Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Our Oatmeal Journey

We started off with the packs of Quaker Instant Oatmeal.  I thought nothing of it- at the time I had only one child eating it and only half a packet a day.  Then she started to eat more and my second child starting eating it.  Some days they would even eat to packets each.  I was tired of going to Costco and buying the big box of oatmeal only to go through it way too fast.  Not to mention I wasn't in control over the ingredients nor the sugar. I apparently like to be in control of those things- as my husband pointed out to me this past week. :)

I stumbled across a recipe for making your own bulk instant oatmeal.  Genius!  I whipped some up thinking no big deal but the kids wanted nothing to do with it.  They were set with their packets.  I gave up- for a little while- but eventually decided to bring it back in and make adjustments so that they would like it.  That worked.  It has been a year or more and I think I have only bought one more box of the instant oatmeal and that was for my husband.

Instant Oatmeal- in bulk

1 1/2 cups of quick oats
1/3 cup unpacked brown sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. nutmeg

To make it bulk times the recipe by 4 and store in a #10 can or similar container.

Mix all ingredients together. Scoop 1/3-1/2 cup in a bowl and add milk or water.  Microwave on high for 1 min. 30 sec.

I loved this it was easy and my kids liked it too.

Well, I started to not be so fond of using brown sugar (even though I already only used half of what the recipe calls for) so I substituted it with sucanant.  Then, you guessed it- I decided there was probably even a better option for a sweetener and I ran out of my quick oats so that brought on a whole new method.

I had read that quick oats were considered a processed food and all you needed to do to get a "quick oats cook time" was break up the rolled oats yourself.  I found this to be true and easy.  I would either take handfuls of the oats and break it up in my hand or put a bunch in a bowl and use my pastry blender to mash them up.  I haven't ever seen a problem with them not being able to cook.

So we went from packaged oatmeal- to homemade bulk oatmeal- then onto just individual oatmeal bowls.  Each of my kids like something different so I started to custom make their bowls- one likes peanut butter and I would sometimes add honey or agave- one likes cinnamon and she would be content with that but sometimes I add a sweetener too- and the other likes frozen blueberries and she could care less about what else is in it.

Once again this proved to be simple and easy and I knew everyone was going to be happy.

Well, now I am on a new path.  I am very interested in the method of soaking and sprouting grains.  I am curious to see if there is a change and benefit in the way our stomachs digest these grains once this process has taken place.  On this little research and journey of mine I have found a recipe for Soaked Oatmeal Porridge.  We had it this morning- and although the texture was different then what we are used to I think it is something that we will adjust to just fine .

Soaked Oatmeal Porridge

2 cups of rolled oats -I did break mine up a little bit but won't do it again the soaking takes care of that for you-
2 T. whole wheat flour -I would like to avoid this but understand the reasoning- follow the link to read why-
2-3 cups of hot water to cover
2 T of vinegar- you can also use anything acidic like whey, lemon juice, buttermilk, yogurt, or kefir
pinch of sea salt

You want to prepare this 24 hours in advanced- I only did mine about 12 hours in advanced- it still works but you don't get the maximum soaking and advantages.

Warm the water up on the stove.  As you wait for it to warm up combine the oats and flour and mix.  Once the water is just to warm pour it over the oat mixture to about 2 inches from the top.  Add your vinegar or acidic ingredient stir and cover tightly.  I would recommend using some type of glass container I love my batter bowl from Pampered Chef for this very thing.

Place in a warm place and let soak for 20-24 hours.

In the morning add 1-2 cups of water to a pan.  Add the contents of your soaking oatmeal. Turn to medium heat till you reach a simmer and then lower the heat.  Add a pinch of salt.  Cook, stirring occasionally and then more frequently at the end until you reach your desired consistency.  Season individually or in the one pot.  

So that's our little oatmeal journey.  I like the soaking method and think we will stick with it.  It just makes too much sense to me of why you should soak grains.  And who doesn't like to be a little prepared? 

Sorry for lack of pictures- I just don't think oatmeal is very photogenic nor did I have time to stop and take a picture with four famished children waiting to eat breakfast. :) 

My kids didn't say they were hungry till it was actually lunch time- this oatmeal is a keeper.

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