And so it begins. Holiday Season. The time of year that I become profoundly aware that my children will never again be the ages that they are.

“This is the last Christmas she will be two… or twelve…or one day, 20.”

It warms me and chills me all at once.

“ENJOY THIS,” I whisper to myself as we move through the rituals that this time of year brings, trying to soak in every drop.

The “staying in the moment” part is hard. I’m tugged, sometimes without even knowing it, into the demands of the season and the close of another year.

Among the many obligations, making gifts in my kitchen is one that I rather enjoy. Pulling up my shirtsleeves to put love and creativity into something (hopefully) wonderful for someone who touches my life? I can make time for that. Especially when it’s not a whole lot of time as with these Cranberry Ginger Baked Oatmeal “Kits.”

Holiday Food Gifts: Baked Oatmeal in a Jar / momskitchenhandbook.com

All that’s needed is a handful of ingredients, a few spices, and a quart-size jar. Once assembled, pass them along to friends and family, teachers and coaches, or anyone else to whom you want to express care and gratitude. They in turn, can transform the contents of the jar into a warm and wintry breakfast with the addition of milk, a couple of eggs, and about a half hour in the oven. They take just minutes  to assemble, are non-perishable, perfectly transportable, delicious, and super wholesome. And because they are so effortless, making them (hopefully) won’t feel like an obligation at all.

Below you will find the recipe so you can make this oatmeal at home…and below that, you will find instructions for your Oatmeal in a Jar “kits” and below that how to turn the recipe into a

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Cranberry Ginger Baked Oatmeal

For a variation on a theme, use fresh cranberries or chopped apple in place of the dried cranberries.
Servings 6 to 8 servings

Ingredients

  • Butter or oil for greasing the pan
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar (depending on how sweet you like your oatmeal)
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries (or one cup fresh, chopped)
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • Dash nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 2 eggs

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease an 8x8-inch baking pan with butter.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the oats, dried cranberries, brown sugar, cranberries, walnuts, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, and baking powder.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, butter, and eggs until blended. Pour over the oats and stir until evenly mixed together.
  4. Pour into the baking pan and bake until the milk is absorbed, the oats are firm, and the top is lightly golden, 35 to 40 minutes.
  5. Serve warm with milk or a generous spoonful of yogurt.

How to Assemble Baked Oatmeal “Kits” For Gift Giving

For each jar, you will need:

1 quart-size jar with a lid
2 cups rolled oats, divided
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
Dash nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup roughly chopped walnuts

To assemble the jars:

  1. Pour 1 cup of the oats into the jar.
  2. In a small bowl mix together the cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, and baking powder and pour over the oats in the jar
  3. Top the oats and spices with the brown sugar, doing your best to keep the layers distinct.
  4. Add the remaining cup of oats to the jar.
  5. Top the oats with the dried cranberries
  6. Top the dried cranberries with the walnuts. Screw on the lid and decorate with any embellishments you like.
  7. Print out the instructions below and include with each jar.

Instructions for Making the Oatmeal:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8×8-inch baking pan.
  2. Pour contents of the jar into a medium bowl, stir well, and add to the baking pan, shaking it so the oats distribute evenly across the bottom of the pan.Pour 2 cups milk, 1 1/2 tablespoons melted butter, and 2 eggs into a medium bowl and whisk until blended.
  3. Pour milk mixture over the oats, being sure the oats are fully covered with liquid.
  4. Bake until the milk is absorbed, the oats are firm, and the top is lightly golden, 35 to 40 minutes.
  5.  Serve hot or warm with milk or a generous spoonful of plain or vanilla yogurt.

Adapted from Supernatural Everyday by Heidi Swanson; Baked oatmeal photo credit: Shutterstock