Can’t someone just hand me a steaming bowl of oatmeal filled with fruit and nuts every morning? I’d be such a happy camper. But the thought of getting out the measuring cups and spoons, and standing at the stove and then cleaning up afterwards is sometimes (pretty much always) too much to manage.
Instant oatmeal varieties are either bland or too artificially sweet, and they always have a weird aftertaste. Besides, I want to eat the whole oats, not some processed version of oats. Trader Joes has a frozen oatmeal, but it’s a pain to get out of the wrapper, it’s expensive, and you still have to get all your add-ins ready. The crock pot? Makes too much, and a big gluey mess. I now officially sound like a crazy person, but you know what? Oatmeal is healthy and I want to eat right in the morning. I just don’t want to work too hard at it.
Here’s my answer to a quick grab and go whole grain oatmeal breakfast, with the sweet and the crunch built right in.
You lightly toast the nuts and grains, grind them up just a little, add in dried fruits, seeds, a little sweetener, and any spices or flavorings you want, then mix it all up.
You can store it all in an airtight jar, or make individual ready to go servings in waxed paper sandwich bags, zip lock baggies, or glass jars. I found these lidded glasses at Williams Sonoma, but a recycled Bon Maman jam jar or a big coffee mug works just as well.
When the weather gets warmer you can make instant muesli with this same mix, just add cold milk, let it soak for a couple of minutes, and add some freshly grated apple. I love how this elemental pairing of oats fruit and nuts can morph to suit the season. Hot oatmeal in the winter, muesli in the summer, and granola for in-between.
The thing about doing things yourself is that you can treat yourself to the best. The freshest, plumpest dried fruit, for instance. Not the rock hard chemically treated little nuggets you find in prepackaged foods. My dried fruit is from the farmer’s market. They sell dried peaches, plums, apricots, and amazing huge, bright colored raisins called Flame raisins. New drying techniques and new fruit varieties mean much better dried fruit is available than ever before. This instant oatmeal is the perfect canvas for them.
This one is truly healthy, truly delicious, truly fresh, and truly instant. I think it would be a good lunch, too, just bring it to work and use the microwave. This is just one version of many; you can mix and match your favorite nuts, fruits, and flavors.
DIY Instant Fruit and Nut Oatmeal
approx 6 servings
oven to 350F
2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup whole raw hazelnuts
1/2 cup raw pecan halves
1/2 cup dry milk powder (or soy milk powder for vegan)
1/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1 heaping cup chopped assorted dried fruit
1/4 cup pepitas (the green inner kernels of the pumpkin seed)
1/4 cup freshly ground flax seed (optional)
- Spread the oats and the nuts on an un-greased baking sheet. Toast for about 10-15 minutes.
- Let the oats and nuts cool, then pulse a few times in a food processor to lightly chop.
- Mix with the rest of the ingredients and stir well.
- Store in an airtight container.
- To serve, scoop out about 3/4 cup of the mixture, and add enough boiling water (or scalded milk) to just cover the oatmeal. Stir and let sit, covered, for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add a splash of milk, half and half, almond or coconut milk for an extra treat.
Notes: Before scooping out a serving of your instant oatmeal be sure to stir up the mixture to get an even distribution of the ingredients. I only make about a weeks worth at a time to be sure that it’s fresh. If you can find other rolled grains they would make this even more interesting.
This is so delicious—and so easy!!
One year ago today—