Cranberry Date Baked Oatmeal

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Today is National Oatmeal Day and while some folks might not think oatmeal is worth celebrating, we think three cheers are in order. Oatmeal is nourishing and satisfying, and there is a variety and a flavor to suit all tastes.

My youngest son has a bowl of maple and brown sugar instant oatmeal before every school day. My husband prefers steel cut oats, made in batches and warmed in the microwave. This recipe, inspired by Mommypotamus, is a favorite of mine – I like its versatility. In the summer I make it with fresh berries and lemon zest. In the fall, I substitute maple syrup for the brown sugar and serve the baked oatmeal with ginger sauteed pears and toasted walnuts. During the winter months as fresh fruit drops off in quality, I turn to dried fruits and citrus zest. Baked oatmeal is hybrid of a cake and custard held together with oaty goodness. Cake for breakfast? What’s not to love?

When purchasing oats and oatmeal be sure to look for certified gluten-free oats. A health-giving food, oats are high in fiber and low on the glycemic index. The soluble fiber in oats can have a positive effect on heart health because it can help to reduce “bad” cholesterol. Happy Oatmeal Day!

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