Every Christmas, our house is open to everyone who wants to come; family, friends, and neighbors are all invited. One of my favorite things to do for my guests is give everyone a little something to take home and enjoy over the first few months of the new year. Nothing big, just a little treat. Some years, we give out jam or jelly, other years it’s liqueur, toasted nuts, or home grown garlic wrapped and tied for display.
This year we discovered the sweet little treat of instant oatmeal. It is so easy to put these little single-serving packets together and it can be a fun activity to do with small children. The littlest ones can stir, and pour the oats into the blender. The older ones can put the labels on the packages. It makes up as a lovely little gift to offer your visitors as they arrive (or leave), and everyone enjoys choosing just the ones they like the best.
• 3 cups quick-cooking oats
• 1/2 tsp salt
• 12 small paper favor bags or
• small glassine bags
Stir together the 3 cups of oats and the salt. Put 1/2 cup of oat mixture into a blender; blend for just a few seconds until powdery. Pour the powdered oats into a large bowl, then blend another 1/2 cup of oats until powdery, and pour into bowl. Add the remaining 2 cups of un-blended quick-cooking oats and stir until mixed. Into each bag put 3 tablespoons of the oat mixture, then for variations, add as instructed below.
Seal the bags with labels, and onto the back of each bag put a text label with directions on how to use. Store the bags in an airtight container. Our labels said: “Williamson’s Instant Oatmeal – Merry Christmas! Enjoy this oatmeal specially made for you by Paige, Michael and Preston. To enjoy, pour contents of envelope into a cereal bowl, add 1/2 cup boiling water and stir briefly until mixed. Cover with a small plate for a few minutes while you pour your orange juice and milk. Then uncover, add milk, nuts, maple syrup, as desired. Enjoy all the Williamson’s oatmeal flavors – cinnamon apple, classic, cashews, and brown sugar and cinnamon.”
Apple & Cinnamon Oatmeal – To each packet add 1/4 tsp cinnamon and 2 Tbsp finely chopped dried apples.
Sweetened Oatmeal – To each packet add 1 Tbsp of granulated or brown sugar.
Brown Sugar & Cinnamon Oatmeal – To each packet add 1 Tbsp brown sugar & 1/4 tsp cinnamon
Oatmeal w/Raisins & Brown Sugar – To each packet add 1 Tbsp packed brown sugar and 1 Tbsp raisins
Oatmeal with cashews – To each packet add 1 Tbsp of chopped unsalted cashews
Empty bag of instant oatmeal into a bowl. While stirring, add 1/2 cup boiling water – must be boiling, not just hot. Stir, cover with a small plate, and let stand for two minutes. For creamier oatmeal, heat in the microwave just until it begins to boil, then stir and enjoy.
For thicker oatmeal, use less water; for thinner oatmeal, use more water.