For the last couple of weeks, I have been amazed by the quality of berries sold in our not-so-supermarkets on Virgin Gorda. Usually, by the time they make it here, they are moldy, bruised, and decidedly un-fresh looking.
Even with a low-quality product, the vendors here often decide not to reflect that on the price tag. I do understand that getting things to a small island in the middle of the Caribbean adds to the cost of products. However, as a consumer, even though sometimes I really need it, I find it hard to get myself to pay a higher than fair price for a poor quality ingredient.
I also must mention that, in most cases, you do not even know how much it is until you take the item to the cashier. Pretty much right after we moved to Virgin Gorda, I learned that most stores on the island do not place a price tag on their products. If you want to know the price of an item, you are required to take it to the cashier and wait for him/her to find the price from a pile of papers that lists the price of every single item being sold in the supermarket.
So last week, when I decided to bite the bullet and buy 2 pints of blackberries to make this Baked Crunchy Blackberry Oatmeal, I was pleasantly surprised to find out at the register that they were not that expensive. So much so, that I think I used to pay something similar when I was living in Atlanta.
At that moment, I felt something that I hadn’t experienced for a very long time. In a place where everything generally costs more than what I was used to paying in the States, I had long forgotten that feeling of accomplishment you get when you score a deal.
I had to stop her from completing the transaction so I could grab a couple of more pints. I even decided to buy some strawberries, even though I had no intentions of using strawberries for this recipe.
The best part of it was that they were fresh and had no mold on them.
So the berries you see in these pictures are those berries. And to me, they are what make this Baked Crunchy Blackberry Oatmeal so delicious.
I also love the fact that it is (1) easy to put together, (2) healthy with no granulated sugar, and (3) a great alternative to your regular weekday oatmeal. The crunchiness that comes from the assortment of nuts like sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and hazelnuts is such a nice surprise in every bite. Not to mention, the smell in your kitchen as it is baking is incredible.
If you happen to live in an area where you can easily find fresh berries, might I suggest you go get some and make this dish for your next weekend breakfast
I promise, you will not be disappointed.
Baked Crunchy Blackberry Oatmeal
- 1 teaspoon coconut oil
- 2 cups fresh blackberries
- 1 cup fresh strawberries chopped
- 2 cups rolled oats
- 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- pinch of coarse sea salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup agave nectar or honey
- 1/2 cup unsalted pumpkin seeds
- 1/4 cup hazelnuts
- 1/4 cup unsalted sunflower seeds
- Preheat oven to 375 Degrees.
- Grease the bottom of a medium size (I used 6X10 or you could also use 8X10) casserole dish with the coconut oil.
- Place the blackberries and strawberries at the bottom of the casserole dish. Spread the rolled oats evenly on top.
- Place the almond milk in a mixing bowl. Whisk in the eggs, baking powder, ground ginger, salt, vanilla extract, and agave nectar.
- Pour the mixture over the berries and ground oats. Everything should evenly be soaked in the liquid mixture.
- Spread the nuts equally on top, making sure that it covers the whole dish.
- Baked 35-40 minutes.
- Allow it to cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.
Recipe is adapted from David Frenkiel & Luise Vindahl’s cookbook The Green Kitchen: Delicious and Healthy Vegetarian Recipes for Every Day .