Baked Oatmeal for a Crowd ~ Plus Teen Missions Memories

Dear friends,

Can you imagine fixing breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner for 30+ hungry teens every day for almost 2 months straight — in a borrowed kitchen in a foreign country where you couldn’t be guaranteed of a reliable food supply?   The thought simply boggles me now, but to be honest, I didn’t give much thought to it when I was one of the hungry teens wolfing down the food on Teen Missions teams in the summers of 1979 (Scotland) and 1980 (Israel).   At least our teams weren’t stationed in jungles like many of them were, and we did bring a lot of our food with us in industrial size cans and boxes.  But may I express a little retro gratitude for our team cooks?  And a recipe?

Someone on one of the Teen Missions Facebook boards kindly posted a recipe for the baked oatmeal that all of us chowed down not only “on the field” but also at the jungle boot camp in Merritt Island, Florida.  Of course, the recipe feeds a crowd, making 30 servings.  And I made the full amount yesterday, partly from nostalgia, and partly because I have a huge family and need thrifty, kid-pleasing recipes.   As of the end of breakfast time this morning, most of it was already gone.  Really.  Think seconds, thirds…  My little grandson Jacob enjoyed some as finger food, too.  I’m not sure why it had a slightly buttery flavor, but it did!  It does not hold together like a piece of cake; it is more crumbly than that. I could probably cut out some of the sugar, but I wasn’t measuring that very carefully anyway.  I used brown sugar, and we also added a little vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg to ours. You can divide the recipe by 5 for smaller families, or you can make the whole amount and save it for quick breakfasts or midnight snacks.  I have included measurements for the smaller amount in [ ] marks for the math challenged among us.

Baked Oatmeal – 30 servings

Mix together:

  • 2 1/2 cups oil  [1/2 cup]
  • 5 cups white or brown sugar [1 cup]
  • 10 eggs, beaten [2 eggs]

Add and mix:

  • 10 tsp. baking powder [2 tsp.]
  • 5 tsp. salt [1 tsp.]
  • 15 cups oatmeal [3 cups]
  • 5 cups milk [1 cup]

Bake in three 9″x13″ baking pans for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.  Serve and pour on a little warm milk, if desired.

Now a word about my experiences with Teen Missions…

I was 15 when I went away to a weekend missions conference with the youth group from Timonium Presbyterian Church in the fall of 1978.  A fairly new believer, I was filled with enthusiasm for sharing my faith, and being of Scottish descent, I was excited that Teen Missions had scheduled a few teams to go to Scotland the following summer.  I signed up for the Scotland Bike Evangelism team and then started raising money from relatives and friends at church.  I guess I wasn’t aware how hilly Scotland is when I signed up for that bike team!  I was by far the slowest member of the group, which I know caused untold frustration to everyone else!  But it was a life changing experience for me.  

The next summer, I signed up for a construction team in the Arabic section of Nazareth, Israel.  That’s me in the white T-shirt with a hoe that we were using to hack out dirt from the hillside before building footers and steel frames for pouring concrete walls.  Again, it certainly wasn’t the best fit for me physically, especially since I suffered some joint injuries in a car accident shortly before the team started.  But we got the job done, working together, each one doing what they could.  I still fondly remember visiting Biblical landmarks in Nazareth, Capernaum, Jersusalem and the Garden Tomb.  Amazing! I was baptized in the Sea of Galilee, too. I later moved to Florida to go to college near a boy I had met on the Israel team, but that is another story. 

The Lord’s Boot Camp in Florida where we were trained for two weeks featured a strenuous obstacle course, which included running through the jungle, scaling a 10 foot wall (with the help of teammates), climbing the big rope Jacob’s Ladder, swinging over a “slough” on a rope, and more.  We ate our meals sitting under the trees, and washed our dishes in our own net bags.  At night we hiked out to our campsites by flashlight beam, slept in tents that never quite kept out all of the mosquitoes or steamy air, and brushed our teeth using water from the pump.  The smell of sulphur instantly brings back memories of the water!  We swam in a pond that had who knows what else swimming in it. Ice and air conditioning were unheard of.  (The boot camp has since been modernized and has more comfort and conveniences. I’m not sure that’s a good thing, since it was supposed to be preparing us for hardship overseas!)  We had our DQT (Daily Quiet Time) every morning, during which we memorized Bible verses for our weekly Scripture drill competitions.  If a King James Version verse ever comes to mind, I know it’s from one of those little card packets!  Each team also had a box of Christian books and missionary biographies, which had quite an effect on me and my life goals.   If we broke a rule, we received “Special Blessings” in the form of extra character-building chores.   🙂  At the end of Boot Camp, the hundreds of teens were commissioned for service all over the world in a moving candle-lit service.  Even though those summers were very challenging for me, I am grateful for the lifetime impact and the sweet memories.

Somehow I survived both summers and grew more than I can tell you just from learning how to serve God and get along with other people.  (OK, I’m still working on that one…  I can be pretty difficult at times.) Since then I’ve always had a heart for world missions.  I am very grateful that my four older daughters have caught that love, too.  (See my Missions page.)   Between them, they have spent about 11 months on assorted mission trips in Bolivia, Italy, the Dominican Republic, and the USA.  One daughter works for Wycliffe Bible Translators and just finished editing a missionary book yesterday.  I trust that some of my younger six children will also get involved overseas as the years roll by.

I still have my Teen Missions song book, too, filled with old favorites like “Victory in Jesus”, “The Greatest Thing in All My Life”, and “Soon and Very Soon.”

“Victory in Jesus”
by Burl Ives

I heard an old, old story,
How a Savior came from glory,
How He gave His life on Calvary
To save a wretch like me;
I heard about His groaning,
Of His precious blood’s atoning,
Then I repented of my sins
And won the victory.

O victory in Jesus,
My Savior, forever.
He sought me and bought me
With His redeeming blood;
He loved me ere I knew Him
And all my love is due Him,
He plunged me to victory,
Beneath the cleansing flood. 

I heard about His healing,
Of His cleansing pow’r revealing.
How He made the lame to walk again
And caused the blind to see;
And then I cried, “Dear Jesus,
Come and heal my broken spirit,”
And somehow Jesus came and bro’t
To me the victory. 

O victory in Jesus,
My Savior, forever.
He sought me and bought me
With His redeeming blood;
He loved me ere I knew Him
And all my love is due Him,
He plunged me to victory,
Beneath the cleansing flood. 

Virginia Knowles

P.S. Join this week’s fun at Ann Kroeker’s Food on Fridays and link your own recipe!


About virginiaknowles

I am a mother and grandmother of a huge family, and I still home school my youngest daughter. I write to stay sane. My WordPress blog is a combination of my Blogspot blogs, and may not be continually updated.
This entry was posted in Food Glorious Food, Global Mission, My Parents ~ My Childhood, Photographs, Recipe Box. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Baked Oatmeal for a Crowd ~ Plus Teen Missions Memories

  1. shopannies says:

    thanks for sharing your beutiful post food for the self and food for the soul oh my I so remember my younger days as well comc see me at

  2. Ann Kroeker says:

    Wow, what a great story (or set of stories)! I love baked oatmeal, but I really did enjoy your stories even more. That's saying something, too, because I *really* like baked oatmeal! Thanks for the recipe–I have found variations online and even made a batch not long ago, but I'd love to try this one.

    Thanks for linking to Food on Fridays!

  3. Second time linking this to Ann Kroeker's Food on Friday blog — but she was posting a recipe for Baked Oatmeal and I couldn't resist another go around! I actually just posted this link on the TMI Classic FB board ( for 1970's and 1980's team members, along with a list of all the songs in the old song book. I've just been singing some of them, too! What a great memory!

  4. I too enjoy oatmeal, and I love Mission stories! I usually end up sponsoring some youth, so they can go and I stay home and pray!

  5. Ann Kroeker says:

    Yes, I remember this story–so glad you linked it up again (and glad to know we share a love of baked oatmeal, too). 🙂

  6. Anonymous says:

    YEAH! Thank you so much for posting this recipe! I am a FTM (former team member) and had such good memories of this recipe and finally did a search in case anyone knew the secret recipe! I will try it right away!

  7. Moose says:

    Found your post and it brought back a lot of memories I was in Scotland in 77 with TMI. Certainly ate my share of oatmeal that summer. Those were some great times.

  8. pam says:

    I was also in Scotland in 1979! I was on Scotland WC and we stayed at the stables at Daldorch. Fond memories of the baked oatmeal.

  9. Pam, I remember coming up to Daldorch to use the hand crank washing machine, which was quite an improvement over washing them in our little plastic bins!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s