Monday, February 17, 2014

Bruleed Steel-Cut Oatmeal with Apple Compote

Sweet Bellas, I have yet another treat for you today…
A mahhhhvelous guest post dahlings.
It is my distinct pleasure to introduce you to
Gina Stanley, THE Self Proclaimed Cookie Queen.

With a wicked repertoire of recipes under her belt,
she continues to touch so many lives through her genuine acts of kindness.
I have personally been on the receiving end of her genius, and generosity,
and I simply cannot rave enough…
She has been SUCH an inspiration to me in ways that are too numerous to count.

She will have you laughing till your belly hurts, but still be hungry for a nosh!
Her authenticity, magnificent story telling, and mad cooking/baking skills
are undeniably one-of-a-kind-wonderful.
Her creative energy and enthusiasm spills over on to everyone that journeys with her…

Trust me Bellas, you want to take some time to visit her at her blog over HERE

Take it away Gina!

I'm excited I am able to help out my friend Jaime whom I met by what would seem like complete accident 4 years ago when we both had the bright idea to enter a cooking contest searching for amazing home cooks. "I’m a pretty darn good cook", I told myself. My naive little self plunged in hook, line, and sinker. The contest didn't end how I'd hoped, not because I didn’t win but because I learned a few things along the way; the hard way.  I decided to use my failure as an opportunity to grow instead.  Not only did I find Jaime, but a whole world of others who shared my same passion. I was worried at first at my naivety falling away, but it turned out to be a blessing in disguise and has helped me see things in completely different ways.  Trying something I never had before helped open up a whole new world of possibilities. My venturing into uncharted territory wasn't random; it was what I was supposed to do.

I have found with age I am able to truly know the value of what the most important things in life are.

Younger more naive me thought breakfast was a waste of time, just something that would slow me down in the morning.  As time marched on so did my recognition of the importance of starting the day off on a good note.  I can't even imagine what my mornings would be like if that old habit had stuck with me.  You see everything we desire in life is a constant battle, and as much as I'd like to walk away sometimes from making some of the necessary changes; I find taking a deep breath is much more effective.  

There are days when everything feels like a struggle.  Struggling to find a rare clean spot on the counter to put a pot down, struggling to find a free moment to sit down and write, struggling to find the energy after a long day to do something for myself, struggling to overcome constant setbacks.  I have to remind myself to be vigilant about the way I'm thinking, not to be naive and realize there is something much bigger at play, more to every story, more work to be done, more joy to be found, my hugs to be given, more patience and kindness to be doled out.    

Sometimes a quite contemplate moment with a bowl of warm oatmeal is enough to start changing things in the right direction. 

Bruleed Steel-Cut Oatmeal with Apple Compote 
(recipe adapted from

1 cup Steel-Cut oats 
2 cups water 
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 
1/2 cup milk (or Almond milk, I had good results with it also) 
2 medium sized apples, peeled, cored and diced in 1/2-inch sized pieces (I used Fuji apples)
1 tablespoon butter 
Juice from one half of a lemon, about 1 tablespoon 
3/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice 
1/3 cup light brown sugar 
4 tablespoons granulated sugar 

Combine oats, water, salt, and milk in a pot and bring to a boil. Cook for 18-20 minutes on medium-low heat, stirring often. 

Melt butter in a small skillet and add apples and lemon juice, cook on medium heat for 5-6 minutes until the apples start to soften.  Add the pumpkin pie spice and brown sugar and cook for 3-4 more minutes. Set aside. 

Stir apples into finished oatmeal and fill 4 small oven-safe ramekins equally with the oatmeal. At this stage you can add about 1 tablespoon granulated sugar to the top of each ramekin and put them under the broiler until the sugar is browned about 5 minutes. (A kitchen torch will also work well.)   

I know mornings are crazy and it’s hard to always have a hot breakfast, hopefully this tip will help:
Make the oatmeal while making dinner, cover the dishes with plastic wrap. Microwave the dishes in the morning for 45 seconds or so and then add the granulated sugar and put them under the broiler for a few minutes. 

It's no accident when you plan to start your day off right, nor is it an accident when the right people come into your life.  When I feel like I'm not doing a good enough job with everything and everyone, I just have to remind myself to get back to work and work that much harder.  One battle at a time, one breakfast at a time I find is much more palatable than taking on the whole world at once. 

Thank you for sharing your beautiful, inspiring space with me Jaime.



  1. Bella, thanks for having our beautiful Queen Gina ;) with us today!

    I'm constantly amazed at the way we marched into that uncharted territory to find ourselves in friendships which may never have been otherwise! But as you said Gina, "not really random"! It is fun to see an entirely different purpose in it all. A beautiful purpose which keeps revealing more of itself daily.
    Gina, you make me smile and laugh out loud with your humorous posts and then leave me hungry and wanting more when I set my eyes on the vivid photos of your recipes. And Jaime is right, you have a heart of gold as I too have been on the receiving end of your generosity!
    I'm excited to see just what is next and so thrilled to be on this journey with you amazing, beautiful women! xoxo

  2. Thank you Jaime for letting me share your space with you, it's been a beautiful journey so far and I'm looking forward to each and every new day. Lorraine, thank you for your kind words, both of you have provided me with much inspiration the last few years. Xoxoxo

  3. Nice job, Gina! How did you grow up in an Italian household and not know "Breakfast is the most important meal of the day!" ? ;)

  4. Love you both and this recipe made me hungry! Oatmeal has never looked this good! Thank you for sharing with us, Gina!

  5. I love oatmeal for breakfast. Or even dinner. ;-) This is such a nice, easy recipe -- no excuse not to make it. But I say that a lot about Gina's recipes! Really nice post -- thanks.

  6. Beautiful post again...from beautiful bellas! Gina, if I'm not mistaken, I remember those chairs that you painted blue, and re-upholstered them. Love the pretty flowers (Valentine's?)...the bright colored fresh fruits, but mostly the yummy oatmeal. specially prepared to even have as a fancy, but simple dessert, and of course, a 'heavenly treat' for breakfast! Hugs,



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