Yep, I’m a bit ashamed to admit that I never made oatmeal with old-fashioned oats until last year at 34. And what I was missing all those years!
When I first left my job a year ago and had to really watch our budget, I knew that going bulk with a lot of my grains was a good frugal food route to go (you can see my bulk food area here from a previous post). I had heard that old-fashioned oats took a little longer to cook but were heartier and knowing David’s appreciation for hot cereal, I bought a pound (and doing so is about 1/4 to 1/2 the cost of a box of instant, even organic!).
When I first made it, I remember thinking, “now THIS is what oatmeal tastes like.” It really has that oat-y flavor and you can make it all sorts of ways (doing away with the sickeningly sweet flavored packets of instant that I used to enjoy). You can also add other grains to it to make it a multi-grained hot cereal (like cracked wheat, buckwheat, amaranth, etc.)
Cooking old-fashioned oats is simple – it’s a 2:1 ratio of water to dried oats, bring the mixture to a soft boil, then put on the lowest heat setting for about 15-20 minutes. I always add a pinch of salt and a pat of butter as it really balances any sweetness you add to it and really draws out the flavors.
I typically make oatmeal once a week, though more in the winter. It’s only 19 degrees on this chilly morning, so oatmeal seemed like a good call. Today I’m making our oatmeal with maple and pecans (though we’ve been enjoying a lot of apple/cinnamon oatmeal recently with our ABUNDANCE of apples from our CSA (I seriously have more than 6 large apple-picking bags worth of apples taking over our fridge right now and another big bowl of getting-ready-to-turn apples on my counter that I’m making into muffins and crisp later today).
So, if you haven’t tried oatmeal the old-fashioned way, you really ought to. Once you do, I don’t think you’ll be returning back to packets anytime soon.