Healthy, Homemade Gifts: Hearty Gourmet Oatmeal

By , SparkPeople Blogger
In the middle of winter, when the mercury's dropping and the snow is piling up outside, is there anything more comforting than a bowl of oatmeal?

Judging from your answers last week, most of you agree with me. Plain old oatmeal becomes a tedious breakfast rather quickly, but the fancy flavored versions are pricey and full of artificial flavors.

Thankfully, making your own gourmet oatmeal is easy. Flavored oatmeal makes a great gift for the busy professional, a time-strapped mom or anyone who says there's no time for a healthy breakfast.

Stepfanie's Oatmeal Mix
6 cups old-fashioned or steel-cut oats
3/4 c ground flax seeds
3 T cinnamon
1 1/2 cups walnuts, chopped
1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
Mix all ingredients together. Makes 12 servings (about 3/4 cup each)
Store in the refrigerator as flax seeds and walnuts can spoil quickly.

Nutrition info
Number of Servings: 12
Calories: 329
Total Fat: 15.3 g* (This is mostly heart-healthy fats from the walnuts and flaxseed, both of which contain Omega-3 fatty acids.)
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 1.2 mg
Total Carbs: 44.9 g
Dietary Fiber: 8.8 g
Protein: 8.9 g

Divide the oatmeal into single servings (1 cup food storage containers work great for this) or deliver the gift in a decorative cookie jar. Personalize this as you'd like. Swap almonds, pumpkin seeds or pecans for the walnuts; use raisins, dried pineapple or some apple rings instead of cranberries. If you prefer sweetened oatmeal: Add cocoa powder and a bit of sugar, toss in some brown sugar or give a bottle of real maple syrup to supplement the gift. You can also use barley, cracked wheat, wheat germ or oat bran.

Bonus: Buy the materials for this oatmeal from the bulk bins at the grocery store to save more money.

How do you top your oatmeal?

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I have been eating my oatmeal like this for a while now. The nuts give it a little crunch. I don't use cranberries though. At this time of year I use frozen blueberries, but the rest of the year use fresh strawberries. Report
I'm just beginning to catch the oatmeal habit for breakfast instead of the two eggs plus I've eaten for several years. This oatmeal is a wonderful, low sugar choice. I'm trying to make sure I keep my oatmeal low cal/fat/sugar but opting to 1oz. of walnuts a day, recommended (in Oprah Mag column) for Omega 3 oils and for skin. Adding high oxidant fruit makes it perfect. Report
Currently I put raisins, cinnamon, and 6oz light yogurt
In the past I've used, brown sugar, chunky apple sauce Report
I'm not a big oatmeal fan. I just started eating it recently because its good for cholesterol. I just like a little cinnamon and brown sugar on mine. Sometimes I'll add some craisins. Report
Yum! Depending on my mood, I'll add peanut butter, pumpkin butter, raisins, brown sugar or almonds. A lot of the time, I just eat it plain though. I make it with vanilla soymilk or vanilla almond milk, so it still tastes great without adding anything to it. :) Report
My husband would LOVE to have me make OFO every morning. We always have dried cranberries and pecans mixed in. Seve with a tad of low fat milk. I pick up large boxes of oatmeal and the other ingredients at the Costco whenever we get to town. I have never thought to make up gifts with the oatmeal but its a great idea. Report
I eat oatmeal almost every day. I use rice milk, oatmeal (of course), 2 tbsp peanut butter, 1/4 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen) heat it up then put a sliced banana on top. I love the taste combinations. Report
I am using this one for a friend who loves oatmeal. Great idea. Report
I cook up some OFO and top it with slivered almonds, baking raisins, and a touch of honey. Report
Great recipe and idea, but shouldn't there be cooking instructions included with your homemade food gifts? How do you cook this mixture? Report
oatmeal overnight in the slow-cooker, yum. every now and then, i replace some of the water with applesauce. it tastes SO much better than the oatmeal i make on the spot, or the instant stuff we sometimes use.

as for toppings, i like mine with a bit of organic butter or ghee, a couple shakes of sea salt (yup, my sweetie will, at this point, remind me that i'm an odd bird), and some cinnamon, ginger, and/or nutmeg. back in the day (before i was paying attention to carbs, that is), i would use organic agave nectar to sweeten mine a little. or organic maple syrup. but not so much these days (sigh).

last time we had oatmeal, i mixed into mine a scoop of whey protein, but this made it a bit too gluey for my liking. i'll try a bit less next time. and some nuts or crunchy almond butter and some frozen blueberries. yum! Report
Hot oatmeal on a cold winter day is the best. I usually make it using a diced apple in it and then add some cinnamon, honey and a little soy milk. Ummmmmm!! Report
maple syrup or Splenda Report
I'm a chocoholic, so I either put a tablespoon of dark chocolate chips and let it melt, unsweetened cocoa poder if I'm cutting down on sugar, or half a scoop of chocolate flavored protein powder. A weird one is that I put green tea powder into it and have green tea flavored oatmeal. I also put flax meal, bee pollen, agave nectar, blueberries, bananas, yogurt, etc. Oats are a staple. Report
Putting a bit of maple syrup (sorry, I'm Canadian), in it can add enough flavour to make it editible. But I'm not into hot cereals much, but more things like peanut butter and jam sandwiches because of my hypoglycemia. The sandwich lasts longer and I don't have to eat again until lunch. Report
oh - as far as a gift idea goes...its an idea. for some its wonderful. For others maybe not so much...but its an idea. Think outside the sparkley wrapped box. Think about the person receiving the gift. Would it be good for them?
...maybe Report
we like ours with either dried blueberries with a touch of honey or with dried cranberries.

never thought of peanut butter - i just may try that. thanks moms100 for the idea.

the ratio we use for one serving is 1/4 c steel cut oats to 1/2 c water. twice the water to oats. (just like rice) works every time.

We've also been known to use just a bit more water and set it up in the small crock pot the night before. 1/2 c oats, 1 & 1/2 c water (or juice or skim milk) and 1/2 c dried berries. Yummy and hot and ready when we wake. Report
This is similar to my favorite oatmeal. I like unpeeled, fresh sliced apples, pecans, and raisins and no sugar. When black raspberries were in season, I bought a flat and froze them in snack-size bags. They are great in my oatmeal along with some cocoa. I keep it vegan and top it with soymilk. Yummy!!! Report
Thanks for sharing this -- I plan to make it and share the abundance. Report
This is a great recipe! Thanks for sharing. Report
love this idea!! Most of my loved ones have all the excuses in the world not to eat healthy....this will be one of their gifts for Christmas. Thanks SP Report
I love home made steel cut oats! I add these ingredients after cooking, but perhaps I ought to experiment a bit ... In terms of food gifts, this would rate highly with me :) Report
I like the sounds of this recipe! The mixture that I use is 3/4 c. steel-cut oats, 1 tsp apple pie spice, pinch of salt, 3 c. water, 1 tbsp unsalted butter, 2 tbsp brown sugar (could use less-to taste), and about 4 dried apple rings-chopped. This all gets put into a 1 1/2 qt. slow cooker and cooked on low 8-9 hrs or on high 3-4 hrs.

I make this nightly for us, so that my daughter has a hot breakfast before school. I do spray the inside of the slow cooker with cooking spray and stir it occasionally during the night. Hubby adds a little fresh maple syrup to his, while I add just a little bit of fresh, raw honey. Report
What a nifty idea! Thank You for sharing - my grandchildren - should have a ball! Report
Although the earlier poster's comment about making a basket of homemade food items - that I can see as thoughtful, and would be greatly appreciated. Just a jar of oatmeal flakes in a jar with a bow? You would be making yourself a family reputation right there. But I can see the basket idea, that's a good idea. Report
Wow. Great low-sodium, good-for-you Winter Breakfast idea. Thanks! Report
This is a great recipe... but as a gift, that is cheap cheap cheap. Might as well give people coupons or lightbulbs. Good job on the recipe, bad gift idea! Report
Hi! I didn't say how much water to use because I think oatmeal is really a personal preference. Some people like it thick (me!) and other like it soupy. Add as much or as little water as you'd like. Report
I usually add some type of fresh fruit, cinnamon and sometimes chopped walnuts to my oatmeal. This is a great way to add variety and get more fiber. Report
What is the ratio of Water & Oats? 1 cup Oatmeal & 2/3 cup Water or 1 cup each? The recipe doesn't say.
Thank you! Report
A pretty jar with a nice ribbon and a personalized tag w/the instructions on it, and it sounds like a very nice gift to me! I eat oatmeal almost every day and have been trying to kick the "packet" habit since it's easy and cheaper to make my own (plus, no fillers or chemicals) so maybe this will get me started. Report
I used to buy Holly's oatmeal - which sounds a lot like this - cranberry & almonds - soooo yummy! But it's $6 for a bag - yikes!!!!

Thanks for the recipe - I'll be trying to do it on my own.

Moms100- Peanut butter in oatmeal rocks! Report
Splenda brown sugar lend, Spenda and cinnamon. Easy but so delish! Report
I think this sounds awesome! I was just wondering do you put 3/4 cup mix to
1 cup water or do you use more water because of the dried fruit?

To IRONORCHID I have elderly inlaws that would love to have something like this to make quick in the morning. They sure don't need any knick knacks or more clothing. So I make them "meals in a jar" baskets so all they add is water and canned meat I provide them. Report
This sounds like something my husband would really enjoy! Report
I buy mixes usually; either wt nuts, or wt dried fruits or both... Report
Some comments are better kept to yourself! I think this is a great idea....I normally eat the instant packages but this is so much healthier that I definitely will try it. My girlfriend loves oatmeal so this will be a good heartfelt gift for her. Thanks for sharing! Report
I eat something similar, with more nut varieties and no dried fruit. I top it with a banana and a couple of tbsp of low-fat yogurt. A wonderful, filling start to the day. Report
It's not about the cost, IRONORCHID. It's about giving someone you love a hearty, healthy, homemade breakfast. Report
Oatmeal for a gift??!! Give me a break! It is sooo cheap. Why not a gallon of skim milk? It is healthy too. Report
Thank you. I never thought of trying this before. I am guilty of eating the instant oatmeal. And jenn224 thanks for the idea as well. It is definitely easier to get the trail mix instead. Thanks. Report
Thank you. I never thought of trying this before. I am guilty of eating the instant oatmeal. And jenn224 thanks for the idea as well. It is definitely easier to get the trail mix instead. Thanks. Report
One way I jazz up my oatmeal is by adding a tropical fruit trail mix. Adds about 125 cal on top of the oatmeal. But I love the nuts & fruit combo. Plus the sweetness from the fruit is enough to omit the sugar or honey I would normally add. Report
These gourmet oatmeals in a jar are a great idea. My recent favorite way to make oatmeal is to add a tsp each of unsweetened cocoa and molasses and a few shakes of cinnamon. I just love the combo of flavors-yumm! Report
This would help out my daughter with an easy breakfast. She is one of those strange people who needs to gain weight. (She wasn't switched at birth.) She never eats breakfast, but must feed her son. Report
I've never tried mixing my ingredients together ahead of time, but I always have a variety of oatmeal for breakfast:
5-grain mixed multigrain cereal (From Whole Foods; has oats, barley, flax, triticale, and another one)
make with milk in the microwave (2min)
then I top it with almonds, cinnamon, ground flax and a bit of brown sugar. Yummy and filling! Report
This really sound great. Lots of variety and ideas - other nuts and dried fruit. Report
Ever try putting a little peanut butter in the hot oatmeal? Keeps me full til lunch! Report
Thanks for sharing this information, this is definitely something to consider for breakfast in the future. Report
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