Hi! I don't know about all of you, but a common question at my house is, "What's for breakfast?" Or lunch, or dinner, or snack, or .... You get the idea. I am always on the lookout for recipes that are healthier than store bought alternatives, inexpensive, and most important-something that my kids will like! I can't get them to like oatmeal for the life of me if I cook it from scratch, no matter what toppings I offer with it, but they will eat packaged oatmeal by the box. One package is not enough for my hungry teens though, and I wanted something with ingredients I could pronounce. So, I have come up with this recipe, and I will give you some hints for ways to sneak in some healthy ingredients as well.
The basic recipe looks like this:
9 C quick oats
1 1/2 C sugar
1 1/2 C powdered milk
1 1/2 teas. salt
3 C freeze dried fruit
1/2 C ground chia seeds or flax (opt.)
Mix up your oats, sugar, powdered milk and salt. Stir in your dried fruit (cut it up if they are large pieces like strawberries) and your optional ground seeds, and you are done! Pour it into a jar for storage and breakfast is ready! When it comes time for breakfast, younger kids might want 1/2 cup, while older kids might want up to a cup. Pour boiling hot water over the top just like you would for instant oatmeal packages, and let it sit for a few minutes. You can also microwave it for about a minute, depending on your microwave. You can adjust the thickness to your preference by adding more or less water. If your kids are old enough to run a microwave or boil water, they can make their own breakfast, and that is a beautiful thing! I also often tell them to make a small bowl of oatmeal to tide them over until breakfast (or dinner!) is done. Between this oatmeal and eggs from our Chicken Scratch Poultry hens, breakfast is easy and healthy every day.
One last thought, I am always trying to sneak some flax into various recipes for its great Omega-3 benefits, so I started throwing a little of that into my mix as well. Then I started hearing about the benefits of chia seeds, so I throw some of them in. If your family isn't used to that, add a little at a time and they won't notice! You can also use sugar substitutes, or reduce the sugar in the recipe. When I adjust a recipe, I slightly reduce the sugar (maybe 2 T less) every time I make a batch until I start getting complaints, and then I bump it up a bit and that's the new recipe. I buy the Augason Farms freeze dried fruit, but you can use any dried fruit or freeze dried fruit available in your area or on Amazon. My kids prefer the strawberry, but I have done it with Craisins and dried apricots as well. I also have a recipe for maple and brown sugar oatmeal mix that I will try to share at a later date if you all are interested.
I would love to hear from you if you think of some new ideas to add to this recipe! Cooking healthy meals for a family can be a challenge, but when we share our ideas it can make our lives easier.