Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Captain Underpants vs. Oatmeal (or why I have to make more stuff from scratch)

Way back when Captain Underpants was a little baby just starting to eat solid food, I found out that he had an intolerance to rice cereal.  It made him cry, gave him hideous gas, just basically made his life miserable. The only grain I could give him as a baby was oatmeal. Well, baby oatmeal is boring so of course I mixed stuff in it, like every other mommy. I mixed bananas (gag!), peaches (double gag!) and applesauce. I put in cinnamon and a hint of brown sugar. I got fancy with my 7-month old baby because, gee, I didn't know any better and I only had the one kid.

Fast forward 8 years. My oldest still eats oatmeal. But now, he will ONLY eat it with applesauce, cinnamon, and a hint of brown sugar. Oh, and he wants it NOW! Oh and he wants vast quantities of it because he is almost as tall as I am and close to 70 pounds now. Fan-tastic.

So I started buying Quaker Instant Apple & Cinnamon oatmeal every time I went shopping.  The only problem is that this quickly got expensive and Captain Underpants started downing 2 packets of oatmeal at a time.  Thriftily I changed to the store-brand version of Apples & Cinnamon oatmeal. Unfortunately, this produced a hideous side effect to the tummy of Captain Underpants.  I am not sure what is IN the store-brand version, but it does not agree with my child. Finally we switched to the Organic store brand version and that helped somewhat, but we also got two less packets per box which meant more boxes to buy.

Wine? Yes, please!

It's a perfectly wonderful Friday night and I am curled up with my tablet, wine, and Miss Kitty doing my 3rd favorite thing...looking for stuff on Pinterest, when suddenly I come upon the pin that would end my woes. DIY Oatmeal Packs. I sat up so fast that Miss Kitty flew off of my lap. I almost spilled the wine, which would have been a total tragedy. The pin links to this awesome site Amy Loves Her Life where this woman told me exactly what to do so that I could stop spending $6 on oatmeal every 5 days. (And it's not just the cost, people. It's all the wasted packaging of those boxes and packets...the Earth was SCREAMING)

It took a couple of days, but I gathered my supplies:
I had to order some dried apples in bulk because Captain Underpants likes dried apples AND applesauce in his oatmeal. Yeah, my kid is a little complicated, but I only have myself to blame. I mean, I made pop-tarts from scratch, remember?

First I tried chopping up the apples by hand, but then I realized that was a stupid thing to do. HELLO?! I cook for a living! I have two food processors! I used my mini-prep food processor to chop the apples into little bits. I have actually had this thing since the Captain was a baby and I used to make all of his baby food. But I digress...
I used a full 1/2 cup of oatmeal per baggie. This is twice the amount you get in one of those little packets from the store. I used snack-sized Ziploc bags so that there would not be a ton of extra room in the bag making the apples all stale.

I put in a rounded tablespoon of brown sugar.  

I added two tablespoons of apple bits per bag. In this picture it kind of looks like popcorn, but those are truly dried apple bits. 

Nothing would be complete without a healthy dash of cinnamon! Did you know that cinnamon is a natural way to lower your blood pressure? The Captain will have GREAT blood pressure readings in life due to his oatmeal consumption alone. 
Here is the finished product!

So, I actually crunched all the numbers, and unlike on Amy's blog, I actually came close to paying the same price for the homemade version of the oatmeal packets as the store-bought version. HOWEVER, a couple of things tip the scales in favor of the homemade version:
1. I know EXACTLY what is in this stuff.  Oats, brown sugar, organic dried fruit, and cinnamon. No added salt, no preservatives, nothing else that is gross.
2. Our version has a TON of dried fruit in it compared to the store bought stuff. Woo Hoo!
3. Though it looks like I am wasting a bunch of baggies, I am not. Under pain of death, I told the Captain to save every one of those plastic bags so that I can re-use them for the next set of oatmeal packs. Mother Earth can relax a little. 

But the best-est reason of all? My kid thinks I am the most wonderful mommy in the world for making him "special" oatmeal packs that fill him up and won't hurt his tummy. Totally worth it right there. I'm so filled with joy that I don't even need wine. Go figure.


  1. I loved it all...but...the "I don't need wine" part was a little over the top! :p Oh....and I want to know how you dry the bags after you wash them! I picture your kitchen covered in drying snack bags! xoxo

    1. Ha! I did need wine later in the eveing as I was making 4 lunches. And I rinse the bags and either turn them inside out or just wipe the inside with a towel. And I do them as he uses them so that I don't have a bunch of little bags all over the kitchen. HAHAHA

  2. Not only is oatmeal good for blood pressure, but cinnamon is good for maintaining good blood sugar. :)

    1. Well, good to know the Captain will be healthy as I handcraft all his little oatmeal packets for the forseeable future


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