Monday, March 15, 2010

morning oatmeal

I often have clients say they don't know how to cook, and the breakfast cereal rut is one of the big challenges for them. Breakfast is really important. Kids do better in school when they eat breakfast and tend to struggle less with unhealthy weight gain.
One Dad asked how to make oatmeal. I not a huge fan of the little packets of microwave oatmeal as they have lots of sugar and other things and are more expensive. If you really like them, try using a packet with some quick cook oats and microwaving so it's not quite so sweet. Oatmeal is a nice whole-grain, minimally processed breakfast. I often scramble an egg or two in another pan while making the oatmeal and put the eggs on the table too. Sometimes M eats them, sometimes not, but I love some eggs most mornings. (Small amount butter in nonstick pan, crack eggs directly into pan, stir up with wooden spoon! Easy!)

Here's how we do oatmeal. Younger kids can help measure, and older kids can help stir. (Or, do it yourself on weekday mornings to save time!)

morning oatmeal (for 3)
Use 1/2 cup measure (1/2 cup is one serving roughly)
1 (1/2 cup measure) of quick cook oats
2 (1/2 cup measures) of regular old-fasioned oats
5 (1/2 cup measures) of milk (this was a great source of calcium when M wasn't drinking milk-can even stir in evaporated milk for more calcium and creamier taste)
combine and stir over medium heat. When starts to bubble, turn down to simmer until thickens, about 5 minutes. (It will be thick on purpose so you can add cold milk to cool it off. Little kids often like luke-warm food so this way you don't end up sitting there for 10 minutes blowing on the oatmeal. )

(I use a ratio of 1:2 quick to old-fashioned oats because I like the consistency and it seems to go a little quicker.)

Put oatmeal in bowls. Add milk to desired temp and thickness. I like hot oatmeal, so I microwave a little extra milk to add to mine.

Topping options:
brown sugar, raisins, honey, maple syrup, M likes frozen blueberries right now, craisins, walnuts...
Have an oatmeal sundae bar and let the kids chose the toppings. Enjoy!

How do you make oatmeal? (I really want to buy a small crockpot, but I am on a temporary moratorium on new kitchen gadgets-no room!)


  1. I'm not a super-early morning eater, but I do function better with breakfast, so I pack oatmeal for breakfast every morning, to eat at work.

    I combine everything in a microwaveable container with a lid, and toss it in my bag with my laptop. Once I get to work, I add water, microwave it, and voila! Breakfast!

    1/2 c quick oats
    3/4 c frozen blueberries (straight from the freezer bag)
    1 t cinnamon (that's a lot of may prefer to use less, or try it with some nutmeg!)

    * * *

    Add 3/4 c water or milk (up to 1 c if you like thinner oatmeal). Microwave for 3 min on 70% power so you don't turn the blueberries to mush. Stir. Then microwave for another 30-60 seconds on high.

    * * *

    Quick, easy, filling, and delicious! :-)

  2. I love this idea! Have you ever tried using old-fashioned or steel cut and adding them milk to soften them up, then microwave it at work?
    I just love the little extra texture the old-fashioned oats add. How could I forget cinnamon! Kids LOVE to sprinkle ANYTHING!

  3. Hubby makes a quart batch steelcut oats in the crock pot, puts it in the fridge, and microwaves as desired. He cooks it in water and adds dried fruit, cinnamon, and splenda.

    I prefer rolled oats, but can deal with the steelcut. I make it with 1/2 water and 1/2 apple juice, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Recently I made a batch with water, a little milk, molasses, ginger, cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg - yes, aiming for gingerbread.

  4. I personally love oats with a heaping Tbs. of all natural peanut butter, banana and a little sprinkle of brown sugar!

    If you own a rice cooker that works great to cook oatmeal in! You can even serve your oatmeal at a brunch directly from it!

  5. Hey Coach's Oats, can you tell me more about cooking oatmeal in a rice cooker? I lived in a hotel for 10 weeks doing travel doctoring (shout out to Grafton ND!) and I cooked all my meals in a rice cooker and microwave. Buffalo Mannwich was my fave!

  6. We put steel cut oats with dried fruit in our programmable/fuzzy logic rice cooker at night. A hot tasty porridge is waiting for us when we get out of bed. Fuzzy logic/programmable rice cookers have a porridge setting. Just follow the instructions that come with the rice cooker as they may vary from machine to machine.