Slow. And Baked Apple Pie Oats.

May 24, 2014

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This week I was sick. Big deal, right? It happens to all of us. And I wasn’t really sick, hell, I’ve worked in hospitals before, I know what sick is. Having the flu is inconvenient. I had to reschedule clients and next week I’ll be busy catching up, it’s uncomfortable and I went through a lot of tissues and tea, but really it’s no big deal. And honestly, I’m thankful for it. It was a week of slow.

I’m pretty good at living a slow life. I happily buck this trend we seem to have of glorifying being busy. I’ve figured out what I need to be happy and it’s not too much, really. Family, health, time, love. That’s all I need.

But there’s more to this recipe, isn’t there? We often have these things – family, health, time, love – especially when we’re young and fit and fortunate and full of hope and dreams. The thing is, we don’t always stop to appreciate what we have. We look ahead, we want more, sometimes striving for things that aren’t even related to that which we need to be happy. Recently I’ve caught myself a little distracted, worrying about things that don’t really deserve my energy, my time. This week drew me back to slow.

It’s a strange age we live in. Who says we need to achieve X by the age of Z because you need Y in order be happy? These external standards, dictations, don’t really sit right with me. I’m currently reading a great book on writing by Anne Lamott called Bird by Bird. Anne states little financial success (and often even personal satisfaction) comes from being a published writer, rather its true value, its true beauty, lies in the act of writing every day. This is where you find happiness and satisfaction in writing, this very personal journey of daily journaling and creating. And that’s really stuck with me. These little slow moments that make up our days, they are what make for a happy and lived life. And to be present for them, through the good and the bad, the ups and the downs, that is the real achievement.

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Talking with my dear friend, Lucy, and receiving a few comments from close friends (and even people I’ve just met) have made me realise that this slow practice I cherish and strive for is not something we all do. But when speaking on what makes us happy, we all seem to wish to be…slower. There should always be time for a stroll in the woods, for a phone call to your grandmother, for reading a chapter of a book with a cup of tea…or whatever it is that makes your heart full. There’s so much beauty in the every day, if we don’t stop to appreciate it, before we know it our days will have passed without really living them.

Some are busier than others, we’re all in different life stages and not everyone can live in a perpetual state of slow. We don’t all have the luxury of spending an entire day making a pie. But we can stop and take stock of a few areas in our lives that are not contributing to our happiness, listen a little more intently to our heart and reassess. And then edge ourselves that little bit closer to having joy in our every day with a few slow, mindful moments. The amount of pleasure that can come from mindfully drinking a cup of coffee in the morning should not be underestimated and should not be dismissed.

Yes, I really think there’s something to this slow life business. Losing my brother 6 years ago has taught me that this time of ours is precious and it goes too fast. We need to slow down and live.

Time for a recipe? How about some baked apple pie oats? It feels like good living.

I’ve made this recipe a few times now and this is my most favourite version, a completely comforting breakfast meal for those cooler months. The melted butter really is a stupendous addition, and indeed I do notice a difference in texture and flavour when it is absent. Soaking the oats for 30 minutes while your oven pre-heats and you do a little yoga or take a shower really does see a better, creamier dish, too. Soaking is now mandatory oat behaviour in my house. Other than that, have fun with the ingredients – mix up the nuts, perhaps, add a touch more spice if you like, through in some sunflower seeds, as you wish…

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Baked Apple Pie Oats

Inspired by Heidi Swanson‘s Baked Oatmeal

Serves 2-3

Ingredients
250g Apples (I used a mix of little Jonathons, Golden Delicious and Johnny Golds, as that is what was leftover from my parents’ cider adventures)
20g Unsalted Butter, plus extra to grease the dish
1 cup Rolled Oats
1 cup and 2 tablespoons Full Cream Milk
1 Egg, lightly whisked
2 teaspoons Pure Maple Syrup
2 tablespoons chopped, toasted Almonds
1 tablespoon Organic Sultanas
1/2 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
A pinch of freshly grated Nutmeg
A pinch of ground Ginger
A small pinch of Sea Salt

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and soak your oats in the milk for 30 minutes in a mixing bowl. Lightly grease a 17cm pie dish with butter.
2. Meanwhile, slice your apples into thin rounds as per the pictures. Heat a large pan over low-medium heat and add half of the butter. You’re going to want to cook the apples in as much of a single layer as possibly so they evenly brown and don’t stew. You might need to do this in 2 batches. Cook the apples on both sides until soft and golden and sweet (a couple of minutes each side). Place them in the bottom of the pie dish in a flat layer, reserving a few for the top of the dish.
3. Melt the remaining butter in a small saucepan.
4. Add the egg, melted butter, 1 teaspoon maple syrup, the almonds, sultanas, spices and salt to the oat and milk mixture, and stir to combine. Pour this mixture over the apples, smoothing it out so it is flat.
4. Top with the reserved apple slices and drizzle with the remaining teaspoon of maple syrup, then bake in the oven for ~30-40 minutes until golden and plump. Let it sit for a few minutes before serving alongside some Greek yoghurt.

 

Heidi xo

 

 

 

 

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  • Lisa May 24, 2014 at 10:02 am

    Hope you are on the mend soon x

    I certainly need to embrace the “We need to slow down and live” mentality a bit – as I am frequently complaining there is not enough ‘time’!!!

    And this recipe – looks scrumptious!!!!

    • Heidi May 28, 2014 at 4:55 pm

      Time goes so fast!! I know the feeling x

  • Cate May 24, 2014 at 10:58 am

    Amazing! Must try this sometime. Could not agree with you more, I am actively trying to embrace more “slow” in my life, especially in cooking (part of my anti-Thermomix sentiment stems from this). I think having a little one makes me realise truly how fast the days fly by and makes me sad that it’s going too quickly, and want to just be in the moment with her. Hope you are feeling better soon xx

    • Heidi May 28, 2014 at 4:55 pm

      Yes, the little ones do it so well, don’t they? x

  • Sharon May 24, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    Just reading your blog slows me down Heidi – really! I absolutely love your writing. Right now at 4pm on a Saturday afternoon, I’m snuggled under the doona reading my book club’s latest read and listening to Angus Stone. Relaxed. And this is ok, I don’t need to be anywhere else right now, being ‘busy’. Thank you 🙂

    • Heidi May 28, 2014 at 4:55 pm

      Thank YOU, Sharon 🙂 x

  • InTolerant Chef May 25, 2014 at 10:54 am

    What a lovely recipe Heidi, I can almost smell it cooking from here! Hope you feel better soon x

    • Heidi May 28, 2014 at 4:56 pm

      Thanks, Rebecca x

  • Kelsey May 26, 2014 at 9:46 am

    I love this. I love slow. I am not slow. I am full-time study with full-time work and part-time social life.
    My question is ‘How?’. How do you slow down? How do you sit and appreciate each moment? How do you command your mind like that?

    • Heidi May 28, 2014 at 4:57 pm

      Oh, Kelsey, it’s this Meditation business! It’s so helpful. Try the app Headspace or Smiling Mind. & yoga 🙂 scheduling it in, helps x

  • Bobbie May 27, 2014 at 9:10 pm

    I’m keen to take a leaf out of your book on this ‘slow living’ Heidi. Oh and very keen to try your baked apple pie oats xx

    • Heidi May 28, 2014 at 4:57 pm

      Thanks, Bobbie 🙂 x

  • Hannah May 28, 2014 at 4:22 am

    Heidi’s Baked Oatmeal has been my proportions-guide for all my recent baked oatmeal adventures, too. You and she are the goddess-women.

    Also, everything about this post is yes (bar you being sick; I would’ve made that “no” if I could’ve). In recent years, what I keep coming back to is my reiteration that it is not the huge moments, the explosions, the “one big happiness we’re reaching for” that makes for a content, joyful, full life. It is the myriad tiny exquisite moments, the bittersweet fleeting joys painful in their brevity but so strong in their heights, that make everything worth it.

    I miss you.

    xo

    • Heidi May 28, 2014 at 4:57 pm

      Well said, as always, my love. Yes x

  • laurasmess May 28, 2014 at 11:39 am

    These words are going to stay in my heart for some time. Cherishing moments, living slow, taking time to nourish, love and truly appreciate those closest to us (in good times and through the difficult days… as this is part of living in relationship). I always find that I’m rushing about these days, constantly feeling tired and drained. I don’t really know how to remedy that, but I’m going to make myself a dish of these slow-baked oats and think; truly think about how to slow down and breathe. I hope you’ve recovered fully now lovely. Thanks for sharing these words with us xxx

    • Heidi May 28, 2014 at 4:58 pm

      Thank you, Laura. It’s so important to not rush through our life. Hard sometimes, though. I’m going through a busy (well, busier) stage right now, struggling to find the balance! Oats help x

  • Kate February 2, 2015 at 4:32 pm

    Hi Heidi,

    Could you prep all this the night before then just pop in the oven in the morning?

    🙂

    • Heidi February 3, 2015 at 9:45 am

      Hi Kate! My only concern would be the oats soaking up a lot of the liquid and causing the end baked result to be a little dryer than desired. So I can’t say for sure. Worth a shot, the oats will be super plump by the morning and if looking like it needs it just add a dash or so more milk, then bake! x

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