Sunday, January 24, 2010

Homemade Instant Oatmeal Packets

I leave for work a little after 6:00am, and by the time my break rolls around at 9:30 I'm ready for a breakfasty snack. Fruit is good, but having access to hot water made me think of instant oatmeal, the kind that comes in little packets flavored with yummy maple and brown sugar.

The problem is, most prepackaged instant oatmeal is full of junk, and I HATE oatmeal with salt in it. (My mom never put salt in our oatmeal; the first time I had salty oatmeal at a restaurant I gagged.)

So, I decided to try making my own instant oatmeal packets!

I started with this basic recipe (leaving out the salt), pulsing some of the instant oats into a coarse flour and mixing 2 tablespoons oat flour with 1/4 cup instant oats. I added different dried fruits and flavorings to taste:
  • 1 TB raisins, 1 TB brown sugar, 1/8 tsp. cinnamon, and 1 TB chopped walnuts

  • one package (1/2 cup) freeze dried strawberries & bananas

  • 1 TB date sugar, 2 TB freeze dried apples, 1/8 tsp. cinnamon, and 1 TB chopped pecans


  • 2 TB dried blueberries, 1 tsp. sugar, 1/8 tsp. orange zest, and 1/4 tsp. vanilla powder (found in the bulk spices section at my local health food store)


  • and (my favorite!) 1 TB finely shredded coconut and 2 TB chopped dried pineapple

I have many more ideas: dried cherries, coconut, and chocolate chips; dehydrated pears with sugar and a pinch of mace or cardamom; dried peaches with sugar and powdered soy milkor powdered rice milk. I could even buy maple sugarand make maple-brown sugar oatmeal.


At work I can put the instant oatmeal in my little mug, add about 2/3 cup hot water, and let it sit for 2 minutes. A perfect mid-morning snack!

104 comments:

What I Ate said...

Quaker makes 100 calorie plain oatmeal packets, FYI. You don't have to add salt! I have these in the morning with sliced banana and honey.

latapooz said...

this looks delicious! maybe add some blueberries and strawberries?

http://la-tapooz.blogspot.com/

NotAppealing said...

My favorite is 1tbs brown sugar and 1/8c dried cherries. The cherries become plump and delicious.

RLR said...

Mmmmm! I've been looking for a healthier alternative with less sugar (but not the artificial stuff). Thanks for sharing this idea!

suthrncan said...

This is such a great idea!!!

Kelmit said...

Do you read The Simple Dollar?

http://www.thesimpledollar.com/2008/05/09/making-your-own-homemade-oatmeal-packets-a-visual-guide-and-cost-analysis/

You might also like Trent's idea to make freezer burritos (no egg, though!)

Millie said...

This is so funny but I do the same thing. I make about 24 to 30 packets and then I have enough for the month. Great minds think alike.

http://nuestracena-vegancuisine.blogspot.com

ulyyf said...

We usually make steel-cut oats, so I use fresh fruit in it (which won't keep for that long, I know), but maybe you can adapt with dried veggies...

We sometimes make oatmeal with peaches (you'd use dried), honey (you'd use honey sugar, which is available for sale in some markets), and lavender. Or with pears (you'd use dried, or use dried apples) and ginger (you'd use powdered, I suppose).

My nieces had problems with fiber, so we also add, as a matter of course, a few spoonfuls of ground flaxseed to our oatmeal. Good source of omega fatty acids, isn't that?

PS - you don't allow Open ID comments. Is that by choice, or did you not know it was an option? Logging into Blogger/Google is annoying for me, I never remember my password, preferring to use my OpenID/LJ identity everywhere.

Rozmin said...

You can keep a jar of molasses at work for stirring in after it's cooked. That's my favorite!

Peanut butter is also good stirred into oatmeal.

And one flavor I like (I used to do this too) is dried sour cherries with almonds. Yum!

Kathleen said...

I've done this kind of thing myself and I have a question for you. I remember in times past you talking about your challenges with sugar - I too have a lifelong HUGE problem with sweet stuff and starchy stuff.

And I see in these recipes that you're using some sugar - I know those quantities seem so small but even those quantities would create massive cravings and slippery slopes and all that for me.

I'm looking for hope here!! Can you now eat a tablespoon of sweetener and leave it at that? All my good intentions would end up heading straight for the donut box!

Not even 3 years of Fuhrman food and lots of greens has made my tolerance for sugars any better. I just have to avoid them. So I"m looking for your secret!

Thanks,
Kathy

Noelley B said...

lol. My grandpa who wasn't genetically my grandpa used to eat oatmeal every single morning, without fail, with milk and half a banana and salt. He called it mush. His grandson once used salting oatmeal as a metaphor for tradition as pertaining to relationships in an email, and how salting oatmeal isn't really very good, and maybe we could try something else? A couple days later, Grandpa totally went off one morning about how "You have to have salt in your oatmeal, right? Can't have oatmeal without salt." It was uncanny and hilarious.

Thanks for reminding me of this story. He passed away about 11 months ago, and it's nice to be reminded. :)

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pavotrouge said...

what a great idea, especially for mornings when you oversleep and there's no time for breakfast!

Hannah said...

This is such a mind-bogglingly delicious and time/money-saving idea! I'm thinking cacao nibs and dried cranberries...

Scuba Diva said...

You really need to start your own company…you have so many useful, marketable ideas!

Jennifershmoo said...

Cacao nibs and dried cranberries sounds wonderful!

Kristin said...

Thanks for this recipe. I made some yesterday and had a wonderful breakfast today. Today's oatmeal: Banana Coconut and Carob.

Nichole said...

Good idea, I like it!

haggardmom said...

What a good idea!! My kids hate instant oatmeal, but a grind that was coarse enough not to be wallpaper paste when cooked but still fast cooking, just might work!
This is going to perhaps sound odd, but do you reuse your baggies? I've tried to minimize my plastic bag use and store most things in glass. Now that I think of it, a 4 oz jelly jar would be pretty good for storing this type of thing...

Jennifershmoo said...

Kathleen, I know just what you mean about the sugar. I've been there, where it felt like even a small bit of the dreaded white stuff would send me over the edge. If you're in that place, avoiding it entirely is probably the best bet; all of these oatmeal ideas can be made without the added sweetener, and if dried fruit bothers you you can always make your oatmeal with fresh fruit or a spoonful of nut butter instead.

But right now, for whatever reason, small amounts of sugar don't seem to bother me. My eating in general is very moderate and I'm thin, so I don't worry about it like I used to.

I can't really explain it, but I think a big part of it is the fact that my entire life has changed so radically in the last year. I went through a pretty ugly divorce, became a single mom, and went back to work full time. I'm so busy and distracted by the rest of my life, I don't focus on food like I used to, except that I do try to keep the blog up with occasional posts.

Also I'm happier and feel more in control of my life than I used to -- I think that makes a difference, too. :-)

Jennifershmoo said...

Yes, I made cute labels for my baggies and plan to reuse them for the same flavors over and over so I don't have to wash them out. I generally reuse baggies, washing and drying them on a bag drying rack over my sink. But jelly jars would be even better, I think!

Michal said...

What a great idea!

Farmer Family said...

Too funny!! I was just talking to my Mom about how expensive it is to buy those little instant packs for my children, she told me to just make some myself, and now I can!!! Thanks

Fayinagirl (means Free One) said...

Jennifer,

These look really good. Thank you for the idea. I'm going to try to make some for the hubs to take to work.

lasagna_maker said...

I never put salt in mine either.

I just have a container of old fashioned oats and put some in a microwavable bowl and add water (you can add raisons and whatever too) and put it in a microwave for three minutes and its cooked like on the stove.

No need to package into little bags....just keep the oatmeal container at work.

You can use multi grain cooked cereals too. Treat as oats.

Shelda said...

I'm with you, lasagna_maker, about the old-fashioned oats and the microwave. I don't think I need little packets either, but it sure is a neat idea for people who are using the commercial ones. My father really likes those, and I worry about what's in there!

I'm going to use some of these flavoring ideas for my regular oatmeal. My current favorite is slivered up dried apricots, dried cherries, and toasted pecans. But the pineapple/coconut sounds really yummy!

Carrie™ said...

Just the other day, while I was mixing up my store-bought package of oatmeal, I thought - 'I wish I could make these myself without all the chemicals & sugar in there' and voila! here you are posting about that very thing! Thanks for this Jennifer. I'm going to get right on it!

Netty said...

That is a great idea. I will go on the hunt for dried soya milk here in England now. Some things are so hard to get. I was glad when I found some yeast flakes in one of the health shops.

I do not use salt at all in my cooking. My daughter never minded growing up like that but my husband never got used to it.

embellished said...

I'm stopping by to say I've given your blog a Sunshine Award

http://embellishedwithlove.blogspot.com/2010/02/spread-some-sunshine.html

The recipes and lunch ideas you post are delicious (and healthy!) and I love my laptop bento box set. I can make lovely lunches now thanks to you!

Heather said...

I have spent some time experimenting with a raw diet and I actually prefer my oatmeal raw now, with rolled oats that is. Whole oats are obviously best cooked. With rolled oats, I soaked them overnight with ground flax, sunflower seeds and a few raisins. Add a tiny amount of maple syrup the next day and it is the best thing ever!

Jennifershmoo said...

But ... I don't think rolled oats are raw. They are flattened, steamed, and toasted oat groats, so they're kind of cooked before you even buy them, aren't they?

But I do agree, they are good cold as muesli, too!

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Sarah said...

I've made them for years with brown sugar and cinnamon. My kids love it!

Ty said...

This sounds great and completely doable. Thank you for the great great idea.

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Vegan Wanna Be said...

If I had to be somewhere in the morning, I would totally do this! But I'm a stay at home mom, and am home every day, thankfully! But, we do eat oatmeal almost every day, and I like to just put some vanilla soymilk and a little bit of Sugar in the Raw. Boring, I know. But we love oatmeal!!

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Truthspew said...

Some of the ingredients are intriguing. I'll have to try it out. I'm not vegan/vegetarian but always open to new flavors.

That said, the salt thing. When I do oatmeal I just use a tiny pinch of salt. Works for me.

And for shame, only letting users of Google accounts post comments. Tsk tsk tsk!

Lori said...

What a terrific idea! I've been ODing on oatmeal these days. Luckily I work from home, but my better half could use this for his lunch.

Thanks!

Alison @ Hospitality Haven said...

That's totally genius!!! What this sparks for me is how I can use this in a hospitality setting. We often have people staying with us, and I don't have the time/energy to prep breakfast for them - especially if we're on different schedules. I have a whole set-up in our guest area (basement with all the rooms, bathroom, etc.), and I'd LOVE to add small homemade oatmeal packets for them to use with our kettle so they can feed themselves when they're ready! THANK YOU!!!!

dropscone said...

This is great inspiration for me, especially after my housemate bought some instant stuff that had a ton of random crap in the ingredients. I kept telling him we could make a cheaper better version, but if I actually follow this he'll see the proof with his own eyes! :)

MilewskiFamily said...

I just put boxes of instant oatmeal back on the grocery shelf since our family is now starting a quest to eat healthier, more vegan-ish food. This is the perfect alternative for my family as (without fail) they have oatmeal every morning!!! thanks! I love all the variations, too!

Roxanne R said...

Pre-packaged oatmeal is pricey and choices are usually pretty limited. This is a great idea. Budget-friendly and endless variations. Thanks!

@tishushu said...

I'm so trying this... Great post!

My Exploration said...

That is such an awesome idea, I never thought about making my own. The healthy options I buy are very expensive. This great for a alternative.

Amy D'Agostino said...

That does look amazing

Joy R3FitShow said...

Many people are asking,"Why didn't I think of that."

Kris said...

What a great idea. Thanks for showing us this. I really enjoy Nature's Path organic oatmeal packets, but they, too, contain salt and sugar, so your idea is definitely worth trying. Have a great weekend :)

Pete said...

Great recipe for people on the go! Thks

Maria G: said...

What a great idea! Thanks for sharing! Oatmeal packets are wonderful for vegans who travel such as myself. We can just add water and have quick meal at destinations where there isn't much vegan fare.

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dropscone said...

I tried this with dessicated coconut, cocoa powder, and some maple almonds for texture. It worked really well, very comforting and tasty! :)

Allison said...

I love oatmeal! I buy mine from Costco. They have the Kirkland brand and it's organic! None of the nasty stuff in it, and it has different flavors :)

Blackdove said...

Oatmeal is good. But the regular flavors get old fast. Here's how I was able to put Asian flavors into oatmeal.

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Marie said...

What a fabulous idea! I have randomly thought about doing something like this, but brushed it off as something that couldn't be done! Bravo! I shall have to try this some time!

Marie
afterschoolclubideas.com

Christie said...

This is a great (and light) recipe for breakfast while I'm backpacking! I'm about to start a job involving backpacking into the mountains for 10 days at a time so cheap, light, quick vegan meals are gold for me. Thanks so much!

bfest99 said...

I love this idea. I could easily make favors that you cannot buy at the store. It has limitless possibilities!

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Silvia said...

This is a good idea.

diedolly1 said...

what a fantastic idea! tried this, this morning, with a fantastic turn out! good bye morning granola :)

Montana Mary said...

This is such a wonderful idea! Now I wish with all my heart you would do a blog entry on creating frozen dinners. I think I could figure out what foods to use, but what do I put them in? Can you recommend freezer-safe bento boxes? Or did I miss an old blog on this topic??

tas said...

Hi Jennifer

A long time ago you posted a receipe for muffins that had molasses in them. I have tried to find the receipe again, but am having problems...Can you help me?

Thanks
Anne

Jennifershmoo said...

I think you're thinking of Full Meal Muffins:

http://shmooedfood.blogspot.com/2007/02/full-meal-muffins.html

I also made Banana-Molasses Muffins from another cookbook once:

http://veganlunchbox.blogspot.com/2006/04/banana-molasses-muffin.html

They're still one of my favorites, too!

tas said...

THanks!!! it was the first receipe i was looking for!

Token (Bento-Lunch-Blog) said...

oh god, a vegan bento-blog! *__* I love it!! <3 Just have to look around more!! :) Thanks for sharing all the tips! It's always looks delicious!!

ahealthyvegan said...

This is such a good idea, a perfect alternative to those prepackaged things.

Heather said...

mmm, I have oatmeal every morning and I love your idea of dried pineapple

rodnpet said...

I think I'll try this with cinnamon and chopped pecans or maybe walnuts. Might even stir in a bit of maple syrup.

www.AnimalFreeProtein.com

healthtec said...

You have lovely ideas...it is always better to have home made stuff over prepacked one.It is healthier and more pure in every sense of the word.

EMR

Carolyn said...

I can't wait to try this. Totally agree that store bought oatmeal, even Kashi brand, is full of salt. Yuck.

Bethany said...

Hi!

We do a weekly link round-up at Diet-Blog.com, and we're including this in tomorrow's post. Great idea!

foodfitnessfreshair.com said...

Great ideas. I hate most instant oatmeal products in the store too because of all the sugar and other additives. However, I do often add salt to my oatmeal...sometimes I'll just do a little salt and pepper. Kind of strange, but I was brought up on oatmeal like this!

Kate said...

Great idea! Wish I could eat my breakfast at work...

kristykat1116 said...

As a type 2 diabetic, "instant" oatmeal is about the worst breakfast food around. It's as much as buying "pre-digested" food. Ones system needs to do the work of digesting slowly natural organic products....steel cut oats, fresh or fresh frozen fruit, honey from local bee hives.....so make a pot at home, parcel it out in small containers and take it to work to warm up with a dash of soy milk.

funplayroom said...

It does look so good. I will try some!!! Thanks for sharing!

erin said...

great idea, though you should look into reusable snack bags to cut waste and expense. etsy.com is a great place to start for that.

msk said...

i'm in love with this. cherry-almond vanilla!!

wholesomechow said...

This sounds like a great idea! I love oatmeal but find it does take quite a while to make. Thanks for sharing your cleaver ideas with us!

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Meg said...

What a smart idea!!

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Jamie said...

I tried to make a big batch and it was WAY too salty (I do like a bit of salt in my oatmeal). It tasted like eating play dough. I need to add more oats to salvage it. It isn't a total disaster, but made from a not so lovely breakfast.
http://incompleteprojects.blogspot.com/

Jennifershmoo said...

Huh. You must have totally missed the part where I wrote that I hate salt in oatmeal and left out salt entirely when making mine.

I use no salt and miss it not at all, but a tiny pinch would probably suffice if you wanted to add some.

sarah said...

Isn't it great when you can make something healthy and wholesome to replace packaged food? It's so much tastier as well. A great idea, thanks.

Bridget said...

You've done it yet again! Thank you thank you thank you for making food such a fun, healthy part of my life!

The Vagabond Priest said...

Just a thought, since you are getting great suggestions on using glass over plastic (I haven't taken that step just yet, but maybe in the next year!).

If you don't have easy access to baby food jars, what if you went to a Bed Bath and Beyond or a Penzeys and picked up some of the spice jars? Penzeys has a bunch ranging from the small size up to huge, and I bet one would be a perfect size for oatmeal.

Of course, in its current form, it's very packable and cute. I think if I start feeling crafty, I would make a bag for my tiffin with an extra pouch for a breakfast or a snack... the oatmeal would fit perfectly!

fatfriend said...

I feel like you changed my life with this post . . . homemade instant food! Thanks for the recipe :)

Tracy said...

Oh wow! What a smart idea!!! I, personally, try to stay away from "quick cooking" or "instant" anything, though, but this seems like a great emergency I-forgot-to-bring-a-healthy-snack idea to keep in my desk to keep me from the snack machine!

Olivia said...

I made these and added flax and tons of cinnamon, and took them to camp. Since the only thing I could have at breakfast was fruit, I mixed these with a little rice milk or water and it was yummy! Kind of like batter, in a way. Another winner :)

Eddie Christopher Lawrence D. said...

Love this idea! Colleagues are reminding me to go green; might try this with reusable containers?
:)

SjAy said...

Cool ideas. I am having my oats without salt. Just with some fruits.
Unfortunately I wont take salt for a while
Thanks all the oatmeal options

The Vegetarian Girl said...

What a fab idea! I am definately going to have a go at doing this. I sometimes find it difficult to stay healthy if I am working odd hours and I end up eating junk.

Saw your blog years ago but have just rediscovered it and definately going to start following it!

Love The Vegetarian Girl
http://lifeofavegetariangirl.blogspot.com

Stacie said...

This is a great idea. I prefer to use fresh fruit instead of dried but dried cherries does sound delicious. A good combination is 1/2 a banana mushed up in the oatmeal, 1 tbsp peanutbutter and a handful of raisins. It's pretty tasty and very filling!

Thanks for the ideas :)

Lacey said...

I do this with the basic brown sugar cinnamon and raisins for my boys. I'm excited to found these recipes to use for me at work. Thanks!

Celeste Mendez said...

This is a genious idea, I love instant oatmeal,but dislike all the peservatives and junk, and sugar. One question: Where do I find freeze dried fruit?


Celeste http://momapprovedwebsitesnmore.blogspot.com/

Jennifershmoo said...

I get mine in the health food section of my grocery store, but you can also find them at camping and outdoor stores like REI. :-)

Celeste Mendez said...

Thanks, I didn't think about a camping store. Sorry for the spelling errors in my previous comment, I wrote it so fast then forgot to go back and check.
Celeste
http://momapprovedwebsitesnmore.blogspot.com/

Lisa said...

I am so excited about these recipes. I am going to make several of them and keep them in canning jars. I am going to make one serving up and see how much the entire contents equals (1/4 cup, etc). I will tape the instructions on the jar. Then when the kids want an after school snack or quick breakfast, they can scoop out the indicated amount and add the indicated amount of hot water.

This is also going to be great for using when we go camping.

So Awesome... Thank you again.

Kristy Joy said...

You are my hero. I just stumbled on this blog while I was searching for new reads and this is such a great idea. The little bags labeled neatly appeal to my organized side! Bravo!

Branlaadee said...

I know this is a very old post, but I just wanted to thank you for the recipe! My husband has a packet of oatmeal every day at work. Now he has a nice little baggy of homemade instant oatmeal that is sweetened to his tastes (which is very lightly) and the flavors he loves! Thank you so much!

nobacon said...

These are great! I love taking packets like this when I hike. Thanks for the reminder and love your blog!

alexis.hill said...

I think I'll experiment with this a bit. I hate factory packaged meals, but I can't make breakfast every day due to time constraints. Maybe I'll make a recipe for a new flavor like chocolate raisin or something.

Rachel said...

I've never really liked quick cooking/instant oatmeal as much as slow cooked stuff for some reason, but these look so I good I may have to try then again!