Monday, October 10, 2011

Cheaper Single Serving Oatmeal Packets....

Wandering down the "breakfast isle” at the grocery store reminds me how BUSY people are.  Most everything on that isle is a “grab-and-pour” OR  a “grab-and-go” meal….meaning little preparation and QUICK.  And “quick” or “instant” at the grocery store is usually synonymous with more pricey.  (Yes.  I think that breakfast-from-the-grocery-store could be considered one of the more expensive meals of the day.)

Now, I am a girl who LOVES to sleep in.  I would rather sleep in than wake up early for any reason.  However, I believe my children need a good breakfast for them to do their best work in school. 

Soooo…. Most times I roll out of bed and stagger around fixing them breakfast and packing their lunches.  On my more energetic days my children get pancakes, muffins, waffles OR scrambled eggs.  On my sluggish days, where I just can’t seem to get my brain awake and my body moving, they get oatmeal, leftover rice with cinnamon and sugar, a leftover pancake/waffle from the freezer—prepared “Ego”” style, wheat berries with cinnamon and sugar-prepared on another day and in the fridge, homemade granola—made on another day…..OR as last resort: cereal from a box (which rarely happens!)

Oatmeal is an inexpensive and quick breakfast PACKED with nutrients AND it helps you feel full longer!  It amazes me how companies can take a simply prepared inexpensive food—and make it expensive!!   I love the idea of the single serving oatmeal packets—but NOT at their prices!  About 5 years ago, I stumbled upon an “oatmeal mix” recipe and was surprised by how easy it was to make and have been disgusted with how much oatmeal companies want for their various products ever since!!

What’s in the “base” for each flavor of these packets?  Just dry milk, sugar and quick oats.  Anyone can enjoy the same time efficiency while paying significantly LESS for the same result!!!  The flavor need not be the same all the time either!  There are MANY “instant” flavorings!
How I do it:
This is what it looks like in my pantry...
I labeled an empty #10 can (or coffee style can) and filled it with my dry oatmeal mix base.  On the back, I put the “base recipe” followed by directions of how to cook it and a list of flavor options—so when my tired groggy brain can’t seem to think of any flavor option, it is right in front of me to choose from. 
Here's what I taped to the back of the can (with box tape)...
To make it even more convenient, I leave the needed ¼ c. measuring cup INSIDE the canister, designated just for the oatmeal “packets” to ensure a “quick breakfast”.  (NO searching for one in the drawer OR fishing one out of the dishwasher!)
The ULTIMATE convenience...the measuring cup is already inside!! 
Oatmeal Mix (Base)
4 c. quick oats
2 Tbsp. dry instant milk
2 Tbsp. sugar

Single serving directions: 
  1. Put ¼ c. dry oatmeal mix into a microwaveable bowl. 
  2. Add ½ c. water to bowl. 
  3. Microwave for 1 minute 20 seconds.

Optional flavors:
  • Cinnamon/Sugar with raisins
  • Apples with Cinnamon/Sugar (I use pre-cut dehydrated apples that crumple in.)
  • Diced pears (usually from a can)
  • Diced peaches (usually from a can)
  • Mandarin oranges (from a can)
  • Maple syrup and brown sugar
  • Blueberries (from the freezer...remember last post?  A little goes a LONG way!!)
  • “Chunky Monkey” (mashed ½ of a banana and 1 big squirt of Hershey’s syrup)
Happy Stretching pennies…

P.S.  Please feel free to leave any additional flavor ideas!!  I’m always on the lookout for more ways to expand our options!!

1 comment:

  1. I love this! And since I try to eat organic as much as possible, I can just use organic ingredients and it's WAY cheaper than instant organic oatmeal! I buy my organic flour, sugar, oats, pasta... etc. in bulk so it's not that much more expensive than the same non-organic item bought in bulk and cheaper than a non-organic item bought not in bulk (was that clear?). Anyway, thanks for the great tip! I love your blog!