In which one of these things is not like the other

So today I have a recipe for you and some dead folks. Yeah, I know. Pretty random, but we’re under five inches of snow here–nothing for those of you accustomed to it, but our town is shut down–and I’m in a random frame of mind.

A pal of mine sent me this link to Victorian bereavement photography that is vastly intriguing. If you’re not familiar, photographing the dead used to be quite common. Oftentimes, the funeral photograph was the only likeness the family would have of their loved one, particularly in the case of children. I like these vintage photographs for their peek into a different world where death was no less tragic but closer somehow than it seems today. We’re terribly squeamish about death, particularly in the US, and these photographs are a reminder that it wasn’t always the case. As one Facebook commenter remarked when I posted this there, it seems a healthier way of processing loss. (I like the older gentleman with the graying beard–he looks quite peaceful.)

Now to the recipe. I’ve been eating buckets of oatmeal lately and wanted something different–more like a bar and less a bowl of porridge. So I did a little googling and a little tinkering and here’s what I came up with:

Baked Oatmeal Breakfast Bars

1 1/2 c quick cooking oats

1 c flour

1 t baking powder

1/4 c sugar

1/2 t salt

3/4 t cinnamon

Mix dry ingredients. Add:

1 beaten egg

1/2 c milk

1/4 c oil

Stir together. Add:

1/4 c raisins.

Turn into a greased square baking dish. Bake 350 for 25 minutes.

Now to the particulars: I used gluten-free flour, grapeseed oil, and coconut milk–the refrigerated kind rather than the canned stuff. The refrigerated variety of coconut milk tastes MUCH less like coconut. In fact, I can’t taste it at all. You could sub almond milk or soy or regular cow’s milk if that’s your thing. Any oil would probably work; grapeseed is what I had on hand. A grating of fresh nutmeg would probably be delicious, and some nuts might not go amiss. You could throw in some dried cranberries or cherries if you prefer them to raisins. The result is a cross between a breakfast bar and a scone and not terribly sweet. Perfect with tea and VERY yummy hot out of the oven! Plus, nothing smells better than cinnamon…

Don’t forget, we’re starting giveaways NEXT WEEK–woot!–so be sure to check here, Facebook, and Twitter for the prizes and how to enter. And SATURDAY IS RELEASE DAY FOR WHISPER OF JASMINE? Have you pre-ordered your FREE copy of the digital novella prequel to CITY OF JASMINE yet?? And HUGE thanks to those of you who bought SCRIBBLING WOMEN–it’s officially a bestseller!