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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

.:Guest Post - Don't Waste the Crumbs:.

Homemade Instant Oatmeal in Basket

What would you do if I told you that in one hour, you can have six weeks worth of breakfasts ready for the school year?

Jump and scream for joy?  Run around the neighborhood (and twitter and facebook and pinterest...) and tell every person you know?  Hug me?

That's cool with me. :)

As Sumo is knee deep in boxes, packing tape and digging out treasures hidden in the depths of her closets, I have the honor of sharing a solution to the frenzied mornings that come with three simple words:  back. to. school.

Yeah, you know all about those mornings I'm talking about.  And you're probably dreading them too, eh?
Searching for a missing shoe that was last used as Barbie's boat?  De-tangling a knotted mess of bed-head?  Deciphering school policies and permission-to-do-what slips?  Sprinting to catch the bus only to realize that lunch was left on the counter?

Brace yourself - it's coming.

Unfortunately I can't take away all of the craziness that will occur, but I can offer one idea that will certainly alleviate one aspect of the morning - breakfast.  (Oh yeah, that too?!)  Roll out the red carpet and make way for do-it-yourself instant oatmeal packets!

Now some of you may be thinking that it's just so much more convenient and easier to buy the flavored instant oatmeal from the store than it is to make your own.  In some ways, you're right.  But when you take into account that the homemade version costs half as much, offers greater nutrition and is composed of REAL food (instead of those fake food chemicals that no one can pronounce), consider this one hour as time well spent investing in the health and well-being of your child.

You can even brag to your friends that you created 30 breakfasts one Saturday afternoon - because it certainly is a feat - but just between you and me, it's honestly not that difficult.  Even those who are kitchen-challenged can pull this off.  Here's a simple step-by-step for making your school day morning routines a tad bit easier.

Supplies (per child)

Large Basket or Box
6 different types of washi tape*
30 snack-sized baggies
10 cups plain oatmeal (instant or regular is fine)
15 tablespoons ground flaxseed (optional)
15 teaspoons white or brown sugar (optional)
10 Tablespoons each of six different types of dried fruit, store-bought or dehydrated at home**
(individual recipe below)

Assembly

1. Working with one color at a time, cut a small rectangle of washi tap and place in the top corner of a baggie, above the seal.  I chose colors that corresponded with the flavor of oatmeal that was going to be inside the baggies.  Orange = peach, green = apple, blue = blueberry, red = cranberry, pink = strawberry, yellow = banana.  My kids are almost 4 and 3 and since they can't read yet, I thought this would be the best way to keep them involved in the process.  If your kids can read, I encourage you to simply write the flavor on the bag to aid in their reading skills.

Washi Tape Above Seal

2. Repeat step one for the remainder of your colors and baggies.

Washi Tape Baggies Lined Up

*Note*  You don't have to use washi tape.  I chose this because I've never used it before and thought it would easy and fun - and it was!  If you don't have washi tape (I bought mine at Target in the kids craft area) or would prefer not to use it, you can use a permanent marker to write a letter in the corner of each baggie representing the flavor of oatmeal inside (ex: "B" for blueberry, "S" for strawberry, etc.).

3. If your fruit is in large chunks, spend a few minutes dicing it all up into smaller pieces.

Dicing Dried Peaches into Small Pieces

4. Working again with one color at a time, measure 1/3 cup dry oatmeal into each baggie.  Measure and add 2 tablespoons of dried fruit into each baggie.  Add the optional 1/2 tablespoon of flaxseed into each bag.  

Finally, add the optional 1/2 teaspoon of sugar into each bag.

**Note**  You can use fresh fruit if you'd like, but it would require preparation one morning of each week during school.  If you choose fresh fruit, add 1/4 cup to each serving.  One way to ensure nutrition without sacrificing convenience is to dehydrate your own fresh fruit.

Homemade Instant Oatmeal Ready for School

5.  Repeat with the remaining colors and baggies.

Homemade Instant Oatmeal Ready for Back to School

6.  Place all the baggies into your basket or box and you have six weeks worth of breakfasts ready for school!

Homemade Instant Oatmeal in Basket

Need some recipe ideas?  With some standard measurements, you can create just about any flavor combination that your children enjoy.

For younger kids:

1/3 cup oatmeal
2 tablespoons dried fruit (or 1/4 cup fresh): apples, raisins, strawberries, peaches, bananas, blueberries, mango, coconut, cherries, pears...
1/2 tablespoon flaxseed (opt)
1/2 teaspoon white or brown sugar (opt)
1/3 cup water

For older, growing or oatmeal-loving kids, increase the oatmeal and water to 1/2 cup.  Make any flavor "and cream" by substituting milk for part or all of the water.

Now that the "hard" work is done, let your kids have fun by having them choose a color for breakfast.  My kids had a BLAST choosing a flavor for breakfast.  There may be some "work" required by mom to pour water and hit "start" on the microwave, but assign this task to the bigger kids if possible (my almost 5-year-old can pour the oatmeal and do the microwave, but not the water).  If you're lucky to have big helpers, you just got yourself off breakfast duty for six weeks!

Bio: Tiffany is an in-house day care teacher, private chef, housekeeper, laundry service, chauffeur and dedicated CEO to making sure her house runs smoothly. She aims to be a good steward of all He has given her, so she strives to do more {and do it better} with less. She's making baby-sized strides and would be honored if you joined her for the ride!































3 comments:

  1. I love this idea! It's nice to have an option that is healthy and fast. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  2. My kids LOVE instant oatmeal, but they always fight because their favorite flavors are gone in one day. I'm going to give this a try. Thanks for the idea and the tips!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Your ideas for gifts are more likely by most people.

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for leaving a comment! I love reading them! I try to reply to questions the best I can, but you can always email me at sumossweetstuff {at} gmail {dot} com.

Sumo:)