There was a time in my life when I thought waking up early in the morning was the worst thing that could happen to me. The alarm would go off, and I think I would hit snooze about an average of 4 or 5 times. It was almost like a sport of some kind, me versus the alarm. Who would win that day? I swear my college roommates would avoid me like the plague until I’d had at least two cups of coffee. And I’ll be honest, I totally wouldn’t blame them.
The last few months, something has been changing in me. I look forward to early mornings. I’d love to know why, but maybe it will only make sense with time. For now, I’m left with loving the sunrise, cool morning air, taking time eating breakfast with my husband, and my feet hitting the pavement before anyone else in my neighborhood during my run.
One of the best parts of mornings is the “carpe diem” thing. I wish that phrase was not cliché, because it truly is meaningful and something that is needed today. It’s somewhat of a mystery to me why and how seizing the day is different at 6 a.m. than 9 or 10 a.m., but for me there is a huge difference. Just like money, time seems to be something that is fluid and difficult to manage. It gets away from you so quickly!
Recently I’ve been thinking about the importance of having daily rhythms in my life. There’s even a book on my summer reading list that discusses how daily, weekly, monthly and annual rhythms to our lives are not just needed, but sacred. I’m hoping that this new morning routine will be a part of the rhythms of my life, including how I spend my time on those mornings.
In addition to running, prayer and spending time with my husband, I have an informal routine with what I eat. Just about every day I eat oatmeal for breakfast. Now before you jump the gun and think this sounds boring, let me just say that there are so many different options with oatmeal. There are steel-cut oats for a heartier, more “whole food” option. Then there are thick rolled oats, and instant oats for those days when I’m running late. I add everything from fresh berries, to honey or brown sugar, to walnuts or flax seeds, with cream or milk, and even sometimes I add peanut butter or chocolate chips. I realized all of my oatmeal options one time while visiting Sustainable Faith in Cincinnati, where they serve oatmeal in the mornings for retreaters with tons of amazing mix-ins.
This past week, after a 6-mile tempo run, I came home totally exhausted and had baked oatmeal. I’ve seen recipes for it before, but never tried baking it myself. In addition to how easy it was to make, this stuff was delicious for breakfast. And depending on how much fruit you add, it could almost be a breakfast cobbler of sorts. And who doesn’t need an excuse to have dessert for breakfast? Next time I think I might double the portion of berries, or try with mushed bananas.
I prepared the dry and wet ingredients the night before. Then I mixed them right when I got back from my run and popped it in the oven. It was so easy and tasted amazing after a run.
Baked Apple Blueberry Oatmeal
Adapted from Simply in Season
2 cups rolled oats
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons ground flax seed (or chopped walnuts, almonds or pecans)
1 cup milk
1/2 cup finely chopped apples
1/2 cup blueberries
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 egg (beaten)
Combine dry ingredients and wet ingredients in separate bowls. If preparing the night before, cover and put in refrigerator. When ready to prepare the next morning, combine two mixtures and stir until well incorporated. Lightly butter the bottom on an 8 x 8-inch baking pan. Bake in preheated oven at 350F for 25 minutes. Serve warm with milk.
Makes about 3 or 4 servings.