Tuesday, 31 July 2012

'Make It Yourself' Series: Oatmeal!

Oatmeal - the breakfast of choice in this house (at least for three of us).  I used to buy the boxes with individual servings of instant pre-packaged oatmeal - you know the ones I mean.  There were a few different flavors when I was growing up (apples and cinnamon, brown sugar and cinnamon, raisins and spice, peaches and cream), but now there are a bazillion, and, frankly, it's getting a little ridiculous...not to mention pricey.  Oatmeal is a fabulous way to start the day, but only if you buy the non-instant kind with no added sugar - that's right, you've got to cook that stuff to get the full benefits.

Our container of oats

I'm finding oatmeal is healthier and much more economical to buy in a big ol' bag.  In our house, we eat WAY too much oatmeal to buy those instant flavoured packages.  If I buy a large bag of oats, it will last us all month - or longer if I don't use it for baking.  The best and most delicious oatmeal is the steel cut oats.  You have to cook it for about 15 to 20 minutes...but it's worth every second!

Steel Cut Oats...mm mm!

Now, you're probably thinking 'Ew, that's disgusting!  You eat plain oatmeal?'.  I would be thinking that too -  my kids will eat plain oatmeal, but not me!  I need some sweetness in there.  The nice thing about buying oats and adding your own sugar/fruit/spice is that you can control how much goes in there.  More times than not, store bought items are much sweeter than they need to be.  No wonder kids these days have sugar addictions (how old am I sounding here??).  I can get away with a spoonful of applesauce and some cinnamon in the oatmeal around here, and it gets gobbled up in no time!

Cream of Wheat - another favourite here

If you buy the oatmeal that gets cooked on the stove for several minutes, you can put it in a dish in the fridge for the week so you're not making it every day.  Each morning you can take out a couple servings and add the fruit and spice.  Here are a few of the popular combinations in our home.

1.  Apple - Cinnamon - Raisin Oatmeal:  

Heat the oatmeal so it's warm.  Add a couple of tablespoons of applesauce ( or a chopped apple), a small handful of raisins and cinnamon to taste.  The applesauce also gives the oatmeal more of a soupy texture, so it's not all hard and clumpy like they show on TV.

Apple and cinnamon...and raisin

2.  Strawberry - Allspice - milk Oatmeal:

Heat the oatmeal so it's warm, but add a bit of milk so it's not burning hot (also - the texture thing).  Add in strawberry puree (or fresh or thawed frozen strawberries) and allspice to taste.  

3.  Peaches and Cream Oatmeal:

See above re: heating an adding milk.  Add in peach puree (or fresh or thawed frozen peaches).  Go ahead and add in a spice if you want, too.

Peaches and cream with chunks of peaches and cinnamon

4.  Blueberry Oatmeal:

See above re: heating and adding milk.  Add in mashed blueberries (or fresh or thawed frozen blueberries) and allspice to taste.  

5.  My personal favourite - brown sugar oatmeal...a little brown sugar goes a long way!:

See above re: heating and adding milk.  Sprinkle the top with brown sugar - I use about a tablespoon.

Here's brown sugar cream of wheat oatmeal

Is anyone picking up on how incredibly simple this 'make your own oatmeal' thing is??  

Here's one more for the fall...

6.  Pumpkin Oatmeal:

This one, you probably want to make as a large batch because you cook the ingredients with the oatmeal.  Combine 1 cup of milk, some brown sugar, some canned pumpkin puree and cinnamon with the oatmeal in a pot on the stove.  Cook for a few minutes until oatmeal is cooked.  You can also add peanut butter to this one!  (Adapted from Jessica Seinfeld's 'Deceptively Delicious')

You can pretty much throw in any kind of fruit (frozen or fresh) and play around with the spices.  Cinnamon and allspice are the most popular over here.  I never add sugar to the kids oatmeal (because they don't want it and they don't know any different), but I NEED the brown sugar...at least a little bit.

Ella enjoying her apple cinnamon and raisin oatmeal

There is also another exciting oatmeal recipe I've recently found on Pinterest (where else).  It's called summer oatmeal, or refrigerator oatmeal...there are a million names for this stuff, but, basically, it's cold oatmeal.  

Instructions:  In a mason jar add some oats, yogurt, berries and a bit of milk.  Let it sit the fridge overnight and it's ready to eat in the morning.  Sorry, that's a little vague - I've never been big on measurements.  Check out this link from Pinterest for the 'real' recipe.

Harry enjoying his peaches and cream oatmeal

So here are the 'take home points' (WOW, I must be getting ready to go back to work soon) of today's post.  

  • buying a large bag of oats feeds a family of 4 breakfast for one month (at least)
  • buying a large bag of oats costs the same as buying one-and-a-half boxes of the instant pre-packaged stuff (which lasts a family of four about a week if we're lucky)
  • adding fruit, spices and your own sugar to oatmeal is healthier and contributes to a life-long taste for 'low-sugar' foods.  (I'm just throwing that one out there...it could be true).
Sure, it takes a little longer to make it yourself - but there are some things I'm willing to spend more time on.  Vacuuming and dusting can wait - there is oatmeal to be made!

Thanks for reading :D

1 comment:

  1. Sounds so good! Ima gonna make me some oatmeal right now! p.s. I find that the right balance of raisins and cinammon adds enough sweetness that I don't need to add brown sugar. xo
    YOU'RE OFFICIALLY OVER 5 G'S!!!! Congratulations!!


You May Also Enjoy: