Crunchy Quinoa Baked Oatmeal with Caramelized Strawberries and Toasted Coconut.

I must preface this with a disclaimer: I am so not an oatmeal gal.

Well, wait. You might remember something. I AM an oatmeal gal. Like a Quaker oatmeal girl. Like a Quaker instant flavored packet oatmeal gal.

Tell me whatever you want… you will never convince me that those things are not delicious. Peaches and cream? Strawberries and cream!? It just gets better and better. You must make them with milk (vanilla almond, specifically) to truly appreciate their greatness. In our little circle of trust, I will tell you that I still purchase boxes of those and eat them for breakfast as a treat. (I just wrote tweet. Too much computer. I hope we can never eat tweets. This world. Ugh.)

One pack was never enough. I’ve always needed two to hold me over and man, now I am craving some like mad. No matter what, I can never replicate the wonderful artificial flavor that comes along with a hot (microwaved, mind you) bowl of instant oats.

So that’s my oatmeal story. I’ve tried to eat it the good old fashioned way but unless it is covered in a beautiful brown sugar blanket? No. Just no. And we’re talking like a half cup of brown sugar. Truth.

My husband has a different oatmeal story. He claimed to hate it for years, then about 15 months ago I made some from a recipe that I found somewhere, wishing I could like oatmeal just like other normal people on the planet. I loathed it. He loved it.

And you know what? He has eaten oatmeal EVERY SINGLE DAY since. Okay okay – at least every single weekday. You know he doesn’t vary from his everyday staples. Plain oatmeal, no sugar except for a banana, and a few eggs. Every day people. Every day. This is what I’m dealing with. And yeah, I have no idea why it bugs me that he eats the same things every day and I must throw stones while he is content. It’s apparent that I am a huge pain in the ass but I’m just like do you even knoooow all the different flavors and food and LIFE you are missing?!?!? Question marks?!?!

Oh well.

The only saving grace for me was this baked strawberry banana cream oatmeal I made last year. Before that, I preferred oats only in my cookies. Pretty much. And things aren’t THAT different these days, but I figured an oat/quinoa hybrid mix would work since I do like quinoa. Allll about the texture. FYI: this quinoa stays a little crunchy. Be prepared. I adore it.

Plus, what could be bad when you cover it in caramelized strawberries?

And toasted coconut?


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Crunchy Quinoa Baked Oatmeal with Caramelized Strawberries and Coconut

Yield: serves 4

Total Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
3/4 cups uncooked quinoa, rinsed
1/3 cup loosely packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cups canned lite coconut milk
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1 pint strawberries, stems removed
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened flaked coconut

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a large bowl, combine oats, rinsed quinoa, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Mix well to combine. In a smaller bowl, whisk together coconut milk, egg, vanilla extract and melted butter. Add the wet ingredients to the dry, then spread in a small baking dish or pie plate. (Mine was 9-inch in diameter.) Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until golden on top and set.

While baking, heat a skillet over medium-low heat and add butter. Add strawberries with a pinch of salt, tossing to coat. Cook until slightly golden then sprinkle with brown sugar and stir. Cook a few minutes more until soft and caramely. To toast coconut, add to a small saucepan over medium heat and stir for 5-6 minutes until golden. Remove immediately.

Top oatmeal with strawberries and coconut and whipped cream if desired. You can add a little extra splash of milk too!

Oh, and some coconut whipped cream. Which was leftover from something totally different that I’ll tell you about tomorrow. You may hate me.