August 27, 2010 at 1:00 am
Almost six months ago, when our family’s diet changed due to suspected food allergies, I began to adore oatmeal in a way I never would have anticipated.
We were struggling with a very limited diet back then, and on the first day, when I was grappling with what I could make that wouldn’t make anyone sick or take three hours, I turned to oatmeal.
Sure, oatmeal is usually considered a breakfast food, but when you are hungry enough, sometimes you don’t really care what time it is (sometimes I miss college …)
Our family had quite a few meals of oatmeal as we navigated the world of gluten-free oats, and corn being in just about everything on the planet.
And as the days got longer and warmer, we were lucky enough to be able to add some foods back into our menu.
As we gear up for the school year, though, we have begun to embrace our old friend oatmeal again. Oatmeal is so nourishing and cozy. And there is something that just feels really great about serving up a hot breakfast.
But if you are like me, morning is not always the peaceful oasis of calm you wish it was. My children often wake up starving, as if they spent the night dreaming they were running a marathon.
And our family is still dealing with some “food stuff,” meaning we often find ourselves eating slightly different variations of the same meal, even when that meal is a morning bowl of oatmeal.
So what we do here is what I like to think of as almost instant oatmeal. By creating our own versions of the stuff in the packets, we save money, skip the excess sugar and preservatives, and everyone gets oatmeal their way.
The basic recipe is ¼ cup oats + 1tbsp ground oats (or oat flour)+ dry sweetener (optional) + other fun toppings.
These ingredients can be placed in a small zip-top bag for travel to work, school, etc. (camping?)
We have chosen a slightly different path toward the same end goal. In our family, the kids load up the ingredients in a small reusable container before bed. They choose what they want from whatever nuts, fruits, etc. we have on hand. In the morning, we transfer all the ingredients to a small glass bowl, add hot water and stir.
Some favorites here include: dried cherries with sliced almonds; dried pineapple and coconut with macadamia nuts; cinnamon and brown sugar; and dried peaches with a bit of vanilla bean.
I like to add honey or agave after the water has been added to sweeten my oatmeal instead of using a dried sweetener, and yes, once or twice I have even seen a small 3-year-old type person here add 5 mini chocolate chips to her bowl. All things in moderation.
We still love our oatmeal from scratch, but on those mornings when I wake to realize the household is running out of towels or the cat made a bed out of the rice box I set up for my pre-schooler, it sure is nice to know that a warm and hearty breakfast can be ready in minutes.
Even if I’m pretty sure I can’t be.