’re running out the door.

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