I’m in the process of moving right now, which means every spare moment I get between work and sleep is spent enveloping my belongings in bubble wrap and stuffing them into various boxes strewn across my apartment.
It also means purging – something that a lot of people embrace when it comes time to move. I’ll admit decluttering can be a bit freeing. By getting rid of the crap you carry around, you’re admitting that you’ve moved on. You’re accepting that you’re no longer the person you were when you kept these things. It’s almost like a physical reminder that you’ve changed.
But for the most part, I find this emotionally tiring. I attach emotions to these obscure objects – a fleeting memory or feeling is associated with every receipt or grubby pair of shoes found lurking in my closet.
This shouldn’t be difficult for me by now: this will be my sixth move in as many years. But it doesn’t get any easier, the act of dismantling my home, stuffing it in a truck and transporting it somewhere new.
This is an exciting move, though, one of new beginnings. For the past year, I’ve been holed up in a tiny basement apartment in a dreary suburb outside of Toronto. If you’ve ever had the displeasure of living in a basement before, then you know what I mean when I say I’ve been suffering from the “basement effect.” Quite simply it’s the result of living two feet from the furnace, underground, with two prison-size windows providing the only measly bit of natural light available.
So obviously I am extremely excited that in less than three weeks, I will be above ground, within the actual city limits, in a beautiful apartment with real windows in a real Toronto neighborhood.
But at the moment, that doesn’t make packing any easier.
I go in bouts, where one of my different packing styles (hoarder or purger) takes over, and I’m either saving every little do-dad and dust bunny, or I’m considering chucking my passport because I haven’t used it in two years.
All of this packing and purging is taking a toll on my eating habits, as I haven’t had a whole lot of time to prepare balanced meals, and, quite frankly, most of my pots and pans are in boxes right now. As a result, I’ve been eating a whole lot of oatmeal. First it was straight-up oats and milk, then I quickly tired of that and added some cinnamon and chopped apple. That was a hit for week or two, and now I’ve moved on to this beautiful and oh-so-sweet baked version.
It’s extremely easy to make, and will keep in the fridge for a week, so you’ll always have it on hand when you need an energy boost (or, in my case, dinner).
Peach & Blueberry Baked Oatmeal
Makes 12 servings.
Large rectangle baking dish
Medium mixing bowl
Measuring cup and spoons
Olive oil cooking spray
3 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp ground flaxseeds
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp sea salt
1 cup chopped fresh, jarred/canned or frozen (thawed) peach slices, drained
1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries, thawed
2 cups milk
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
2 tsp pure maple syrup, plus additional for garnish
1 tsp vanilla yogurt for garnish
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Mist a large rectangle baking dish with cooking spray.
2. In a medium bowl, combine oats, brown sugar, flaxseeds, cinnamon, baking powder and salt. Transfer to dish and shake to distribute evenly. Top with peaches and blueberries. In bowl, whisk milk, eggs, vanilla and maple syrup until combined. Pour over top of oatmeal mixture, gently hitting bottom of dish on your counter a few times so milk distributes into oats.
3. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until golden and edges begin to brown. Let cool. To serve, cut into squares and top with additional maple syrup and yogurt, or serve in a bowl with milk and sugar.