FMCC: Homemade Instant Oatmeal, Homemade Hot Cocoa, Carrot-Raisin Whole Grain Muffins

Welcome to FMCC week 6 -- another productive and fun time with the FMCC ladies! This week we made some pantry basics and used CSA carrots for some yummy Carrot-Raisin Muffins.

This weeks FMCC ladies: Erin, Preeti, Holly, Me, Janine, Dawn
The instant oatmeal has been a staple in my house for a while now. Evan doesn't like store-bought oatmeal packets, but he loves the homemade. Colin likes any kind of oatmeal, so this works out well for everyone. I like that I know exactly what is in it and you can add whatever extras you would like (dried apple, raisins, mango, fresh berries) and it is so much less expensive than store-bought. The hot cocoa was also an instant hit with the kids. To quote "Mom, it is sooo chocolatey!"
, these were the first words out of Evan's after he took a sip -- Colin was too busy gulping it down to say anything;)

The Carrot-Raisin Muffins were met with mixed reviews, Evan likes them, Colin does not. I like to freeze them for a lunchbox item for Evan, myself, and the hub. I have seen many variations of this recipe floating around Pinterest, but went with Mel's version because I find her recipes reliable and delicious. I added the raisins for a little extra sweetness, but you could certainly leave them out.

Homemade Instant Oatmeal (Printable version)
6 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
optional add-ins: dried fruit pieces, nuts, chocolate chips
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees, spread oats on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. They will be fragrant and toasted. Allow to cool for a couple minutes.
2. Scoop 4 cups of the toasted oats into the food processor, add the brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Pulse until it is a rough powder.
3. Mix with remaining unprocessed oats and store in airtight container.
*Lasts at room temperature for 4 weeks, fridge for 3 months, freezer for 6 months
To prepare:
1. Place 1/2 cup oatmeal in microwave safe container, add 1 cup hot water and microwave for 2 minutes.
2. Remove from microwave and add additional milk or water until desired consistency is reached. I prefer this method as it cools the oatmeal and the kids can eat it right away.
If you do not want to microwave you can combine 1/2 cup oatmeal with 1-1 1/2 cups boiling water and let sit for 5 minutes before stirring and serving.
*Another great recipe from The Homemade Pantry by Alana Chernila 

Homemade Hot Cocoa (Printable version)
2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup cocoa powder
2 1/2 cups powdered milk
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1. Combine all ingredients in large bowl and whisk until mixed well.
2. Pour into airtight container, store in cool, dry place.
To make hot cocoa:
1. Fill mug halfway with hot cocoa
2. Fill mug with hot water or hot milk and stir well.
*Original recipe found on Girl Meets Kitchen

Carrot-Raisin Whole Grain Muffins (Printable version)

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup honey
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
3/4 cup finely shredded carrots
1/4 cup raisins

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray muffin tins liberally with coconut oil or grease with butter
2. In a large bowl whisk flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt.
3. Make a small well in center of the dry ingredients and add the butter, honey, egg, vanilla, and applesauce.
4. Stir ingredients together until combined and do not overmix.
5. Gently fold in the carrots and raisins.
6. Use an ice cream scoop to fill muffin liners 2/3 of the way (regular or mini-muffins)
7. Bake 18-20 minutes for regular muffins. 12-14 minutes for mini-muffins.

*Original Recipe found at Mel's Kitchen Cafe

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