Apple Dumpling Baked Oatmeal and Memory Names | Caregiving


Memory Names

Before we moved here, my Mom didn't eat much. I'm not sure if she just wasn't hungry, or if the frozen dinners and gourmet takeout meals had even become too much. You see, when you're suffering from memory loss, even some of the simplest things like using the microwave can become a challenge.

So, I've done all the cooking for the last five years. I've tried to balance healthy eating with some treats- the 80/20 thing. To keep her appetite strong and get her excited for her meals. Because, as I saw her memory loss progress, I also saw her child-like wonderment increase. Perhaps a silver lining side effect of once again finding pure joy in some of the simplest things in life- like sweets.

My first recipe attempt leaned more towards healthy. But it was not well-received. So, I gave it another shot, this time adding more sugar. And this time giving it a "memory name."

I told her I couldn't put up the recipe until it was "mother approved," so she cautiously took an obligation bite of batch number two. I reminded her that I added more sweetness. And I told her I named it Apple Dumpling Oatmeal, in honor of the apple dumplings that we used to get from The Apple Farm in San Luis Obispo on my birthday each year.

A smile immediately came to her face. I'm not sure if it was because of the name... or because of that extra 1/2 cup of sugar. But, it marked a special moment. A moment that might not have been remembered a few hours later. But, a feeling that surely lingered throughout the day.

Now that is sweet.

Apple Dumpling Baked Oatmeal
Adapted from Once Upon a Chef
Serves 6-8

2 c. old fashioned oats
1-1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1/4 c. honey
1/2 c. sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1-3/4 c. milk of choice (I used 2%)
2 Tblsp. butter, melted
2 large apples, peeled and chopped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, mix oats, cinnamon, baking powder and salt. Then in a small bowl use a fork to beat eggs. Then add to the large bowl with the oats. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix until combine. Pour into a 9x9 greased baking dish (will seem a bit runny).

Bake for about 45 minutes until the top is golden and a toothpick comes out clean. Cool and serve. Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.

Notes: This can be made with 2-1/2 c. of your fruit of choice, like berries. Nuts can also be added if desired. And this is fantastic topped with vanilla Greek yogurt.

What are some of your mealtime tips? And do you have any favorite memory name foods or recipes to share? Let's talk in the comments!