We go in food phases in our house, one day we love oatmeal but the next day I'm finding expired packets that need to be tossed. One of those throwing out days I wondered if there's a better way to get great tasting instant oatmeal... after much experimentation there is!
There's tons of recipes out there, this is a good basic that works for us. I mix a batch up and portion out into half pint jelly jars, labeling the lid with a dry erase marker. At first my husband laughed skeptically at these rows of jars but after a few days he was asking what exactly is in these and bringing friends in to see his wife's crazy good oatmeal collection! Now it's a staple in our house.
Home Made Instant Oatmeal
2 1/2 cups Quick Oats or Regular Oats
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
Blend 3/4 cup of the oatmeal in a blender or food processor (I use Vitamix with grain mill blender container but not needed; just a few pulses to it up to a heavy powder). Mix ground oatmeal with other ingredients, adding to a container with sealed lid (or ziplock bag). Shake up really good to combine. This is the instant oatmeal base that will make 9 servings. Sometimes I mix a few and leave the base which my husband likes because some days he adds a little more plain to his bowl or he feels like going outside my jars and mixing his own!
To package for individual servings add the following to a half pint jelly jar:
1/3 cup of the oatmeal base along with flavoring mix-ins such as: 1 tsp seeds (chia, flax) + 2 tsp grain, nuts or dried fruit (oat bran, wheat germ, any ground nut, choppied dried fruit) +1-3 tsp sweetner (stevia, coconut sugar, vanilla sugar, or more brown sugar) + 1/8 tsp spice (cinnamon, apple pie spice, grains of paradise) + pinch salt
Or use your imagination and follow the above proportions (aprox 3 tsp flavorings + 1-3 tsp sweetner +1/8 tsp spice) along with the 1/3 oatmeal base. Some of our favorites include: coconut, hot cocoa mix, chocolate chips, and PB2 dried peanut butter.
To cook the oatmeal:
For regular oats: add about 3/4 cup liquid to a bowl along with contents of the jar. Cover and microwave about 2-3 minutes depending on the microwave. Our favorite liquids to use are soy milk, almond milk, hemp milk, hazelnut milk. Chocolate versions of any of those are obviously really good!
For instant oats: add boiling water directly to jar, about 1/2" from the top. Cover and let sit about 5 minutes. You can also add 2 tsp powdered milk for creamy consistency with the water. I love this option for the office since it's so easy.
I've also done overnight oats with this method: add desired liquid (any milk works great or water for lower calories) to jar, about 3/4" from top. Regular oats will still be runny in the morning and I'm not a fan of cold oats so I do heat up in the jar, covered, watching very closely heating in 30 second increments because it will overflow very quickly!
We have become more creative with our mix-ins and came up with snappy concoctions such as: Almond Joy (almonds, coconut, chocolate chunks, coconut sugar), Cherry Pie (dried cherries, graham cracker crumbs, vanilla sugar), Peanut Butter Cup (chocolate chunks, PB2 dried peanut butter), Pina Colada (dried pineapples, coconut sugar, coconut)... the possibilities are endless! Let me know if you come up with any options we must try!
Generally I'm not fooled by celebrity recipes but in my healthy living days while looking through Self magazine the words "candy bar" jump off the page at me. I skeptically tear the page out and in a mood of baking withdrawl I come across it a few months later. I read and after making tons of date/nut filled goodies I think this recipe sounds pretty good, and not too difficult. But I wonder if this is really worth buying another type of flour (now I need coconut flour in my life?!) but I'm desperately fooled by the title... CANDY!.... I want CANDY!.... so on my grocery list it goes.
Like I mentioned almost every week I've been experimenting with energy balls/bites with nuts/fruit in the Vitamix (my food processor passed away and I have not replaced yet) so I though I could try this in there. This recipe is more like a dough that was a bit much for the Vitamix; I overheated several times and tore a William Sonoma spatuala in the process so I would not recommend doing that. My husband actually begged me to run to the store and get a food processor while I was making this. I am stubborn so I did get it to blend after doing small amounts and chopping the dates pretty fine... but I did shortly after decide on a food processor to buy, which I will do soon because we need more of these bars!
The recipe didn't specify what type of pan to but these in buy now I see all the photos in a square brownie size pan... oops. I went with a jelly roll pan lined with a Silpat instead of the parchment and it worked great. My husband and I actually loved how thin they were. We like the smaller serving size, just a little square of these satisfies that candy bar craving.
The almond butter I made using a simple recipe (bottom of the article gave Gwenyth's recipe which is 1 cup almonds and pinch of salt in a food processor). I started this in the Vitamix and have no luck making nut butters in there without oil so I added a little canola oil to my 1 cup almonds to get a smooth blend.
I'm not a fan of recipes that ask for chocolate chips to be melted down; I like my chips to stay chips! So I used 80% cacao chocolate that I chopped (my favorite local brand, Omanhene).
Definitely worth the investment in the coconut flour... (as now I'm studying more recipes to make using it)... but for now more of Gwenyth's candy bars, one of the best healthy snack recipes I've come across!
2013 Self Magazine from "It's All Good: Delicious, Easy Recipes That Will Make You Look Good and Feel Great" by Gwyneth Paltrow and Julia Turshen
Came across this interesting recipe back in October 2007 Better Home & Gardens magazine and it's still a fall time favorite. Great way to use those Wisconsin apples & cheddar cheese.
Apple-Cheddar Soup Better Homes & Gardens
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon butter
2 medium baking potatoes, peeled and diced
2 cups apple cider
1/2 tsp dried thyme, crushed
dash cayenne pepper
1 medium cooking apple, peeled, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (1 cup)
fresh apple slices
1. In large saucepan cook onion in hot butter over medium heat until tender. Stir in potatoes, cider, thyme, salt, and cayenne pepper. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, 15 minutes. Add chopped apple; simmer, covered, 5 minutes or until potatoes are tender. In small bowl combine milk and flour; stir into soup. Cook and stir until bubbly. Slowly add cheese, whisking until cheese is melted.
2. Divide soup among serving dishes; top with apple slices and peppercorns. Makes 4 to 6 side-dish servings.
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