Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Saving money but no scrimping on taste: Oatmeal! No kidding!

I enjoy a varied breakfast... we use to eat cereal.
Every. Day.
I'm so glad I've moved past that. And so is my pocket book. We try to have cereal only once or twice a week here. That is, unless you are Mr. Conductor- who loves to have cereal every day. With him the rule is: You must eat something other than cereal at 3 times a week.
In the summer you'll find we eat a lot of yogurt, which doesn't seemed varied until you factor in all the combinations of different fruits, granola, making yogurt smoothies etc. Yogurt can be different every day!
In the fall, winter and early spring we eat a lot of oatmeal; which we also vary by the fruits we put into it. Our oatmeal is not the variety packs. Nope. Its the quick oats kind that cooks up in a minute but is way cheaper and much more yummy when you add your own fruit to it. 
I use to turn my nose up at oatmeal. Thinking it was boring and bland.
Not. any. more.
Doubt me? Try this recipe out...

Caramel Apple Oatmeal
Here’s what you need:
Quick oats
brown sugar
apples (I love Granny Smiths)
juice- orange or cranberry (are my faves!)
Caramel syrup
First things first- The best way to make this is to know the night before that you’re making it for breakfast. You need to do a bit of prep in advance. Core at least one apple (the amount depends on how much oatmeal you are making and how much apple you like in your oatmeal- I cut up one good sized apple to feed myself and the 3 kidlets- and I like tons of apple in my oatmeal.) I don’t peel my apple- I core it then slice and dice it into chunks a bit smaller than ½ an inch. Put the apple in a container (that has a tight lid)- fill the remainder of the container with juice, cover and refrigerate overnight. I love to use orange juice or cranberry juice as it adds a wonderful zip to the apples- you can also use lemon juice or, of course, apple juice. The main reason for this step is so that the apple chunks won’t brown (and it saves a step in the morning cooking) but the added flavor makes it oh-so-much-more delicious. That’s it for the evening prep unless you like to set all your other ingredients out on the table and also set the table with the dishes for breakfast (saveing more time in the morning).
In the morning- cook your quick oats according to the package directions- using the water mentioned above. I use a bit less water than called for as I like thicker oatmeal. First- make sure you have everything measured out before beginning cooking and drain your diced apple- I pour it right into a juice glass and drink
it! [Another Option: you can use the juice as part of your measured water for the oatmeal.]

Here’s what I do- Bring the measured water and chopped apples to a boil with a bit of salt. When its boiling- quickly add oats and brown sugar- stirring constantly and cooking for 1 minute. Turn off burner and cover your pot of oatmeal- let sit for a couple of minutes while you make toast.
Scoop oatmeal into bowls and drizzle with caramel syrup. Serve.
Oh the complete yumminess of it all!
 See why I love oatmeal? Its super easy, super frugal and super yummy. I calculate that it costs me less than $2 (closer to $1.50) to make this for the four of us.


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