Easy Morning Magic

MaryAlice mentioned in her Fall Morning Magic post that she sometimes used packets of oatmeal in the morning.

Ditto here. I have also been guiltily buying them since August so that I would not have to get up  a few minutes earlier (also not a morning person) to make oatmeal and deal with the pot boiling over while I try to ensure that schoolbound kids are ready for school and others are ready for homeschool. They are so easy and the kids can dump contents in a bowl, add a little instant hot water and cold milk on top and I can get the baby ready for the morning.

A few weeks ago I tried to limit instant oatmeal to once a week because, really, they are ridiculously expensive. But when the baby has peed through his diaper and I am stripping sheets so I can start the laundry before my first carpool run so they can be dry by naptime, I caved on day 2 and yelled from the nursery, “Yes, make your own oatmeal!”

An unexpected rainout left me with a few extra minutes this weekend and I was determined to make my own oatmeal packets with what I had on hand. I found this great post at The Yummy Life on making your own instant oatmeal packs. I wanted to use only what I had on hand, so I did some substituting, but all in all they came out really well! The only criticism from one boy was that the texture was too mushy or doughy, so I think I will use quick oats next time (the only rolled oats I had were instant left over from some recipe some time). There are tons of possibilities as far as adding dried fruits and nuts. And it takes only a few minutes once you have the ingredients and bags lined up. Of course, you can reuse the labeled bags, too.

Here’s what I used for my trial, but do go check out this post for tons of ideas!

1/3 C instant oats (will use quick oats next time)

1t ground flax

2t wheat germ

2t powdered milk (had leftover from making hot chocolate mix last year)

1t maple sugar

1/4 t cinnamon

pinch of salt

  • http://www.buildingcathedrals.com/ Kellie

    What a great idea! We haven’t ventured into instant oatmeal yet, but I think it is a good idea for our Friday mornings when we all have to be up and out, and packed for the day (including lunch) by 8:30am. I have been getting up earlier and earlier so that we don’t feel rushed, and I think instant oatmeal will help.

    • buildingcathedralstexasmommy

      Oh my goodness. We are back from an hour drive to/from school and have been doing homeschool for 30 minutes at 8:30!! I pack lunches the night before and put lunchboxes in fridge to minimize prep time before the sun comes up!

      • http://www.buildingcathedrals.com/ Kellie

        Do you also run 10 miles before doing all that? J/k. But seriously, being out of the house by 6:45 or 7:00 would be a good reason for me to adjust my schedule and do something differently. I’d move to not have to get up that early every day. Just keepin it real ;-)

  • Juris Mater

    What’s the difference in instant oats and quick oats?

    • Mary Alice

      I think that she means instant (the tiny pieces) vs. old fashioned rolled oats (like traditional Quaker Oats), which are still sometimes called quick oats because they are rolled and toasted to cook more quickly, as opposed to steel cut oats (like Irish Oatmeal), which look more like barley and cook very slowly.

      We’ve been making “old fashioned” oats in the microwave, add twice as much milk as oats and cook in 1 minute intervals, stirring in between. My kids do a 1/2 c. serving of oats with 1 cup of milk, then add a little butter and maple syrup. I’m not sure if this would work with instant hot water, or if they cook too slowly.

      • buildingcathedralstexasmommy

        My kids have to stand on a stool to reach the microwave (heck, I almost do) and I am terrified that something hot and glass will fall on them. (We are doing a drawer microwave in the new house). But I love our instant hot water dispenser, b/c they can’t hurt themselves with it!

  • Kat0427

    We prefer the texture of Old-Fashioned oats too, TM, since the instant can get mushy. Thank you for this great recipe! I love the versatility of things like ground flax and chia seeds – I feel like they add nutrition to even the less healthy options that I make for my family :)

    • buildingcathedralstexasmommy

      I think steel cut are the best texture, but sometimes you do what you’ve got to do!!

  • Mary Alice

    I’m going to try slow cooker oatmeal overnight, and I will let you know how it works out. A related tip (for Sunday mornings, perhaps) is to premeasure your dry ingredients of pancakes, so all you have to do is add milk, eggs and butter in the morning. We sometimes make many bags of whole wheat pancake “mix” like this to store in the freezer. It also saves on the measuring cup dishes and separate bowls.

    • buildingcathedralstexasmommy

      I’ve done slowcooker oatmeal before. I recommend lining the bowl with foil as it is a PAIN to clean!

    • Maggie

      I find slow cooker oatmeal is always hard on the outside and mushy on the inside. I actually bought a rice cooker primarily for oatmeal. I put the oats and water in the night before, and program it to to be ready right when we wake up. This also allows us to eat the high-quality steel cut oats, which would otherwise take too long to cook.

      • FYW

        Ooooo! Rice cooker oatmeal! Hadn’t even thought of that. Thanks, Maggie!

  • AWOL_Mommy

    Sooo… I guess this is healthier than “organic” pop-tarts? Shame.


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