Here's a great question from Emily. She wants a copycat recipe for Quaker's multigrain oatmeal packets.
Hi, I've got a weak spot for Quaker's Simple Harvest Maple Brown Sugar instant oatmeal packets, but they're so expensive! I'd like to make up a big batch of dry, instant oatmeal mix, so that I can just scoop a bit into a bowl in the mornings and pop it in the microwave. Do you or the readers have an idea of how to clone the fancy Quaker stuff in bulk, while cutting out the less-necessary ingredients to keep it economical?
Emily, instant oatmeal is pretty straightforward. We looked through a ton of recipes online for instant oatmeal; it's usually made from a mixture of whole rolled oats, powdered oats, and some salt, sugar, and powdered milk. Try mixing 1/4 cup rolled oats, 2 tablespoons powdered oats (crushed to a powder in a food processor or blender), a teaspoon of milk powder, 1/8 teaspoon of salt and a teaspoon of sugar. Add a little brown sugar and cinnamon for flavor as well. Mix with 3/4 cup boiling water to make oatmeal.
You can see a good step by step and cost analysis of making your own instant oatmeal here:
Now, the one catch is that the sort of oatmeal you like isn't just oatmeal: Quaker adds other whole grains to their Simple Harvest blend. They include flaxseeds, rolled wheat, barley, and other grains and flavors.
But recreating this still isn't very difficult. Add a teaspoon of flaxseeds and a couple tablespoons of bulgur or rolled wheat to your packets. Drizzle in a little maple syrup too; it will dissolve when you add hot water. Add some crunchy pecans or walnuts and dried cranberries to mix it up.
Experiment with other whole grains and seeds, too! You can buy just a tablespoon or two of all these grains from the bulk bins at your local health food store or Whole Foods. So try different things; it will cost just pennies to buy small amounts of these grains.
For something different, try making steel cut oats at night and reheating a bowl each morning; they really hold their texture and flavor. We make up a big pot on Sunday night and eat them three days in a row.
(Image: Mornings Unlimited)