Breakfast Oatmeal Bar

One of the ways I have found to get my kids to eat new things is to let them make their own.  When we make quiche, I let the kids put in the toppings of their choice.  I noticed when I started doing this they put in things like spinach, tomatoes and sweet potato. When I put those things in myself and then they sit down to eat they usually turn up their nose.  But if they put it together themselves they are more likely to eat it.  When I let my 7 year old make his own sandwiches he’ll add lettuce and tomato but when I add those things he doesn’t want them.

So I decided to try the same concept with oatmeal.  I made a big pot of oatmeal and let each family member scoop out their own bowl and then let them top it with the toppings of their choice.  The whole family really seemed to enjoy it.  I noticed my older boy (who is more picky) did try some new things today.  I topped mine with maple syrup, cinnamon, half and half, toasted nuts and a sprinkle of granola.  I had some watermelon and strawberries on the side.  It was delicious and kept me full until lunch at 12:45.

This would also be an easy breakfast for serving a large group.  Just make a big pot of oatmeal, set out a variety of toppings and let each person make their own.  You could serve some fruit and sausage, bacon or eggs on the side for a full meal.  Just double the recipe below if you are serving more than six people.  This is definitely an economical way to serve a large breakfast since oatmeal is so inexpensive.  You could scramble up a carton of eggs and have an oatmeal bar with fruit for about $15.  I think I might try this next time we have family spend the night.

Ingredients for the Oatmeal:

2 cups water
1 1/2 cups milk
2 cups quick oats
1/4 tsp salt

Directions:

1. Add water, milk and salt to a medium saucepan. Once it begins to bubble, stir in the oats.
2. Cook over medium heat for about 1-2 minutes.
3. Remove from heat and let it sit for a couple of minutes to thicken.
4. Pour the oatmeal into a large serving bowl and let each guest top their oatmeal with toppings of their choice.

Serves 4-6 (easily doubled for a larger crowd)

Toppings:

  • sliced bananas, strawberries, or any other fresh fruit
  • raisins or other dried fruit
  • toasted almonds, walnuts or pecans
  • cinnamon
  • granola
  • coconut
  • mini chocolate chips
  • greek yogurt
  • warm milk, half and half or cream
  • warm maple syrup

Notes:

1. To toast the raw nuts, broil them in the oven for 3-6 minutes. Just watch them carefully so they don’t burn. Once they start to brown it’s time to bring them out.
2. You can use all milk or all water for the liquid. I use part water because I try to watch the amount of dairy we eat.
3. I actually prefer old fashioned oats to quick oats because they are thicker but my kids prefer the quick. If you like old fashioned oats you can use those; you just need to cook it for about 5 minutes before removing it from the heat.  You can add a little more liquid as needed if they start to look too thick.

What about you?  What toppings do you like on your oatmeal?

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