Discambubolated

Spring is such a disorienting season. Yesterday, at this time, I was stretched out on the grass in the sunshine, thankful for the breeze that kept the heat from getting too intense. Today, I’m fighting with the wind to keep my hood up and wishing for a heavier coat.

I’m also discombobulated realizing how close I am to the end of another semester. I’m amazed—but how can I be so shocked when I’ve been so desperately aware of the crawling countdown to summer?

Still, I love spring—so bring it on. To celebrate the discombobulation of this lovely season, I’m throwing my blogging pendulum to the other side of the food spectrum from last week. If any of you were unsettled by last Friday’s  bean bread, you can relax. Today, it’s only oatmeal.

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You don’t have to use quick oats to make this oatmeal “instant.” I prefer the texture of rolled oats, so I used those instead. The ground oats mix with the water and create the “instant” texture, but you can cook the mixture to your desired consistency.

This recipe makes a large batch, but it can be stored indefinitely (and it’s pretty fantastic besides). Still, feel free to adjust as necessary.

Homemade Instant Oatmeal

  • 12 C rolled or quick oats
  • 2 tsp salt

Spread 9 C oats evenly across a baking sheet. Toast for 15 minutes at 350°F (175°C), stirring frequently.

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Measure 3 C oats and grind in blender, one small batch at a time.

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Then stir together with toasted oats and salt, as well as any mix-ins you choose. My family likes cinnamon, dried fruit, chopped nuts, or shaved coconut. We’ve also made a mix with peanut butter powder. For creamier oatmeal, you can try some dried milk. And of course, there’s always the standard scoop of brown sugar. Whatever you choose, it’s best to start with small amounts and adjust by taste-testing to create your perfect blend.

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You can also choose to flavor individual bowls of oatmeal when you cook them. Again, peanut butter, fruit, nuts and spices are all great. I’ve even made cheesy oatmeal to escape a boring breakfast rut (don’t knock it till you’ve tried it).

Honestly, though, this stuff is fantastic plain. Toasting the oats and adding a pinch of salt creates plenty of flavor—I even love it cold with milk. Or, when I need something I can carry with me, I mash a banana with about a cup of this stuff, add some cinnamon and chopped nuts, then microwave it spoonfuls for a sort of trail cookie.

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If any of you are disappointed that I didn’t throw you for another loop this week with more bean concoctions, just think about how we can even attach the prefix “dis-” to a non-word like “combobulate” and you should feel much better (or, at least, pleasantly confused).

Store the oatmeal in a tightly sealed container, and pull it out when you need to be recombobulated.

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