When I was growing up, lo those many years ago, we went through a year or two where we had malt-o-meal cream of wheat (or something like that) every single morning. I kinda got burnt out on the whole hot cereal thing.

This past summer, when I went into the Grand Canyon for a week, one of the things that we ate of a morning were packets of Quaker Oat Oatmeal.

The packets were very convenient. Dump in the packet, add boiling water, stir, and eat. I fell in love with them.

When I got back to Illinois, I promptly went to the store and bought a few boxes myself. They have Apple Cinnamon, Fruit and Cream, etc. etc. There is a low-sugar version that I started getting, and it tastes really good. Particularly with milk instead of water.

As I continued eating the packaged oatmeal, I figured that there had to be a way to “roll my own” and save some cash and get rid of the rest of the sugar.
A box of 10 packets of the Quaker stuff is 4-5 dollars or so. I generally ate 2 packets per meal, so it was costing me about a buck plus the cost of the milk.

I bought a canister of quick oats and went to work in my kitchen. And, because I’m a nice guy, I’m going to share my recipe with you. (It’s not that hard to figure out, so it’s not like I’m being particularly benevolent) Tweak it as needed, and I’ll give some ideas at the end for what I do to give it some flair.

I put the following into a cereal bowl:

  • A good shake of salt from a salt shaker.
  • Two good shakes of cinnamon from the cinnamon spice jar
  • A very light tap of nutmeg
  • A very light tap of Allspice
  • 3 packets of Splenda. 3-4 is ideal. If I make a batch and a half, I put in 5 packets of Splenda.
  • If I’m using dried milk, 1/3rd of a cup of the evaporated milk powder.
  • 0.5 cups of quick oats. I buy the large canister. It lasts me for a month or two and costs about 2-3 dollars.
  • For the liquid, you want a cup. You can use water, water & dried milk, or fat free milk. I wouldn’t recommend dried milk and milk unless you just really like milk.

If using dried milk, it is a good idea to stir everything up once you add the water. Otherwise, you don’t really need to bother, but it won’t hurt.

Then, you microwave everything. For a normal batch, I start out with 3 minutes. At that point, the oatmeal is starting to rise to the edges of the bowl. I stir the concoction after 3 minutes. Then, I put the microwave on 1 minute and start watching the bowl carefully. Usually, 30-45 seconds in, I have to stop the microwave to keep the oatmeal from boiling over the edge. I stir it again, nuke it again, and when the oatmeal gets to the edge of the bowl this last time, it is ready to go.

Once I’ve pulled the bowl out of the microwave, I slice up a banana and put it in the bowl. The oatmeal will be really hot at this point. Don’t try eating it. It really needs about 5 minutes to cool off before you can eat it. Then, enjoy!

  • So, you might not have a banana ready to go. I’d suggest dried fruit. There are a lot of varieties available, but make sure that you get one that doesn’t have sugar added. I’m partial to apples, so I’d recommend them. Just add the dried dices at any point before you add the liquid. I add about a quarter cup, but you can vary to suit your taste.
  • This is great for taking on the road. Just put the spices, oatmeal, dried fruit, and dried milk in a ziplok baggy. When you get ready to eat, dump it in a bowl, add a cup of water, and cook. (or add boiling water)
  • This should work well in bulk. I should be able to put a lot of Cinammon, spices, Splenda, and dried milk in a large container and mix it up well. Maybe not the dried milk. Maybe just the cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, Splenda, and salt. But, having those items premixed would reduce the amount of morning time required to prepare this by 10 or 15 seconds.
  • I’ve tried some other fruits. Peaches don’t seem to have enough flavor. I’ve tried both fresh and canned. Pears don’t impart enough flavor to the oatmeal either. Bananas seem to do a particularly good job. But, you’ll have to experiment a little bit to find other things. Good luck!

Needless to say, this recipe is relatively good for you. No fat to speak of. No refined sugars, and it has all of that oatmeal goodness. Enjoy!

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