The last few days I have been thinking about my Grandpa McAfee quite a bit. A few nights ago when Gavin and I were driving home we saw an old man who looked lost on the side of a dark road. After a drive by we decided we should go see if he needed help. He was just a few blocks down from a senior home and so I went there to see if he belonged there and Gavin went to walk with him on the road. I went and checked with the staff who did a quick roll call and one of the nurses came with me to see if she recognized him. All in all, he did live there and he was safely returned home. The poignant thing is that he lived in the same memory care unit that my grandpa was in before he passed away. The nurse remembered Grandpa Ed and my great-aunt who passed away last month. When Grandpa was alive I was at the home often and since he is gone I haven’t been back once.

Since then I have been thinking about Grandpa Ed and the man I remember from years ago. In recent years, as his health declined he was still, for the most part, a friendly old man, but he was very different as his health waned.

Maybe it’s the fall weather, maybe it’s the pregnancy, maybe it’s just before the holiday season, or maybe it’s the realization that life changes as I get older… but the past few weeks I have been nesty and nostalgic.

I just had some yummy Jamba Juice Oatmeal (which will be only $1 starting tomorrow!) and it reminded me of seeing my grandpa standing at the counter counting out the right amount of all the different kind of nuts and dried fruit for his oatmeal. He would line them up in a row, boil them and then add the oats and man it was delicious. Since I don’t allow myself 45 minutes to make steel-cut oats for breakfast I usually resort to Starbs or Jamba to help me out. I started thinking that maybe I could make them at night and have them ready in the morning. After some research I found this recipe that I think I will try, since Gavin and I will both be going to work in the morning starting Monday! Yay! And I will think of Grandpa Ed and smile.

Overnight Oatmeal with Almonds and Dried Cranberries

Food & Wine (December 2008)
(This photo: Food & Wine)

    * TOTAL TIME: 15 MIN Plus Overnight Soaking
    * SERVINGS: 6


1 1/2 cups steel-cut oats
6 cups water
1/4 cup chopped salted roasted almonds
1/4 cup dried cranberries
Brown sugar or pure maple syrup, for serving


   1. In a large saucepan, boil the oats in the water for 1 minute. Cover and let stand overnight at room temperature.
   2. The next day, uncover the oats and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring frequently, until the oatmeal is cooked and creamy but still a little bit chewy, about 10 minutes. Spoon the oatmeal into bowls. Top with the chopped almonds and dried cranberries and sweeten to taste with brown sugar or pure maple syrup.

Make Ahead

The prepared oatmeal can be refrigerated for up to 1 week. Rewarm in a microwave oven and thin with water if necessary before serving.