Homemade Instant Oatmeal

      
 

 I LOVE to make food from scratch.  I still remember the first time I heard the term “from scratch.”  I was a newlywed and was visiting with my mother-in-law in her kitchen one afternoon.  Her two youngest daughters were also in the kitchen, making a cake.  I was so excited to be there because I thought I could help. (I was still trying to prove to my in-laws that their son had married a good catch.  And making cakes was my thing!)  I was watching the girls, waiting for them to grab a box of cake mix from the cupboard, but they never did.  Instead it looked as if they were making cookies?  
I asked, “Aren’t you making a cake?”  My mother-in-law said, “Yes, but they are making it from scratch.”  WHAT?!?  I honestly didn’t know what that meant.  I was 19 years old and had never heard that term.  Fortunately my new and very cute husband came into the room just in time to tell me what “from scratch” meant.  I was honestly SHOCKED that I could actually make something myself, that I normally bought at the store.  And all I needed was a basic stock of ingredients and wala, you can make almost anything!
Since that day, almost 17 years ago, I have had a passion to learn HOW to cook and FROM SCRATCH.  I have enjoyed making all sorts of food.  First desserts, then casseroles, then sweet breads, then yeast breads, then onto well balanced meals, stews, soups, food storage meal planning and now onto replacing processed foods for my own homemade foods.  Who knew you could learn to make SO MANY DIFFERENT things and all from the convenience of your own home?
 I also LOVE that I have control over what my family is eating.  I KNOW what is in everything we eat.  We love eating whole foods and storing foods that can be used to make things we eat every day.  What a fun way to live!
So today, I decided to share my latest creation . . . Instant Oatmeal Jars.

 

 Why jars?  Well, last week I made homemade granola and put it in a jar as a gift.  It was so well received and so easy to store (plus I have a MILLION jars in my basement just sitting around, doing nothing) that I thought this would be a fun and easy way to store oatmeal.  Besides . . . I can’t stand using plastic baggies.  We use them WAY TO OFTEN and I don’t like that they just end up in the recycling bin.  
By using a cute jar and an easy to use lid, you can make oatmeal just ask quickly as tearing into a paper packet from the store.  This recipe is SO EASY to create and it makes enough to fill two mason jars.  That is 24 individual servings = about 5 – 6 weeks worth of oatmeal in my home!  
I got the basic recipe from this website One Good Thing by Jillee.  She was the one who shared with me the secret to making the creamy oatmeal you are used to in instant packets.  
Do you want to know what the secret is . . . 
blend a portion of the the oatmeal in your blender.  
Yep!  That’s right.  And it is SO EASY to do!
 http://whitti.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/diy-oatmeal-packets-5-300x266.jpg
 I also LOVE the powdered milk added to this recipe.  You can substitute the powdered milk for creamer or just omit it and use milk from your fridge instead of water.  But it is up to you!  You can make this as easy or as complex as you want.  I just happened to have powdered milk on hand, so it was a great use of my food storage.  I also love how easy this breakfast is for my older children to make for themselves. 
We don’t like our oatmeal as sweet as the stores make it and when I tasted Jillee’s recipe I found it too sweet and too salty as well.  So I changed our recipe to 3/4 cup sugar instead of 1 cup and I also lowered the salt to 3/4 teaspoon. After you have a few dishes of this creamy oatmeal, you can decide what your family would like more or less of as well.  Cooking is so much fun!
Another change I made was to half her recipe.  First of all it was all the oatmeal I had on hand but I also felt that a smaller batch would be a great trial run for my family.  I really don’t like wasting food.  I can’t tell you how many recipes I have made and made too much of, only to have my family dislike it for some reason or another.  If it turns out that my family doesn’t like this recipe, at least I can alter it to their taste for the time being and then make adjustments with the next batch. (Add sprinkle of salt if too sweet.  Add sugar if too salty or not sweet enough.  If still too sweet or salty, I am going to add more plain oats to mild it down.)  
The last change I made came when I made a 1/2 cup oatmeal for my littlest one.  She only ate half of it.  So I decided to just half the serving size all together.  If the kids want more, they can always double the serving size.  (A great mommy trick to encouraging the development of their math skills!!)

 

As you can see, the recipe is VERY simple and all it takes is a mixing bowl, spoon and your blender.  I made this mix and heated up a bowl of it, all before my littlest asked where her breakfast was. 
(Yes, she is that bossy!)  So there you go, instant oatmeal in a jar.  And it looks SO CUTE on your pantry shelf too!

(of course I took that huge bow off, let’s be practical now – wink, wink.)

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