Why Oatmeal is a Breakfast Staple in our House and should be in yours as Well

By Liz

oatmeal-breakfast

Oatmeal has been popular since its introduction to the masses in the late 1800’s. In the early 1900’s the first oatmeal cookie debuted, but at that time it was known as an Oat Cake. In 1922 quick oats hit the market which was a blessing for those who found that standing over a pot of traditional oats on the stove to be a bit time consuming. In the mid 1960’s instant oatmeal in their individual packets was introduced, but it wasn’t until 1970 that breakfast rituals hit an all time high with the appearance of flavored instant oatmeal.  The quick, flavored breakfast staple was a success and remains just as popular today.

Like many people my age, I was introduced to regular oatmeal, although instant and flavored oatmeal was in its infancy in the marketplace, my parents stuck with what they knew. They would make us kids regular, stove top, cooked oatmeal.  I remember many mornings sitting and playing with my breakfast until it was cold and inedible.  For me, the taste and the consistency bared a striking resemblance to wall paper paste and as you can imagine, not one of my favorites.  It wasn’t until I was about four that my mind would be changed on this breakfast food forever.

me-and-stevie

It was a cold bitter morning in Middle Village, New York and my mom and I had just returned from walking my brother to school which was located approximately four or so blocks away. I hadn’t eaten breakfast before the trip that morning and was whining about how hungry I was the whole walk home.  Once we got home, my mom put on the tea kettle to boil some water while I struggled to get my layers of winter garb off. She called me to the kitchen and waiting for me on the table was my least favorite breakfast….a bowl of oatmeal, however, as I sat there, I instantly noticed that this did not look or smell like the same bowl of paste like breakfast I was used to eating.  I was enticed by a wonderful aroma of apples and cinnamon, and this bowl of hot oatmeal looked so creamy not lumpy and unappealing. Immediately my mouth started to water.  I picked up my spoon and dove in! Since that morning, I have been hooked on flavored oatmeal. Now that’s not to say that I have eaten oatmeal for the majority of my breakfasts since then, but it has remained in my breakfast rotation for many, many years.

What is great about oatmeal, aside from the fact that it has its health benefits, is that is one of those “stick to your ribs” meals, so you don’t need to eat a lot of it to be satiated. It is also inexpensive, easy to make, versatile and has a pretty long shelf life.  Now being a thrifty person, I have done the cost analysis and breakdown of store bought instant oatmeal vs. homemade instant oatmeal.  The truth is the cost of most store brand boxed instant oatmeal per ounce is only really a penny or so more expensive than making it homemade, but let me re-emphasize that it is only if you are buying the cheapest store brand.

oatmeal-lead-pic

Personally, I like making my own mix for instant oatmeal at home and having several mix-INS on hand to change up the flavor, so that I potentially have enough variety to have a different flavor for every morning of the week. I am fortunate enough to live within a 7 mile radius of a Whole Foods, Sprouts and Winco all of which have bulk food departments, Winco being the least expensive of the three.  When I package up my servings I measure out ½ cup of my instant oatmeal mix into snack sized bags, this is slightly more than the 1/3 cup portion that you receive from the store bought boxed packages.

Currently the items I have on hand for mix-ins are as follows:

Dried blueberries

Dried cranberries

Raisins

Peanut butter powder

Chopped pecans and chopped walnuts

Dried apricots

Dried apples

Honey and bananas

Jam or jelly

While currently I am enjoying a mix of dried blueberries and chopped pecans in my instant oatmeal, I have to admit, that to this day my all time favorite has been and will always be, apple and cinnamon, bringing me back to that flavor epiphany I had as a child.

Here is the bulk recipe I use for instant oatmeal I hope that you and your family enjoy it just as much as my family and I have.



Bulk Instant Oatmeal
Serves 13
Delicious instant oatmeal packets you can make at home
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174 calories
34 g
1 g
2 g
6 g
0 g
47 g
29 g
14 g
0 g
2 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
47g
Servings
13
Amount Per Serving
Calories 174
Calories from Fat 19
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 2g
3%
Saturated Fat 0g
2%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 1g
Cholesterol 1mg
0%
Sodium 29mg
1%
Total Carbohydrates 34g
11%
Dietary Fiber 3g
12%
Sugars 14g
Protein 6g
Vitamin A
2%
Vitamin C
1%
Calcium
8%
Iron
8%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 5 cups quick cooking oats
  2. 1/2 cup powdered milk
  3. 2/3 cup light brown sugar
Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl and either pour into a large container to store or package into snack size bags in 1/2 cup servings.
  2. Mix 1/2 cup oatmeal mixture with hot water.
  3. Enjoy as is or stir in any mix-INS of your choice.
Oatmeal Mix-INS suggestions
  1. Dried fruit
  2. Fresh fruit
  3. Powdered or regular peanut butter
  4. Honey
  5. Chopped nuts
  6. dried apple and cinnamon
  7. Raisins
  8. Chocolate chips
  9. Bananas
  10. Jam or jelly
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calories
174
fat
2g
protein
6g
carbs
34g
more
The Fort Worth Homemaker http://thefortworthhomemaker.com/

Hearty Rustic Pork Ragu

pork-ragu-08

This hearty and delicious recipe is packed with vibrant flavors and is a great way to sneak vegetables in if you have picky eaters.

Not only is this meal great for those cold chilly days, but it is also great for the summer when you’re cooking for a crowd and don’t want to heat your kitchen up by turning on the oven.

This is one of those great meals you can assemble in the morning and don’t have to touch until it is time to be served and on busy days…who doesn’t love that?

pork-ragu-02

Ingredients:

2-3 pounds pork roast or tenderloin

1 large onion, chopped

2 large carrots, peeled and chopped

3 ribs of celery, rinsed and chopped

1 medium bell pepper, chopped

4 -5 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon of ground black pepper

¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)

3 cups spaghetti sauce

pork-ragu-04

Directions:

1. Spray a 6 quart slow cooker with non-stick spray.

2. Rough cut all the vegetables into bite size pieces and place on the bottom of the slow cooker add seasonings.

3. Add pork roast on top of the bed of vegetables add an additional sprinkle of salt and pepper over the pork.

4. Pour spaghetti sauce over pork and vegetables (do not stir).

5. Cover and cook on low 6 to 8 hours.

pork-ragu-05

6. Remove pork and break pork into bite size pieces or shred; then add back to pot and stir.

pork-ragu-07

7. Serve hot, over desired cooked pasta or over bread.

This is a favorite in our house and even though we have a large family, believe it or not, we always have leftovers with this  hearty meal and no one seems to mind having it for lunch the following day. So the next time you are looking for a crowd pleasing, satisfying easy dish to make, give this one a try and enjoy the recipe card below.

Hearty Rustic Pork Ragu
Serves 8
A crowd pleasing, hearty, delicious and thrifty dinner for anytime of the year.
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320 calories
13 g
114 g
11 g
41 g
3 g
311 g
802 g
8 g
0 g
5 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
311g
Servings
8
Amount Per Serving
Calories 320
Calories from Fat 95
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 11g
16%
Saturated Fat 3g
15%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 4g
Cholesterol 114mg
38%
Sodium 802mg
33%
Total Carbohydrates 13g
4%
Dietary Fiber 3g
13%
Sugars 8g
Protein 41g
Vitamin A
84%
Vitamin C
41%
Calcium
6%
Iron
11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 2-3 pounds pork roast or tenderloin
  2. 1 large onion, chopped
  3. 2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
  4. 3 ribs of celery, rinsed and chopped
  5. 1 medium bell pepper, chopped
  6. 4 -5 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced
  7. 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  8. 1 teaspoon of ground black pepper
  9. ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  10. 3 cups spaghetti sauce
Instructions
  1. Spray a 6 quart slow cooker with non-stick spray.
  2. Rough cut all the vegetables into bite size pieces and place on the bottom of the slow cooker add seasonings.
  3. Add pork roast on top of the bed of vegetables add an additional sprinkle of salt and pepper over the pork.
  4. Pour spaghetti sauce over pork and vegetables (do not stir).
  5. Cover and cook on low 6 to 8 hours.
  6. Remove pork and break pork into bite size pieces or shred; then add back to pot and stir.
Notes
  1. Serve hot, over desired cooked pasta or over bread.
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calories
320
fat
11g
protein
41g
carbs
13g
more
The Fort Worth Homemaker http://thefortworthhomemaker.com/

Savory Green Onion and Garlic Quinoa

quinoa-1

By Liz

I have to admit, it took me awhile to get on board with the quinoa craze. Unfortunately when it first hit the scene many of the brands that were offering this healthy grain up to the masses had very crude or rustic packaging and every time I would look at a bag in the store, I would just immediately feel like millennial hippies were trying to pass off dirt as a food source.

The first time I tried it, I had followed the directions on the package.  I did not add anything to it, as I wanted to have a discernible base. To my surprise, I enjoyed the texture, it was very close to couscous and the even though, somewhat unappealing without flavoring, the quinoa was light and neutral enough that I knew it would easily take on the flavors of any other ingredients I would add, very similar to cooking rice.

On a side note, like rice, the grain expands, so if you have leftovers,  this grain can easily be frozen.

Here is my recipe for a savory quinoa, which can be served as a side dish as is or sprinkled with your favorite cheese, added to soup or used to make a lunch or dinner bowl by adding some veggies, beans, avocados, grilled chicken, etc…

quinoa-2

Green Onion and Garlic Quinoa

Ingredients:

1 cup Quinoa, rinsed and drained

1 ½ tsp. chicken base or 2 cups Chicken Broth

2 cups water (omit if using chicken broth)

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 stalks of green onion, thinly sliced

½ tsp. salt

½ tsp. pepper

quinoa-3

Directions:

1. In a medium saucepan, add water, chicken base, garlic and onion.

2. Bring to a boil.

3. Add quinoa, salt and pepper.

4. Stir well to combine all ingredients, about 30 seconds.

5. Lower heat to simmer, cover and cook 15 to 20 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed.

6. Remove from heat and fluff with fork.

7. Serve warm.

quinoa-5
Enjoy the simple recipe card below.

Savory Green Onion & Garlic Quinoa
Serves 8
A healthy and nutritious side dish or base.
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82 calories
14 g
0 g
1 g
3 g
0 g
86 g
152 g
0 g
0 g
1 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
86g
Servings
8
Amount Per Serving
Calories 82
Calories from Fat 12
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 1g
2%
Saturated Fat 0g
1%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 152mg
6%
Total Carbohydrates 14g
5%
Dietary Fiber 2g
7%
Sugars 0g
Protein 3g
Vitamin A
1%
Vitamin C
2%
Calcium
2%
Iron
6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
  2. 1 ½ tsp. chicken base or 2 cups chicken broth
  3. 2 cups water (omit if using chicken broth)
  4. 2 garlic cloves, minced
  5. 2 stalks of green onion, thinly sliced
  6. ½ tsp. salt
  7. ½ tsp. pepper
Instructions
  1. In a medium saucepan, add water, chicken base, garlic and onion.
  2. Bring to a boil.
  3. Add quinoa, salt and pepper.
  4. Stir well to combine all ingredients, about 30 seconds.
  5. Lower heat to simmer, cover and cook 15 to 20 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed.
  6. 6. Remove from heat and fluff with fork.
  7. . Serve warm.
beta
calories
82
fat
1g
protein
3g
carbs
14g
more
The Fort Worth Homemaker http://thefortworthhomemaker.com/