Saturday, December 3, 2011

Instant Oatmeal: A Less-Waste, Frugal, Homemade Alternative


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At least one person in our house eats oatmeal every single day. We love it! Sometimes it's eaten for breakfast and sometimes it's eaten as a quick, yummy snack.

But have you noticed the price of boxed instant oatmeal these days?

Wow! $3.99 for a box of 8 packets of organic instant oatmeal! We easily could go through 4-5 packets a day if I were to keep the pantry stocked with it. And that adds up to a lot of money for oatmeal. Not to mention all the waste coming from that one box!

I knew I had to come up with a solution! So this is what I did...

Instant Oatmeal Alternative

Gather the ingredients:
  • 6 cups organic rolled oats
  • 1 cup dry milk powder
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon salt

1) Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.

2) Mix well.

3) Store in a large container. Label and date. Keep in a cool, dry place for up to 6 months (it never lasts that long at our house, but good to know anyways).

Directions for use: Shake the container to mix ingredients. In a small pot, heat 2/3 cup water to boiling. Add 1/3 cup oatmeal mix. Note: There is approx. 1/3 cup of oatmeal in a packet of instant oatmeal. You may prefer to increase this amount based on the size of servings needed. Reduce heat and cook for 4-5 minutes, or until desired consistency is reached, stir frequently.

Optional add-ins: My children love the maple syrup and brown sugar variety. This mix, as a base, works wonderfully for that. Once placed in a serving bowl, I top the oatmeal with maple syrup and they are good to go! However, here are a few of the other add-ins that we use when the mood strikes:
  • Diced dried apples, raisins, peaches, strawberries, blueberries, bananas, or cherries (It usually depends on what I have on-hand from the season. Get creative!)
  • Chopped nuts
  • Chia seeds
  • Flax

-Buy in bulk. It will save you tons more! I get a 25 lb. bag of organic rolled oats for $30, making the cost of oats for this recipe $1.50.

-You could use instant oats here, instead of the rolled oats, to reduce the cooking time. If choosing to use instant oats you will need to decrease the amount of water used in the recipe (i.e. 1/3 oatmeal mix, 1/3 cup water).

-This recipe can be cooked in the microwave. If you are using rolled oats, cook on high for 4 minutes. If you are using instant oats, cook on high for 2 minutes.

-Many recipes advise to pulse the oatmeal in a food processor in order to create a quicker cooking oatmeal. Honestly, by the time I prepare the food processor, pulse the oats, and clean up the mess, I could have easily spent the extra 3-4 minutes cooking the oatmeal. That's just my humbled opinion.

-I've also seen recipes that place individual servings in plastic bags. Good for those who want to use this to take on-the-go. You still run in to the waste issue (unless you reuse the baggies) and the additional cost of using all those baggies. We're trying to reduce our waste and simplify, so the method of keeping it all in a large container works best for me!

What's your money-saving tip for today? Go ahead...share it!

See this post and a host of others like it here: SNS 110, Weekend Bloggy Reading, Monday Mania, Homestead Barn Hop, Savvy Homemade Monday, Cure for the Common Monday, More the Merrier, Mad Skills, Made By You Monday, Make Something Mondays, New Nostalgia, Tip Me Tuesday, Handmade Tuesday, Tutorial Tuesday, Teach Me Tuesdays, Terrific Under $10, Raising Homemakers, Wicked Awesome Wednesday,Your Green Resource, It's A Keeper, Creative Juice Thursday, Friday Favorites, Foodie Friday, Inspire Me Friday


At December 3, 2011 at 8:26 AM , Anonymous Erin@TheHumbledHomemaker said...

Great post! Sounds easy enough! Do you know of any dairy-free alternatives?

At December 3, 2011 at 8:36 AM , Blogger Anna said...

This is an excellent idea! I like the idea of having everything already in the mix, ready to cook. I would like to add, though, be cautious of consuming that much cinnamon on a regular basis, unless it is Ceylon (True) cinnamon. Ordinary (most common)cinnamon contains high levels of coumarin and, consumed on a regular basis can cause liver, kidney, and other damages to your body.
I am really enjoying reading your blog. Am I seeing this right? Did you really just start this in September of this year? Congratulations on such a great blog so fast!

At December 3, 2011 at 8:36 AM , Anonymous Andrea @ Frugally Sustainable said...

Hi @Erin! Great question! I'd just go without adding the dry milk powder.

At December 3, 2011 at 8:42 AM , Anonymous Andrea @ Frugally Sustainable said...

@Anna I never knew that about cinnamon! Wow! I guess I need to read up on that!

And thank you for the sweet comments on the blog:) Frugally Sustainable will be 3 months old come Dec. 11...pretty crazy huh? I guess when you live your passions anything is possible:) Thank you for your support!

At December 3, 2011 at 9:08 AM , Blogger Country Girl in the City said...

This is a great idea and one that I would like to use as soon as possible. I have been eating a lot of instant oatmeal lately because it keeps me feeling full and satisfied throughout the day. Thanks for posting.


At December 3, 2011 at 9:53 AM , Blogger Indio said...

We are thinking alike today Andrea. I just published a post about oatmeal too.

At December 3, 2011 at 11:42 AM , Anonymous Stacy Makes Cents said...

Great post! Totally pinning this for later. :-) Annie eats a lot of oatmeal. While we prefer the Baked Oatmeal variety, I do like to keep this on hand for a quick breakfast. Thanks!

At December 3, 2011 at 5:07 PM , Blogger Missy said...

I've been meaning to do this. Thanks for the recipe!!

At December 4, 2011 at 4:29 PM , Blogger Emily said...

Can you microwave this oatmeal instead of cooking it on the stove top? Found you via Pinterest! Thanks!

At December 4, 2011 at 4:39 PM , Anonymous Andrea @ Frugally Sustainable said...

@Emily Thank you for stopping by:) And yes you can microwave it (I meant to put that infor in the post! I'll add it now). Cook it on high for 4 minutes then let it sit for a bit. If you are using the instant oats the cooking time will be 2 minutes. Thank you for asking.

At December 6, 2011 at 6:53 AM , Blogger said...

New follower from linky party. I love preparing the oatmeal in a big container. And, I love the extra spices. FOllowing from


At December 6, 2011 at 1:48 PM , Blogger Jan said...

Love the recipe!I've seen a few boring/bland ones and this one has me excited to give it another try! THanks!

At December 8, 2011 at 1:22 PM , Anonymous 'Becca said...

If you use quick-cooking oats, you can cook them right in your bowl just by adding boiling water and stirring! Saves you from washing a pot. This works for farina (cream of wheat) too. Here's the "recipe" for my favorite oatmeal.

Erin, if you really want the creamy flavor/texture, there is a powdered instant soymilk called Better Than Milk sold at many health food stores. My local store has it in a bulk bin, so you can buy any amount in the container of your choice. I think it tastes better than powdered cow's milk.

At December 8, 2011 at 3:14 PM , Blogger Junky Vagabond said...

I always thought I could do this, but usually just add everything after it's cooked. This is fabulous - thanks for putting it all in an easy to use post!


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