January 24, 2011

Homemade Instant Oatmeal

Mr. M and I are not fancy breakfast people, especially during the work week. The quicker, the better for us. For the longest time, we were buying instant oatmeal, generic for me, and the Weight Control (I forget the brand) for Mr. M. I think he liked the weight control kind just because it made him feel more responsible for what he was eating. In reality, he was eating much more sodium than he would ever need in oatmeal. Who really needs sodium in oatmeal? Also, in some brands, there is so much added 'stuff' that you really do not need. My philosophy? The more simple and natural, the better.

Also, don't you think instant oatmeal is expensive? I do! So, one day I surfed the web to find inspiration on quick and easy breakfasts that were inexpensive. I found several websites showing how to make your own instant oatmeal packets and I thought that would be perfect for Mr. M and myself. The next time we went shopping for groceries, I bought my own ingredients for homemade instant oatmeal. If you have about a half hour of extra time and the ingredients you need, you could have at least two weeks' worth of homemade instant oatmeal for much less than buying the individually packaged instant oatmeal. And you know will know what you are putting in it!

So, here is my basic cast of characters. I love raisins in oatmeal. They add a little extra sweetness. Ground flaxseed is used to give us some extra omega-3's and other healthy stuff since we are not big fish-eaters. Light brown sugar is my sweetener of choice. Cinnamon adds a little flavor and is also really good for you. And, missing from the picture are the stars of the show, a huge container of quick-cooking oatmeal (the stuff that cooks in five minutes) and sandwich bags. Also, feel free to add any nuts, dried fruit, and anything else your imagination comes up with. 

For each basic individual oatmeal packet, I add the following:

  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground flaxseed
  • 1 tsp. light brown sugar
  • As many raisins I feel like adding.

Here is a peek at a packet before adding the raisins. And remember, improvise any way you like. Add other fun stuff if that is what you prefer. Make it interesting! 

This is the end result from one huge container of oatmeal (Great Value brand from Walmart) this past Saturday. There are at least 20 bags sitting there, which for Mr. M and myself will last a little over two weeks. Not bad for buying a container of oatmeal and a box of raisins while using other kitchen staples I already had on hand! And, if you like to be eco-friendly, you can reuse the sandwich bags safely since only dry ingredients are used.

And, to make a bowl in the morning, I just add some milk, less for more dense oatmeal, more for more 'soupy' oatmeal, heat in the microwave for about 1 1/2 minutes, and voila! Instant oatmeal!

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