These DIY Instant Oatmeal Packets will be a life saver on busy mornings! Perfect gift idea for new moms, college students, and camping aficionados!
If you know me, you’ll also know that my best friend from culinary school just had her second baby, Nora Mary Katherine, and I’m headed to visit her today for an entire week! As a new mom gift, I wanted to bring her something her and her husband could cook up quickly in the mornings, as well as feed to their 1 1/2 year old daughter, Estelle. Inspired by The Yummy Life and her post on how to make your own oatmeal packets, I created my own flavor combinations!
Do It Yourself projects don’t have to be complicated or super messy (two things I hate about crafting!) and I’ve simplified this as much as possible. A huge shout out to Bob’s Red Mill for providing a variety of oats and oat bran, as well as Oh Nuts for generously sending some of their best dried fruits, for this project.
The basic recipe is just three simple ingredients: steel cut oats, oat bran, and flaxseeds. Steel cut oats are high protein, whole grain oats that have been lightly toasted. Also known as Irish oats or pinhead oats, steel cut oats create a chewy, full-bodied hot cereal. I also made sure to have oat bran in each base packet, because it’s such a great source of dietary fiber, protein, and iron. What’s oat bran? It’s the outer husk of the oat grain that is filled milled, which makes it a perfect addition to baked goods! To round it all out, golden flaxseed seeds were ground in my spice grinder and added it to the base packet. These tiny seeds are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, dietary fiber, and lignan (they act as antioxidants!)
For sweeteners, I used both dark brown sugar and granulated honey, depending on the package. After asking on Facebook, it seems that oatmeal is sometimes just a vehicle for copious amounts of brown sugar, so that couldn’t be missing! Granulated honey might sound strange, but I had a small bag of it hidden behind my baking ingredients and decided to use it in the Very Berry Oatmeal Packets.
Nothing says comfort food more than apple pie. This is a version of the classic American dessert in oatmeal form. Packed with warm cinnamon and chewy, tart dried apples, this oatmeal packed also has some dark brown sugar, making it the perfect morning treat! Dried apples are packed with fiber
For the second flavor variation, we made a take on the classic Peaches & Cream dessert. Packed with dried Turkish apricots and freeze-dried peaches, it’s so creamy and delicious. It’s also the only variation that I added dried milk to, which adds to the creamy factor. Apricots are packed with vitamin C, perfect to snack on during the winter!
Now, what’s the difference between dried fruit and freeze-dried fruit? Dried fruit, also known as dehydrated, is when pieces of fruit are placed in a warm environment to removes most of the water content. A pretty simple process, compared to the not so simple process of freeze-dried fruit. This process starts by freeze fruit and then placing it in a vacuum chamber that slowly removes the water content. Heat is applied in the chamber and set at a temperature that allows the frozen fruit to quickly thaw while the vacuum extracts the water. The end result is a dried fruit that retains the taste of fresh and also develops a crispy texture. (Source: Wise Geek)
This Very Berry Oatmeal packet was made specifically for my best friend. Not only is it packed with two of her favorite berries,but it includes Brewer’s Yeast, a promoter of milk production in new mothers. It’s a great source of vitamin B and proteins as well.
Goji Berries: They’re packed with vitamins C and E, along with carotenoids like beta-carotene and lycopene. Some research suggests goji berries help increase metabolism and boost energy levels. (Source: Huffington Post)
Blueberries: Research suggests that a blueberry-rich diet improves motor skills and helps fight diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. (Source: Huffington Post)
To label them, you can print of the ingredients and tape them to the snack bags or just write directly on the bags with a Sharpie. These where the snack bags used in this project: Ziploc Snack Bags. They’re perfect for individual sized portions, but if you’d like just make a a huge batch of the base recipe, that would be a great idea as well!
The variations above are just suggestions – mix up your favorite dried fruits, add toasted nuts or coconut, and use different kinds of oats. For sweet treats, toss in chocolate chips, cacao nibs, or even mini marshmallows (not as healthy, but everything in moderation)!
- ⅓ cups steel cut oats
- 2 teaspoons oat bran
- 1 teaspoon ground flaxseed
- pinch of kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon powdered cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons dried apple slices, chopped
- 1 tablespoon Brewer's Yeast
- 1 tablespoon granulated honey
- 1 tablespoon dried blueberries
- 1 tablespoon dried goji berries
- 1 tablespoon dried non-fat milk powder
- ⅛ teaspoon vanilla bean powder
- 1 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons dried apricots, chopped
- 1 tablespoon freeze dried peaches, chopped
- To make ONE oatmeal packet, place the basic recipe of steel cut oats, oat bean, and ground flaxseed in each snack bag. Add additions such as dried fruit, nuts, sweeteners, as necessary.
- To prepare one oatmeal packet using boiling water/milk method: whisk one oatmeal packet into ¾ cup of water or milk. Stir and let stand for 4 minutes, until oats are soften.
- To prepare one oatmeal packet using microwave method: add oatmeal packet to ¾ cup cold liquid (water or milk) into microwave safe bowl. Cook for two minutes on high and stir. Microwave temperatures and times may vary.
- To prepare one oatmeal packet using the refrigerator method: in a glass jar, pour ½ cup milk, ¼ cup greek yogurt, and oatmeal packet. Cover and shake. Refrigerate overnight for best results.
- To prepare 1 serving of refrigerator oatmeal:
- Add one oatmeal packet to a pint or half-pint jar (or other covered container). Pour in ½ cup cold water, add ¼ cup yogurt, cover tightly, and shake vigorously until well mixed. Refrigerate at least 4 hours, overnight, or up to 3 days.