Like it: Stovetop oatmeal

We gave up on instant oatmeal packets for our family of five a while ago. Mornings still call for oatmeal, but now I make a pot of it at a time. Seriously, it is faster than trying to make the same amount with those little packets, not to mention cheaper and so much healthier. I personally prefer the texture of cooked old fashioned oats to the instant stuff, which reminds me a little of baby cereal. The nutritional value of oats can be bulked up with nuts or yogurt to become a protein powerhouse. Add in bananas or berries or dried fruit to add other vitamins, minerals and fiber. Add maple syrup, brown sugar, honey, or a stevia based sweetner to make your bowl of oatmeal as scrumptios as oatmeal cookies. Hungry yet? Let’s make our favorite morning oatmeal.

Put 2 3/4 cups of water in a large saucepan and set on medium high heat until it starts to boil. Add in 1 1/2 cups of old fashioned oats, a pinch of salt, and 1/2-1 tsp of cinnamon (or more, I just dump a small pile on the oats, as you can see). Turn down the heat to medium, unless you like cleaning up boil over messes, and cook the oatmeal for 5-7 minutes, to desired consistency. Remove from heat. Makes three servings.

At this point, if I am making oatmeal for my kids, I throw in a couple of teaspoons of butter, a few drops of maple flavored extract (up to 1/4 tsp, can subsititute vanilla extract) and 2-3 tablespoons of brown sugar. I stir it all up, portion out into bowls, and let them finish their own bowls off with dried cranberries, raisins, walnuts, pecans, shredded coconut, bananas or berries.

If I am also eating oatmeal that morning, I take a 1/2 portion out after adding maple flavor, but before the butter and sugar. I put a tiny bit of butter and spinkle on stevia based sweetner, such as Truvia or my copy of Trim Healthy Mama Super Sweet. Since this is an E meal on the Trim Healthy Mama Plan, I throw in some non-fat Greek yogurt, sliced banana pieces and a handful of blueberries. It is perfect paired with a cup of unsweetened almond milk, or a cup of coffee with half & half.

Don’t have maple flavored extract? Use vanilla. Have maple syrup? Even better, just taste before adding additional sweetner like brown sugar or honey. The important thing is to flavor the oatmeal to your liking with delicious, healthy additions. Can you use quick cooking oats? Sure, it is only a few minutes difference, but if it floats your boat, why not. You will save so much money either way over those little packets of the instant stuff, and have a delicious, healthy, filling breakfast for the whole family in 7 minutes.

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