Flashback Friday – Bacon Prayer

The following post appeared on BAH on 3 August 2009.

Prayer to Assist with the Enjoyment of Quality Bacon

O wonderous St. Anthony, please bless me with an abundance of quality bacon and grant me the patience and timing to properly fry each glorious strip. Amen.

I’ve fried my share of bacon over the years and I know that sometimes it does take the intercession of the Saints to keep things from going to hell in a handbasket. But I’ve learned that you don’t need the patience of a Saint to cook bacon. And you don’t need to spend hours degreasing your kitchen either. What’s my secret? My bacon never sees the inside of a frying pan anymore.

It may seem radical, but I cook my bacon in the oven. I got the idea from Ina, the Barefoot Contessa herself. And then I wondered why it never occurred to me before. It’s the perfect solution. All you need is a hot oven, a baking sheet, and a wire rack and you too can enjoy quality bacon. Amen.

Ina’s Oven Cooked Bacon

  • Thick cut slices of smoked bacon
  • Sheet pan
  • Wire cooling rack

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Place the wire cooling rack in the sheet pan and arrange the bacon on the rack in a single layer. Bake for 15 to 25 minutes until the bacon is browned and crisp. Drain on paper towels and enjoy.

{Printable Recipe}

Crunchy Granola

Back in my college days of the early 1990’s, Crunchy Granola was the phrase we used to describe someone who was a little, shall we say, outside the mainstream.  Of course, this was before the mainstream engulfed the ideas of conservation, ecological stewardship, grunge, or angst…often as a means of convincing consumers to part with their disposable income.  Wow, how jaded did that sound?  Or maybe I’ve just watched too much Mad Men for my own good.

Regardless, Crunchy Granola was not used in a complimentary manner at that point in my life.  Thankfully, through the kind intervention of Pork Cracklins, that has changed.

I came home one day to find a #lovebomb on my front porch.  Inside was a card that brightened my spirits, some lovely artisanal chocolate, and a batch of her homemade crunchy granola.  And right then and there, I changed my tune.

Crunchy Granola is not all sticks, hemp, and patchouli as life on the campus of UMBC from 1990 to 1994 indicated.  Crunchy Granola is perfectly baked oats and coconut that has been lightly sweetened, salted, and spiced before being married with dried fruits.  Actually, that is my idea of Crunchy Granola.  The beauty is that it can be anything you want it to be.  Nuts, other fruits, or even little bran like sticks if that’s your thing….they’re all good.

I’ve made this a number of times since that first #lovebomb encounter.  I make it by the gallon, or so it seems, and it’s never enough.

Crunchy Granola

Adapted from Serious Eats and Melissa Clark

BAH Note: Don’t make my mistake and add the dried fruit to the oats before the granola is cooked.  The fruit will end up rock hard and capable of doing some serious dental damage.

  • 3 – 4 cups rolled oats
  • 1 – 1 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon or 5 spice powder
  • 1 cup dried cherries
  • 1/4 cup crystallized ginger, finely chopped (optional)
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots, roughly chopped (optional)

Heat your oven to 300 degrees and line a half sheet pan with parchment.

In a large bowl, stir together the oats and coconut and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, cook the brown sugar, canola oil, maple syrup, spice, and salt over medium-low heat just until the sugar dissolves.  Use a spoon and carefully taste the sugar mixture.  If you want a saltier granola, add salt 1/4 teaspoon at a time until it is to your taste.  Pour the heated sugar mixture over the oats and coconut and stir with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon until the oats and coconut are thoroughly coated in the sugar mixture.

Or, if you prefer, skip this step entirely and just add the canola oil, brown sugar, maple syrup, salt, and spice to the bowl of oats and coconut.  Use a spoon, or your hands, to make sure everything is evenly combined.  Taste and adjust the salt and spice to your liking.

Spread the oat mixture onto the sheet pan and bake until the granola is golden and crunchy, anywhere from 60 to 90 minutes, stirring every 20 to 30 minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven, transfer the granola to a large bowl, and add in the dried fruit and ginger (if using).  Store in an airtight container.

{printable recipe}

ATK Buttermilk Waffles

I’ve been wracking my brain to come up with ideas about how The Mistah and I can finance an adoption without sending ourselves to the poor house.  The economy is tight with some people unable to find jobs at all so the likelihood of me finding a second job, any second job, isn’t promising.

I thought about opening up an Etsy shop.  But after a quick check of the competition, I determined that I would have to sell something like 10,000 jars of jam in order to turn enough of a profit to make it a viable option.  Really Etsy people, how can you sell a jar of jam for $3 or $4 dollars?  By the time you add up all of your supply costs and account for your time to make the product, does that price even cover those?

I’ve got an extensive portfolio of (mainly food) photos.  It would be ideal if I could turn them into “boutique” note cards.  I’ve got to think about that one a little more.

It’s seriously too bad that I can’t do a waffle fundraiser.  Because I have what may very well be the most perfect waffle recipe.  It pains me to say that it is an America’s Test Kitchen recipe.  It pains me, but it doesn’t surprise me.  They nailed this one.  The outside of the waffle is beautifully crisp while the inside is achingly tender.  It is a perfect balance.

These are what waffles aspire to be.  These waffles are money.  I just wish there was a way for me to turn them into actual money.

ATK Buttermilk Waffles

Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen

BAH: Despite the temptation to dig right into these waffles, let them sit in a warm oven for 10 minutes.  Your patience will be rewarded with a perfectly crisp exterior.

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/4 cups plain seltzer water (not sparkling water or club soda)

Heat your oven to 250 degrees, set a wire rack inside a sheet pan and place it in the oven. Heat your waffle iron.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, buttermilk powder, and baking soda.

In a separate bowl, whisk the sour cream, eggs, vanilla, and oil until thoroughly combined.  Slowly add the seltzer water to the wet mixture and gently stir to combine.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry.  Gently stir the batter until it is just combined. A few lumps and streaks of flour are ok.

Cook the waffles according to your waffle iron’s directions.  Transfer the cooked waffles to the warm oven to rest for 10 minutes before serving.

{printable recipe}

Bran Muffins

This is the tale of two muffins.  Two bran muffins.  On the surface, they are completely identical.  I used the exact same recipe for both batches of muffins.  So what could possibly be different about them?  I’ll give you a hint, it has everything to do with how I baked them.

One muffin was baked in my big oven.  400 degrees for 20 minutes.  The other muffin was baked in my Advantium.  380 degrees for 16 to 18 minutes.  One muffin was made on a lazy afternoon.  The other muffin was made after a long day of work.  Can you tell which is which?

I typically avoid baking on weeknights because I’m tired, I’m cranky, and it’s tiresome to have to haul out all of the pots and pans that live in the oven in order to heat it up and bake something.  But after the Advantium arrived, I wanted to challenge myself to see if its super powers could make baking accessible to me during the week.

The proof is in the picture.  The muffin on the right is from the batch that I made on a Thursday night.  It helped that the recipe I used was minimally fussy and didn’t require me to break out the stand mixer, let the batter rest, or otherwise allow me to get sidetracked from my muffin mission.  It also helped that I halved the original recipe and only baked up a dozen of these on a weeknight.  Sometimes the smaller capacity of the Advantium totally works to my advantage.

So the two muffins may look the same, but how did they taste?  If I hadn’t known which batch of muffins of which, I wouldn’t have been able to tell you which came out of the big oven and which came out of the Advantium.

Weeknight baking mission accomplished.

Bran Muffins

Adapted from The Muffin Myth

BAH Note: There’s nothing fussy about these muffins.  They are full of wheat bran which I was readily able to find in the grocery store.  Look for Bob’s Red Mill brand.  I think they are the bran muffin equivalent of a blank canvas…sturdy and up for the job but they aren’t out to wow you.  So you might want to add in some fresh fruit and spices you like to give them a little something special.

Advantium Tip: To modify the recipe below for use in your Advantium, place the metal cooking tray on the turntable (instead of the glass tray) and install the wire rack in the bottom position.  Select Convection Bake from the menu and set the temperature to 380 degrees.  You will want to start checking for doneness after about 15 minutes.  Depending on how full you’ve filled your cups, the muffins should be done in approximately 16 to 18 minutes.

  • 1 cup applesauce
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 cups wheat bran
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Heat your oven to 400 degrees and line approximately 18 muffin cups with liners.  Mix the applesauce, brown sugar, eggs, milk, water, and vanilla together in a large bowl.  Combine the wheat bran, flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in another bowl.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir until just combined.

Using an ice cream scoop, fill your muffin cups (the muffin myth said she got 12 out of the recipe but I made mine a bit smaller and got about 18) and bake for 20 minutes or until the tops are firm.

Cool in the pan for 15 minutes before turning the muffins out on a wire rack to cool completely.  Leftover muffins can be wrapped in plastic and frozen.

{priable recipe}

Disclaimer:  As part of my partnership with GE, I received an Advantium oven.  All opinions posted about my Advantium experience are my own.

Pumpkin Bread

You may feel like you’re experiencing a bit of deja vu seeing that photo.  Yes, you saw it when I talked about the quick bread frosting I made with the new Kerrygold Premium Spreadable Butter.  You even got the recipe for the frosting.  But I didn’t really talk about what was under the frosting.  And that must be addressed.

Back in October I was introduced to this pumpkin bread by my friend Mary.  She stopped by for a visit and brought along a wee loaf of it for me to enjoy.  Now let me say that a visit from friends is an absolute pleasure.  But when they also come bearing gifts lovingly made with their own hands….multiply that by infinity.

After only one bite I was badgering Mary for her recipe.  And she told me that she had found it on allrecipes.com.  A few google moments later, I pulled the recipe up on my phone and had her confirm that I found the right one before I could continue in any kind of normal conversation.

A few weeks later, I went about making the pumpkin bread not knowing the chain of events that it was about to start.  First, I used it as the delivery vehicle for the quick bread frosting as part of the Kerrygold competition.  Then, I took some to work for a birthday celebration….congratulations, you’re a year older, please have a slice of quick bread.  I also delivered a loaf to the folks at the coffee shop who get my morning caffeination needs met Monday through Friday and to my chiropractor and his staff for taking such good care of me after the latest fender bender.  Lastly, I sent the rest of the batch off to the Headquarters staff of my sorority to thank them for all of their support in the last few months.

Yes, I was using butter, sugar, and pumpkin to express my thanks and appreciation.  Or in the case of the competition, to share my #butterlove…it’s what I do.  And I do it for the joy that I receive from the act of expressing my gratitude or sharing my love of something with others.  It’s as simple as that.  But sometimes, that gratitude has a way of being returned to me.  Take the Headquarters staff.  They had no idea that a lovebomb was coming their way.  When it arrived, it made them feel special.  And it could have ended there with their enjoyment of the pumpkin bread and cookies.  But they took a moment to sit down and write me a note to tell me how much they enjoyed the treats and to thank me for thinking of them.  It made my heart smile.

And then, most unexpectedly, my chiropractor asked me whether I sell any of the things I bake because he had 16 guests coming for Thanksgiving and wanted to include the pumpkin bread in their holiday meal.  If I hadn’t been so relaxed and dreamy from the adjusting he was doing, I would have probably laughed because it has never been my ambition to do the cooking and baking as my profession.  On the contrary, I do it as a bit of personal therapy.  So I told him that what I don’t keep for our personal enjoyment I give away.  And then I asked whether I could give him a batch of pumpkin bread for his Thanksgiving.  Because really, is there a bigger honor than being asked to share something I have made with someone’s family for Thanksgiving?  In that moment, I felt the Universe beaming my gratitude back to me.

I can’t promise you that this pumpkin bread will bring you fame or fortune.  But it just might bring you a bit of gratitude when it’s least expected.

Pumpkin Bread

Adapted from allrecipes.com

BAH Note: Go ahead and bake up two batches like I did…the quantities below make a single batch. Because according to Mary, the loaves freeze beautifully.  So even if you plan on giving most of it away, stash a well wrapped loaf or two in your freezer for your own enjoyment.   You  will likely need to mix each batch separately, unless you’ve got a ginormous mixing bowl.  And be sure that you’re using canned pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling.

  • 1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter and flour six 3×5 disposable aluminum loaf pans and set them on a baking sheet.

In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, water, and sugar until combined.

In a separate bowl, using a clean whisk or a fork, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices.

Stir the flour mixture into the pumpkin mixture until they are just combined.  Pour the batter into the loaf pans and bake for 40 to 50 minutes, rotating your pan halfway through the cooking time, until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.

Transfer the loaves to a rack to cool completely before wrapping in several layers of plastic wrap for freezer storage.

{printable recipe}

Kerrygold Fruit Butter

Today marks my last Kerrygold Premium Spreadable Butter tip for the contest.  And it picks up with the spiced butter that I used in the Kerrygold Cardamom Toast.  I had a bit of it leftover, despite several spoonfuls that went into my mouth for “quality control purposes”.  I also had waffles on the menu and saw an opportunity to take that spiced butter to the next level by simply adding one thing…jam.

This particular batch of raspberry jam didn’t fully set so it was a cross between syrup and jam.  So if you happen to have either jam or maybe some syrup hiding out in your pantry, stir a teaspoon or two into that spiced butter.  Without breaking a sweat, you’ve made a fancy compound butter that will melt into the recesses of your waffle.  It is also an equal opportunity topping for other breakfast foods such as pancakes, scones, crumpets, and toast.

Official Disclosure: Kerrygold provided me with their Premium Spreadable Butter and Premium Spreadable Reduced Fat Butter to use in developing these tips as part of a contest.  The opinions, and #butterlove, expressed here are my own.

Kerrygold Cardamom Toast

Today’s Kerrygold Premium Spreadable Butter tip takes me back with an updated spin on a childhood favorite….cinnamon toast.  I have memories of slices of bread that were toasted, buttered, and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar.  I also have memories of the cinnamon sugar ending up all over my plate because the butter just couldn’t hold it.  Melted butter lacks the muscle to grab onto the cinnamon sugar and turn it into a crisp, crunchy layer of deliciousness.  My friends, with only a few minor substitutions, you can take your cinnamon toast from drab to fab.  And Kerrygold Premium Spreadable Butter is here to help you.

First, you’re going to take that butter and out of fridge and scoop out a couple of tablespoons.  Try doing that with a regular stick of butter.  Put the butter into a small bowl, set an oven rack in the top position, and heat your oven to 350 degrees.

Next, take your spice of choice.  Cinnamon sugar is lovely but I am head over heels in love with cardamom sugar.  You can make your own or buy it online.  Let’s just say I buy mine in bulk.  Start adding the spiced sugar about a teaspoon at a time to the butter and work it in with a fork.  Again, try doing that with a regular stick of butter straight from the fridge.

Taste a bit of the spiced butter.  Do you want more spice flavor?  Then keep adding  your spiced sugar and tasting until it is how you want it.  While your oven continues to heat up, line a sheet pan with parchment and butter your bread slices.  Make sure you get a good layer of the spiced butter on the bread and that it goes all the way to the edges.  Place the bread, butter side up, on the parchment.

Bake for 10 minutes and then switch the oven over to broil.  Broil for a few more minutes,  carefully moving the pan around if necessary, until the top of the bread is bubbly and browned without being charred.

Enjoy immediately.

Official Disclosure: Kerrygold provided me with their Premium Spreadable Butter and Premium Spreadable Reduced Fat Butter to use in developing these tips as part of a contest.  The opinions, and #butterlove, expressed here are my own.

Flashback Friday – Alton Brown’s Overnight Oatmeal

Flashback Friday

The following originally appeared on 2/16/09 at Exit 51.

Alton Brown’s Overnight Oatmeal

My introduction to the Food Network came courtesy of Alton Brown and Good Eats.  In thirty minutes, he not only presents multiple recipes, but he explains the “why” of it all.  I guess I’m not the only person who wants to understand the how and why of the kitchen.  Did I mention he makes it entertaining?  Props and skits illustrate concepts or give brief history lessons.  At the end of a show, I feel like I’ve really learned something and I get new recipes too.  Five years of college and all I can show you is  an unframed degree and student loan payment coupons….I definitely think I’m getting a better value from Mr. Brown.


Since those early days with AB, I’ve branched out to other FN personalities, but Alton remains a favorite.  One recipe that I go back to over and over is his Overnight Oatmeal.  I’ve made this so many times, and it’s so simple, that I no longer pull out the recipe.  With only a few minutes of active prep and a crock pot set to low, I can have a week’s worth of breakfast at the ready. For a non-morning person such as myself, this is gold.

In a different life, maybe I would have the time, or inclination, or personal chef to make a full on breakfast each and every day.  But as it is, I’m lucky to get out of the house dressed and fed each morning.  So anything that saves me time is welcome.  And unlike packaged cereals, I know EXACTLY what is in the food.  No trans fat this, or high fructose corn syrup that.  No guessing needed.

Really, what’s not to love about this recipe?  It’s quick.  It’s easy.  It’s open to countless interpretations.  It may not be the most glamorous dish to hit your table, but not every meal has to look like it came from the five star kitchen of the celebrity chef du jour.

AB’s recipe is below.  I use whatever dried fruit I happen to have on hand – dried apples or dried peaches work very well.  You use what you like.  I also add about one half cup of unsweetened applesauce to the crock pot to give a little more moisture. If you have a cinnamon stick, throw it in crock pot.  Just be sure to remove it before serving.  Serve with a bit of brown sugar, preserves,  jam, or syrup for a hint of sweetness.  Leftovers keep in the fridge for about a week.  To reheat, thin with a bit of milk, stir to combine, and microwave for about 90 seconds.

AB's Overnight Oatmeal

Alton Brown’s Overnight Oatmeal

  • 1 cup steel cut oats (not quick cooking)
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup dried figs
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/2 cup milk or half-and-half

In a slow cooker, combine all ingredients and set to low heat. Cover and let cook for 8 to 9 hours.

Stir and remove to serving bowls. This method works best if started before you go to bed. This way your oatmeal will be finished by morning.

Overnight French Toast

Some recipes are like shooting stars.  They pass before my eyes too quickly to capture on film.  Overnight French Toast falls into that category.  Hence, the pictogram up there.

Here’s how OFT and I came to meet.  I made Nick Malgieri’s Brioche and I would find myself looking for any excuse to have a slice as long as it was in the house.  Having bread near me is dangerous.  So I needed an exit strategy…fast.

Enter Alexandra’s Kitchen and her Overnight French Toast.  I had a hunch that Nick’s brioche would make a perfect canvas for baked custardy goodness…and maybe some blueberry syrup…to fancy up a Saturday morning breakfast.  So with a little bit of prep the night before, and after a warm up before hitting the oven, I was rewarded with a scrumptious, hot dish of baked french toast.

The Mistah and I plowed through it so quickly that it was all gone before I realized there was no photographic evidence of its existence.  But unlike shooting stars and comets, you don’t have to wait indefinitely to experience Overnight French Toast.

Overnight French Toast

Adapted from Alexandra’s Kitchen

BAH Note: Don’t want to wait overnight for your French Toast?  Prep everything before you leave in the morning and voila, Overnight French Toast for dinner at the end of the day.

  • 1 loaf brioche or other dense bread
  • 1/2 stick butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 2/3 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (or vanilla salt if you have some)
  • 3 tablespoons sugar

Slice off six slices of bread approximately one inch thick.  Cut the slices in half so that they are easier to arrange in the dish.

Butter the inside of a 9×13 baking dish and one side of each slice of bread.  Place the bread, buttered side up, in the dish.

Whisk the eggs, milk, vanilla, sugar, and salt together in a bowl.  Pour the custard over the bread and let it rest in the refrigerator, covered, at least an hour or overnight until the bread absorbs the custard.

40 minutes before you are ready to bake, remove the dish from the refrigerator to let it come to room temperature.  Bake at 425 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes or until the bread is puffed and golden brown.

Serve immediately with syrup.

{printable recipe}

Heidi’s Baked Oatmeal

Oatmeal is a frequent guest at our table.  It’s usually the overnight, crock pot variety because I can’t be trusted not to hit the snooze button (three or four times) in the morning.  Since that leaves very little time for fixing a proper breakfast from scratch, you can often find us reheating a portion of the crock pot oatmeal and fancying it up with dried fruit or jelly.

I printed out a few different recipes for baked oatmeal because The Universe sent me to them and sometimes you just need to shake things up a little bit.  I know that crock pot oatmeal is  reliable but that doesn’t mean that I can’t check out the competition.  So yes, I cheated on my breakfast.  I cheated on something that has never let me down; something that has been nothing but loyal to me.  And for what?  A little excitement?  A little newness?

Maybe it’s the guilt talking but as I got to know a few different incarnations of Baked Oatmeal, I couldn’t help but compare it to Crock Pot Oatmeal.  One was lifeless and dull; not even worth the trouble of turning on the oven to bake.  While another made me want to actually get up an hour earlier a couple of times a week to ensure a constant Baked Oatmeal supply. So what did I decide?  As much as it pains me to say this, I have to stay in my long term relationship with Crock Pot Oatmeal.  I blame that choice on butter, maple syrup, milk, and eggs.  Because those are the things that make me want to inhale an entire batch of Heidi’s Baked Oatmeal in a single sitting.  Those are also the same things that contribute to my expanding bottom line.

I suppose it’s possible to tweak this oatmeal so it’s more bottom line friendly.  But the thought of doing so results in Sad Wendi Face.  {tangent} For a 40 year old, it is not a good look. {end tangent}  Besides, that would be like telling yourself that it’s ok not to maximize your potential.  And how hard was the lesson about living up to our potential drilled into our collective heads?  Far be it for me to say that your baked oatmeal shouldn’t be all it could be.

So maybe instead of messing with a good thing (a la New Coke), this just needs to be elevated to Limited Edition status.  Hey, that sounds rather important and fancy doesn’t it?  Exactly like the baked oatmeal that has fulfilled it maximum oatmeal potential.

I guess the only question left is who wants to be the first person to come to my house for Heidi’s Limited Edition Baked Oatmeal?

Heidi’s Baked Oatmeal

Adapted from Heidi Swanson, as posted by Lootie + Doof

BAH Note: I had to tell The Mistah that he could not have seconds of this the morning I made it.  I wanted there to be leftovers.  But to be honest, I wanted to go back for seconds myself.  Without some self control, I could easily see us eating an entire batch of this in a single day….don’t judge until you’ve tried it.

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (vanilla salt, if you have it, is perfect here)
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 bananas, cut into 1/2″ slices, optional
  • 1 1/2 cups blueberries

Heat the oven to 375 degrees and grease an 8″ baking dish.

Combine the oats, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in a bowl.  In a separate bowl, combine the maple syrup, milk, egg, vanilla, and half of the melted butter.

Arrange the banana slices, if using, on the bottom of your dish along with 1 cup of the blueberries.  Cover the fruit with the oatmeal and then add the milk mixture to the baking dish.  Add the remaining blueberries to the top of the dish and bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until the oats have set and the top is golden brown.

Drizzle the remaining melted butter over the top of the oatmeal and let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

{printable recipe}