I'm partially ashamed and partially super proud that it's been several weeks that I've had my girls' school supply shopping finished. Young ages combined with hot temperatures outside and a very pregnant mama makes for an intense summer for all. So, I admit it's slightly that I'm looking forward to having a few more moments of peace plus an increase in structure, but it's also that I don't want to be caught off guard with an early baby. As a bonus, we beat the crowds :)Another thing we've done to get ready for school is make some DIY oatmeal packets. My girls know how to heat water and add it to a packet of oatmeal, but have you ever read the ingredients? Did you know that those peaches aren't really peaches and that red isn't from fruit? My girls love oatmeal packets, but I've resisted buying them for a long time because of the garbage that is actually in them. I know you can get some organic ones, but Pearl and I decided to make our own! I looked at a lot of online recipes and came up with this for the base:
- 1/2 cup quick oats
- 1/8-1/4 tsp salt, depending on what kind of salt you use
- 1 T powdered milk
- 1-2 tsp brown sugar
We set up a whole bunch of ziploc bags on a tray and did assembly line, adding ingredients one by one for the basic recipe.
Some of the recipes called for grinding up a portion of the oats for a thicker consistency, but I found that just using "quick" oats instead of regular worked just fine. Quick oats are just a bit more ground up than regular and cook up more....quickly! If you use kosher salt you may need to add a bit more as it has a softer flavor than regular iodized salt. After you have the basic oat packets made, you can go wild with the flavors. We made some "berries 'n cream" by adding dried or freeze-dried berries and 1-2 tsp of coffee creamer.
We had to search around to find some natural coffee creamer (most have hydrogenated oils or other equally bad ingredients). It was quite pricey ($6.99) and I haven't broken down the costs, but it might just be more cost effective to add actual cream after the oatmeal is made, but it sure is easier to have built-in coffee creamer. I found this brand (Good Kind) at Whole Foods by their coffee counter. For the berries, I liked the freeze dried berries better because they hydrate more fully and efficiently. Peaches would also be so YUM. If you are interested in buying freeze-dried fruits in larger quantities, here is a good source.We also whipped up some apple spice with some freeze dried apples, cinnamon and toasted nuts. Crush up the apples and chop up the nuts for easier eating, but make sure these don't sit in your pantry for a ridiculous amount of time so the nuts don't go rancid. My all-time favorite cinnamon is Penzey's Vietnamese cinnamon-SO flavorful. You'll never be able to go back to the bland grocery store cinnamon after trying it.
We also added some flaxseeds. I realize that to reap all the benefits of flaxseeds they should be ground, but once you grind them they need to be refrigerated, and I don't have room in my fridge for oatmeal packets, so I just added them whole, still good for fiber.
Once you have added all the ingredients make sure to mix them up so the powdered milk won't clump when you add the water. To make just add 3/4 cups of boiling water! Easy peasy!