Thursday, 29 November 2012

Frugal breakfast - homemade instant oats

I have noticed at lot of people in my office bringing in sachets of ready oats and tubs of instant porridge - expensive sachets and tubs. Even the own brand ones are extortion over a bowl of homemade porridge. I do understand though that even if you have access to a microwave at work, it is quicker and easier to use the instant oats. I made the mistake of using the microwave during my 15 minute break to make regular porridge and ended up wolfing down a bowl of scalding hot porridge with two minutes to go.

Having said that, instant oats are far cheaper than my recent habit of buying food from the canteen or express shop. Buying food at work to eat at work so that you can earn money is one of those habits that I know is really really really dumb and yet I still do it far too often.

So I have made my own instant oats. Half a cup of oats, 1 level desert spoon of sugar (soft brown would have been preferable for that golden syrup taste) and 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon per portion. Simply pulse blend the oats until they are somewhere between cous cous and pudding rice in grain size. Put them in your lidded container with the sugar and spice and give them a good shake. That's it, until you get to breakfast time.

So, enough boiling water to cover, a quick stir, and a splash of milk to cool things down. Breakfast is served, at less than 15p a serving using good quality oats not bought on special offer. If you leave out the sugar and spice, it's less than 10p and still perfectly delicious. The leading brand sachets work out at about double that, which doesn't sound much until you work out that that is an extra £36 you are spending on porridge over a full time working year. Not to mention the 240 carboard tubs or foiled sachets and numerous carboard boxes that are going straight in the bin. I could do a lot with £36.

As it is so heartwarmingly cheap I might try and bling it up a little with some chopped fruit or nuts. Perhaps even cocoa occasionally. I have made enough for three weeks worth, each week is packed in a takeaway container, small enough to stay in my desk drawer; after that its crazy flavour open  season on porridge at my office.


  1. What a good idea ... porridge is so nice and warming. We've broken out the oats ..just love it with golden syrup.

    Vicky x....and thrifty too!

    1. Thank you. I LOVE golden syrup. You know a baked good is going to be worth the hassle when it has '3 tbsp golden syrup' in the recipe!

  2. Here's an idea (and I've been doing it too) Put your oatmeal into a warm thermos, cover with boiling water, seal and leave overnight - presto instant oatmeal at the right temperature in the morning. (I did find that my thermos required either an extra towel or a warm spot so that it didn't lose too much heat).

    viv in nz

  3. I might give that a try when I know I have a busy morning ahead, thank you. I could do enough for the whole family.