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Healthy & economical: DIY instant oatmeal packets

Oatmealpacks Last week, after reading my ode to oatmeal post, my husband asked if I would pick up a box of instant oatmeal packets for him to take to work. "Absolutely not!" I cried in despair, wondering if anything I'd written these past two years was registering in his man-sized brain. "But, my darling, I will MAKE you some breakfast packets myself. Because I love." You see, the man doesn't get hungry until about 10am when he's sitting at his desk in his suit in the downtown Portland high-rise. Apparently he's been getting his breakfast from Starbucks in the form of pastries, bagels or their own instant oatmeal. Cha-ching for them no more. And my dislike of store-bought oatmeal packets? Lots of sugar and sodium plus a throw-away packet equals grrrrr.

Oatmealsetup

So over the weekend I assembled three weeks worth of oatmeal packets, each comprised of 1/2 cup of instant organic oatmeal, a pinch of salt, a couple shakes of cinnamon, a couple teaspoons of brown sugar, and maybe 2 tablespoons each of organic raisins and walnuts. The painful part was having to buy a box of plastic sandwich bags. (Wouldn't it be great if you could buy these in bulk bins? I only needed 15 bags, but I had to buy at least 50. Erg.) And let me tell you, I think I got greenwashed! There on the shelf was a green-hued box of ALL NEW! Ziplock Evolve Ultra Light Sandwich Bags, made with 25% less plastic and manufactured via wind energy! It wasn't until I got home and felt the flimsy bags that I realized they probably won't hold up to reuse as well as the regular type. It's all fine and dandy if you just throw them away (no, not at all) but my whole plan was to reuse these bags again and again for the oatmeal, sort of a capital expenditure if you will. Curse you S.C. Johnson and your sneaky marketing tactics! (And ha, ha, I just noticed the glasses in the background of this photo -- left over from the adult-beverage portion of Earth Hour.)

Oatmealcloseup Anyhoo, this is a seriously inexpensive breakfast. I'm not sure of all the numbers, but think about it: a pound of organic instant oats from the bulk bin was 99 cents. The raisins were $2.79/pound and organic walnuts run about $10/pound. You can barely count the salt, cinnamon and brown sugar. Considering the tiny amounts I'm using, we're talking like pennies per packet. Mere tuppence! Tuppence, tuppence, tuppence a baaaag. And there are no unprouncable ingredients like you'd find in Quaker Oats Instant Oatmeal. Even Nature's Path Organic Oatmeal, which has a lot of sodium and sugar, costs $3.99 for 8 packets, or 50 cents per packet. Granted, not a lot of money for a meal, but mine still costs waaay less and doesn't contain all those 'filler' ingredients like brown rice flour and corn meal.

Can you tell how good I'm feeling about this? We took a packet for a test drive, and oh yes, it is tasty. Guess what I learned? If you add all of your condiments before you nuke the oatmeal it tastes even better than just adding them after you've cooked it. Huh. Probably not news to you, you're probably shaking your head and saying to your husband, "yes, indeed, she really does live under a rock" but this was a delightful discovery for me. I didn't know it was possible to love oatmeal more than I did last week.

You're welcome, dear.

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