Wild About Oats

Oats, brown sugar, cinnamon and flax meal are a combination as good for the body as it is for the soul!

Since I began my “go green” project I’ve made some significant improvements in our household. Our home is clean, smells fresh, and is free from airborne toxins (at least the toxins from cleaning products). I’ve learned how to make lotion, and thus have reduced my petroleum consumption. I’ve reduced our household waste by making cloth napkins, and by making homemade toys out of items bound for the garbage. I’m feeling pretty good about what I’ve accomplished so far. But I’m also feeling…hungry!

My favorite meal of the day is breakfast. I just can’t stand to start the day without it. One of my and my daughter’s favorite breakfasts is warm, comforting oatmeal. Mmmmmmm…I’m eating a bowl as I speak, even though it’s supper time! I usually just make myself a bowl of old-fashioned oats in the microwave and flavor it with a little sugar, cinnamon, raisins and milk. Recently, though, I discovered a brand of instant oatmeal that incorporates flax seeds into the mix, uses unique eco-friendlier packaging, and tastes good enough to make your knees go weak. The price is pretty good, too–about $.25 per serving. With both my daughter and I eating this almost every morning, the cost does add up. And even though the packaging does boast less waste than a typical box of instant oatmeal packets, we still throw away two paper packets every day and have to recycle two paperboard boxes each week. I realized this would be a good place to make a change, but I was not thrilled about giving up my favorite breakfast treat.

Homemade instant oatmeal mix in repurposed glass jars

It was time to make my own instant oatmeal. After some experimentation, I came up with a recipe every bit as tasty and healthy as my favorite brand’s. It costs much less and creates much less waste. I thought about keeping it to myself, but it’s just too good not to pass on.

Jayna’s Homemade Instant Oatmeal: Brown Sugar Cinnamon Flavor (12 servings)

  • 4 cups quick-cooking oats
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup flax seed meal
  • 3 teaspoons cinnamon
  • Mix all ingredients well and store in airtight container in refrigerator. To make one serving, add 1/3 c. oatmeal mixture to 2/3 c. water in microwavable bowl. Microwave 60-90 seconds. Oatmeal with thicken as it cools. Top with a splash of milk, if desired.
  • IMPORTANT: Store in the refrigerator or freezer. Flax meal is very perishable.
  • Cost per serving is about $.15. (My husband has informed me this will save me about $70 per year. Not too shabby!)

This recipe is working very well for me, but you can customize the mix to suit your taste by adjusting the sweetness, trying different spices, and adding your favorite dried fruit or jam. You know I’ll be trying some new flavors! If I figure out how to recreate peaches and cream oatmeal I will be over the moon.

All of these ingredients are easy to find in your grocery store, including the flax meal. Flax seeds, ground and whole, are found in the natural foods section and/or baking aisle of your grocery store. If you buy them whole, you will have to grind them to reap the amazing health benefits. If you aren’t familiar with flax seed, you should give it a try! Flax seeds are high in omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and lignans (antioxidants). Regular consumption of flax seeds can reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, Type II diabetes, bad cholesterol, and cancer, and can improve your digestive health. These tiny yet powerful seeds can actually help block tumor formation and have been proven to reduce the spread of breast cancer after diagnoses. (There is a lot of information on Internet about flax, but a good comprehensive site is www.healthyflax.com.)

My daughter enjoying mommy's oatmeal. She was being so stubborn-this was the best picture I could get!

You can add flax seed meal to nearly anything you bake to add some health benefits and a pleasant, slightly nutty, flavor. My favorite use for flax seed is as an egg substitute. For each egg called for in a recipe, mix one tablespoon of ground flax seeds to three tablespoons of water. Let sit for a couple of minutes and use as you would an egg. You won’t be making any huevos rancheros with flax seeds, but you can make some mean pancakes and chocolate chip cookies with them!

This has been my tastiest experiment so far. I might do a few more food trials in the future…you know…for the environment…What other tasty foods should I learn to make on my own to reduce waste and improve my family’s health?

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