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do-it-yourself instant oatmeal + out of the woods


I came out of the forest to bring you this sweet little packet of a breakfast recipe/strategy. We went up north for a few days of clean air, adventure and quiet time in the oldest provincial park in Canada. We were greeted by some gentle rain, sitting in our canoe at the entry point, looking out over the grey, foggy beauty of it all. We had woken up at 3 in the morning, drove 5 hours, listened to a lot of Springsteen (we’re on a serious Bruce tear), drank a decent amount of coffee, got the permit, the park-licensed garbage bag, the whole deal. After a 3 hour canoe/portage trip to our site, we were soaked, kind of cold, but quietly content. Being out in the world! With the force of nature all around and its miracles, getting bummed about those little struggles seems a bit silly.

The end of summer has all kind of gone along with that theme. A whole bunch of little, unassuming and wonderful things that make up the big beautiful and fill it with grace. Very simply satisfied with life at the moment.

What goes along nicely with little things that fill your life with shiny abundance? Oatmeal. Yep.

When we go on any excursion, not just the great-outdoors ones, food is my responsibility. Mark handles the fire building, wood chopping, the shelter construction, any navigation whatsoever, loading the canoe properly, lifting all the heavy things, tying our food up high in the trees at night like a pro (bears are a real deal possibility)… you get the idea. He does a lot and watching him carry on happily in that element, I couldn’t love him more.

So naturally I try to make the food aspect way good. Sure it has to be delicious, kind of easy to scheme up, slightly compact, but also crazy-fortifying. Hot oatmeal cooked over a campfire with a bit of hemp, vanilla sugar and fresh fruit on a cool woodsy morning fits the bill just right. I’m more of a steel-cut kind of gal normally, but for the sake of practicality this add-hot-water-and-stir number hits the spot and is just as tasty to boot. Sure I could have bought the little packets, but it’s crazy simple to make and ten times better. Actually.

A lot of the packaged brands include some kind of milk powder to achieve a sort of creaminess when the hot water is added. I wasn’t really all over this particular move, so I found a solution that I can deliciously live with. Justin’s and Artisana brands make some awesome nut butters in tiny packets for healthy peeps on the go. It’s brilliant. I boil up some water, dump in the pre-bagged oat goodness, add the packet of nut butter, stir stir stir over the fire, add some chopped fruit and voila. Tasty breakfast.

This is a pretty smart little strategy for the work week too. It’s easy enough to have access to a jar of almond butter (or whatever you like) and some hot water at the workplace so why not? Make up five little bundles of the good stuff on a day off, make sure no one’s snagging spoonfuls of your nut/seed butter at work and you’re all good for healthy, happy morning meals.

do-it-yourself instant oatmeal with nut butter
serves: for 1 packet/serving
notes: Use whatever flaked grains, nuts, seeds, dried fruit etc you like. This recipe is just an example of what I made for our little trip.

in the packet:
1/3-1/2 cup flaked grains (I used oats and rye)
2 tbsp seeds or chopped nuts (I used hemp and chia seeds)
2 tbsp dried fruit (I used dried sour cherries)
2 tsp dry sweetener of your choice (I had some vanilla sugar around, this amount may vary if you’re using stevia or something more concentrated)
teeny pinch of salt

to serve:
2 tbsp-1/4 cup boiling water (depending on how watery/sticky you want it)
1 tbsp nut/seed butter of your choice (I used raw walnut butter)
cut up fresh fruit (we had glorious end-of-summer peaches)

Place the oats, seeds/nuts, dried fruit, sweetener and salt in a bag or tupperware container of some type. When ready to serve, dump contents into serving dish of your choice.

Pour the boiling water on top and add the nut butter. Stir it all up until thoroughly combined. Place chopped fruit on top and serve.

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Sofia30/08/2012 - 2:54 pm

Ahh..beautiful pictures! I went on my first Algonquin portaging trip this summer and also being the one to take on the food part of the adventure, struggled to find the balance between light-weight, non-perishable, healthy, filling, etc… we ended up with a lot more meat than I could handle (though I have to say that the fire cooked bacon was incredible). I’m curious about what other stuff you guys ate – need some ideas on how to up my game for next time, especially in the veggie department.

Michelle30/08/2012 - 3:43 pm

I’m going to have to come camping with you guys sometime, because Joe has made it pretty clear he is NOT into it. I have so many positive memories of cooking over a fire on canoe trips: stir fries, flat breads, scrambled eggs with tons of veg, rice n beans, something called hawaiian salami…

And this recipe is bomb. This is like the winter counterpart to my summer granola!

Lena30/08/2012 - 3:46 pm

Oh I love this idea. Not just for outdoors but for my breakfasts at home, too. Being able to just add one thing to a pan instead of taking out all the grains and nuts and seeds and making a huge mess in the kitchen in the morning could really make me get used to eating oatmeal more often. thanks for sharing.

Becky30/08/2012 - 7:09 pm

Brilliant idea for camping and traveling! Thanks for the post.

kelsey30/08/2012 - 9:47 pm

Camping rules.

Ashlae30/08/2012 - 10:36 pm

I really want to make this, but I refuse to do so in my well-equipped kitchen. That just wouldn’t be right. Must find time to camp. Or, call in sick to work. And class.

Kathryn31/08/2012 - 1:55 pm

This is an inspired idea and would work just as well in my poorly equipped office kitchen as when camping (although it may not be quite as fun…)

Gorgeous pictures too.

Hannah03/09/2012 - 12:53 pm

Bruce! Oh be still my beating heart. (And don’t you think he seems like he might be an oatmeal kind of guy, himself?) Anyway, moving right along … my little ones love make-your-own instant oatmeal, and I have been using the recipe from The Homemade Pantry – I am now super curious to try this ‘raw’ version, since THP version has you toast some of the oats and then food process them … not toasting them is obviously about a thousand times simpler. (Her version does achieve some creaminess, though, without gross milk powders or anything – I think because of the powdery bits of toasted oats??).

The nut butter addition is inspired … I often add almonds to breakfast grains, and my kids usually eat around them. Nut butter here we come.

Kathryne09/09/2012 - 8:53 pm

This is so smart, Laura! I’m glad you got out-of-doors; I’ve been feeling rather confined indoors lately. Gotta get out and explore this new city, if not farther.

sunidhi15/09/2012 - 1:28 pm

Hi, This looks very yummy and mouth watering. definitely i will try and let u know. you have described it really good anyone can follow it . thanks for a wonderful recipe.

[...] shoes at Mark’s recommendation, worried about staying hydrated, made up little batches of homespun instant oatmeal, packed a Malcolm Gladwell book for extra lightness and some other things. We woke up way before [...]

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