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
beta
calories
174
fat
2g
protein
6g
carbs
34g
more
The Fort Worth Homemaker http://thefortworthhomemaker.com/

How to Heat your Home for Free…..or Almost Free




By Luis

It’s springtime and that means many things to many people; spring cleaning, landscaping, gardening and picnics.  All of those things conjure up bright and happy images for a multitude of people.  Springtime, for me, however get me thinking about heating up my house.

fire

Wait, before you click away let me explain.  My household loves a roaring fireplace during the cold dreary winter months.  If you do too, then you know exactly how wonderful it is to hear the crackle of a wood fire while basking in its radiant warmth.  This kind of heating source always comes with a price, most notably the cost of the firewood.

Anyone that has purchased firewood as a cord, half-cord, quarter-cord or even a prepackaged bundle from your local hardware store can agree that firewood is expensive! A cord of firewood is defined as cut firewood stacked 4ft. tall, 4ft. deep, and 8ft long.  Depending on the type of wood, a cord of firewood can range anywhere from $300 to $700 dollars.  That’s exactly why springtime to me means FREE firewood.

 


This is the time of year that several people perform tree trimming.  Some people trim their own trees; others hire someone to do the trimming, either way most are faced with the trouble of getting rid of those trimmings.  This leads to a win-win situation.  Many people will post online ads on sites such as Craigslist or Freecycle for “free firewood”; the only catch is that you have to go pick it up and haul it away, it might seem like quite the effort, but the payoff is the huge savings for free heat in the cold months that lie ahead.

I recently responded to such an online ad and after meeting with the homeowners, I learned they had trimmed 6 oak trees on their property and happily encouraged me to “take all you want”.  I loaded all our family van could carry which ended up being just over half a cord of oak (the best) firewood. My family enjoyed the free warmth of many a fires this past winter, and because this past season was unusually warm, we still have quite the large stockpile to start off this upcoming winter season.

spring-haul

So if you are willing to answer these ads, put in some muscle and bring home free firewood, whether a trunk-load, or pickup truck-load at a time; you can start to amass your own source of free winter heat  without paying the high prices of ordering firewood from a vendor.