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OK, quick post today, because I’ve got a whole day of shooting-blanks on writing something else (which, if you can imagine, is very time-consuming)(but Jaime, if you’re reading, everything’s going swell).  Today, I bring to you a wholesome and classy creation inspired by a great product, perhaps the most important humanitarian relief for all wo-mankind, that is… Activia.  Girls, you understand.  Without going further into the detailed records of accomplishment by this effective yogurt-brand, I would just like to say that the day it entered the direly needy market of China, that was a good day.

Just like any other international food brands, Activia offers different flavours depending on where it’s sold.  So I don’t know if this is available elsewhere, but here, it comes in the flavour of oatmeal and walnuts.  Weird?  No.  It is really good.  So good that I must turn it into a completely overblown and yogurt-purpose defeating extravaganza.  OK.. well.. maybe except that… I am personally not fond of biting into nuts in any form of foods, ice cream… breads, nothing.  I consider them an obstacle, like fish bones.  So the walnut has to go.  However my peeve does come with the one and only exception – pine nuts.  Pine nuts are not very nut-like, with its buttery and almost creamy texture, they don’t interrupt as much the pure pleasure of ice cream melting in my mouth, nor the soft and chewy progression of breads in between chews, nor in this case, the thick and creamy texture of a perfectly cooked oatmeal.

Oh no, not just any perfectly cooked oatmeal.  This oatmeal has two distinctive texture between soft and chewy (thanks April Bloomfield :), and that at the end of its cooking process when it gets as good as any, it’s further creamed with loads of thick Greek yogurt which adds not just body, but great flavours and a mild tanginess.  Oh wait, you thought I was just gonna throw some sad nuts over the top and call it a morning?  No, my friends, we are gonna coat these pine nuts in an almost-simple syrup, and then… and then we’re gonna fry them in a little butter.  You heard right.  This is not Paula Deen talking.  This is Brooks Headley with the James Beard thing.  So everyone just zip it.  And then since we already have that gloriously browned butter, it would be a complete shame if we don’t take a few tbsp of it, and make it a sticky sauce-thingy with honey, dark brown sugar and a good dose of salt.

See, it’s so good that I just couldn’t stop getting long and wordy with it.  OK now I really got to go.  I believe you have an oatmeal to attend to.


Serving Size: 2

Candied pine nuts are adapted from Brooks's candied pecans.


  • 1/4 cup (47 grams) pine nuts
  • 2 tbsp (25 grams) sugar
  • 2 tbsp (30 grams) water
  • 1/8 tsp ground cayenne
  • Small pinch (about 1/16 tsp) salt
  • 1 tsp turbinado/raw sugar
  • 5 tbsp (70 grams) unsalted butter
  • 3 1/2 tbsp (70 grams) honey
  • 2 tbsp (24 grams) dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 cups (700 grams) water
  • 1 cup (123 grams) rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup (50 grams) sugar
  • 1 cup (75 grams) quick oats (not instant)
  • 1 scant cup (180 grams) Greek yogurt


  1. TO MAKE THE CANDIED PINE NUTS: Combine pine nuts, sugar, water, ground cayenne and salt in a small pot, then bring to a gentle boil over medium heat. Cook and stir occasionally for approx 2 min, until the mixture is sticky and slightly thickened. Drain through a sieve to get rid of excess syrup, set aside.
  2. In a stainless-steel or aluminum pot (not non-stick), bring the unsalted butter from "BROWNED BUTTER HONEY" to a boil over medium heat. Add the pine nuts and stir gently with a fork to disperse. Keep swirling the pot during frying, until the pine nuts turn golden browned (any further they will be bitter). Drain immediately through a fine sieve, and reserve the butter. During the cooking process, the mixture will be filled with alarming burnt bits, but don't freak out. They will mostly stick to the side of the pot. Toss the fried pine nuts with turbinado sugar and another pinch of salt.
  3. TO MAKE THE BROWNED BUTTER HONEY: Discard 1/2 of the butter and leave the rest in the pot. Add honey, dark brown sugar, water and salt, then bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Stirring constantly, and cook for 30 seconds until the ingredients have fully melted. Set aside.
  4. TO MAKE THE GREAK YOGURT OATMEAL: Combine water, rolled oats and sugar, then bring to a gentle boil. Cook for 5~7 min until soft, then add the quick oats, and cook for another 5~6 min. The mixture should be quite thick. Stir in the Greek yogurt, then cook only until heated through. Do not boil the yogurt. You can thin out the oatmeal with a bit of milk to your liking.
  5. Serve immediately with a good ladle of browned butter honey (may need to be reheated slightly to loosen), and sprinkle with candied pine nuts.




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  • emma

    May 8, 2015 at 3:55 PM Reply

    Its morning here right now, am going to make this right now. Luckily i know i have pine nuts in the kitchen. God u r just soo creative, even my husband loves ur recipes. I discovered u through smittenkitchen like 2 months ago and so far i have made like 5 or 6 recipes. I saw u posting about writers block and such and i hope u r writing a book, and if u do, id definitily get it. Will come back with feedback on this one, but am pretty sure am gonna love it.

    • mandy@ladyandpups

      May 8, 2015 at 4:16 PM Reply

      Emma, thanks! it’s more like imagine the “potential” of a cookbook that’s non-existent :) but please let me know if you enjoy the recipe!

  • Ksenia @ At the Immigrant's Table

    May 8, 2015 at 7:08 PM Reply

    Stunning! I can just imagine the layers of flavours hidden inside this big boy. Though I personally consider nuts a crunchy little bonus, I would definitely not say no to caramelized pine nuts in brown butter sauce!
    And good luck with the cookbook writing :)

  • Charlie (Chockywoky)

    May 8, 2015 at 7:35 PM Reply

    I’ve been having oatmeal for almost every weekday for the past half year or so, but I haven’t seen one that’s nearly as good as yours Mandy :) kudos!

  • Valentina @Hortus

    May 8, 2015 at 11:29 PM Reply

    We do have the Activia yogurts with walnuts & oats in Italy!! :D I had no idea they sold it in China as well. I’ve only had it once, but I’ll take this oatmeal of yours for a decadent breakfast anytime. Looks gorgeous, as usual :)

  • Eliza

    May 9, 2015 at 12:14 AM Reply

    I’m not usually a fan of mixing Greek yogurt with my oatmeal, but this recipe may just have convinced me to give the combination a second chance!

  • Julie Nathan

    May 9, 2015 at 2:52 PM Reply

    As always, love to read your blog. Wish I could replicate your wit…need to work on it. I just returned from a short trip to London, the land of the-best-porridge-ever. Am always amazed that even chains like Pret-A-Manger can manage to pull off such fabulous oatmeal. Must be in the British genes, who knows. Thank you for the recipe above. I just ate my avocado toast this morning, and can’t wait for the day to be over, to go to sleep and wake up tomorrow morning to try out your decadent-sounding oatmeal. Maybe I’ll just make it for lunch. Do you have breakfast congee recipes or similar savory hot grain or rice recipes? Would be curious to see what you might propose in that realm. Greetings from Munich.

    • mandy@ladyandpups

      May 10, 2015 at 5:03 PM Reply

      Julie, I’m certainly working on a savoury congee recipe. Hopefully I’ll come to one good enough to be posted :)

      • tunie

        May 11, 2015 at 3:05 AM Reply

        Just returned from a visit to my mother’s and she’s been eating an awesome savory oatmeal every morning. She makes it with soy sauce, sesame oil, nori flakes, sambal chili paste and etc, lol…then tops it all with steamed veggies like green beans and carrots and an occasional poached egg. It is a really great breakfast!

        • tunie

          May 11, 2015 at 3:07 AM Reply

          PS: my mother is GERMAN, haha, not Asian…which makes it so much stranger… but still yummy

          • Julie Nathan

            May 13, 2015 at 1:51 AM

            That is funny. I’m living in Germany, although not German. So maybe savory oatmeal is a trend here. ;-) I’ve just been doing various versions with pickled radishes, chopped peanuts and cilantro, bit of sesame oil, and various other things, depending on what i have in the fridge/cupboard.

      • Julie Nathan

        May 13, 2015 at 1:51 AM Reply

        Sounds like a plan. ;-)

      • Pamela

        June 13, 2015 at 9:57 AM Reply

        I make savory vibe oatmeal that is to die for.

        You make a really good katsuoboshi dashi from those Japanese smoked katsuoboshi flakes. Maybe 3 times that amount you need. Also, you toast maybe 1/2 cup of oats (not instant) in a bit of sesame oil, just a bit!! But it makes all the difference. By toasting the oats, the end result is not so clammy. Don’t get me wrong, I like regular untoasted oats too, but not in this recipe.

        Then you add a tablespoon or two of miso with the not yet finished toasting oats and toast the miso, too! You don’t want to add to much miso. Then you add your katsuoboshi dashi and cook it down to half the volume. Boy, this is good on a cold day and it’s great on a hot day too! The only thing you want to be careful about is not adding too much miso. Remember, you are going to reduce the dashi by half, so you don’t want to add so much that it gets too salty!! Enjoy!

  • Angela

    May 10, 2015 at 10:30 AM Reply

    Made it today for Mother’s Day! I LOVED the idea of using both rolled and quick oats to give the oatmeal a more interesting texture. I also used walnuts instead of pine nuts, because I didn’t have any pine nuts. It came out as the best candied nuts I’d ever made. Though I liked the taste of the oatmeal, I think yoghurt and oats just aren’t for me. I’ll use milk next time I make this :)

  • Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar

    May 11, 2015 at 2:12 AM Reply

    Browned butter honey?! WOO HOO!!!

  • Renee Kemps

    May 13, 2015 at 4:27 AM Reply

    Sounds soooo good. Why haven’t I tried my oatmeal with thick Greek Yoghurt before? Or butter fried pine nuts? Girl you got me going.

  • Dana

    October 30, 2015 at 1:00 PM Reply

    I’m not the biggest fan of oatmeal, but I can honestly say this makes me want to fall in love with it. I’ll definitely have to try it. Who knows, this delicious oatmeal recipe could become my new favorite breakfast-time meal!

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