The Kitchen Prep: #BrunchWeek: DIY Instant Oatmeal Bar

Friday, May 9, 2014

#BrunchWeek: DIY Instant Oatmeal Bar

#BrunchWeek continues today, and I'm sharing one of my new favorite entertaining tricks: D.I.Y. food stations! I have yet to meet a person that doesn't love customizing their own food, whether it's an ice cream sundae bar, a make-you-own pizza setup or an omelet station. Plus, it usually frees up some time for the host or hostess and ensures that each guest gets what they really want. {Because we all know picky/particular/allergic folks that need to be selective with their options.}

Recently, I co-hosted a mini-bridal shower for a friend and instead of going all out with pre-made stuff, I set up a D.I.Y. flatbread bar complete with all the fixin's. It was a huge hit and it took only minutes to bake the finished product. It also made for some fun moments and a conversation starter!

When you're having a group over for brunch, you can tweak your stations to reflect the mealtime. Borrow a few waffle irons and set up a D.I.Y. waffle bar, jazz up the beverage cart with selections for create-your-own mimosas or bloody Marys, or try this unique idea: A D.I.Y. Instant Oatmeal Bar!

I've recently started experimenting with D.I.Y. instant oatmeal, and I'm loving all of the different combinations I've come up with. As a bonus, it literally takes a 90 second spin in the microwave to have a hot, healthy breakfast. I've made Cranberry-Almond Vanilla Oatmeal, Banana Nut Oatmeal and Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal, and have fun every morning raiding the pantry and seeing what else I can whip up!

One of our sponsors for #BrunchWeek happens to be Bob's Red Mill, who creates all kinds of oats & grains for cooking. In our house, we usually have a few of their versions of oats on hand: Rolled oats, gluten-free oats {which the husband eats every morning}, and quick oats. The quick oats are the ones you want to use for this recipe to keep it fairly "instant"!

For the purposes of party hosting, you can easily set up a station with bowls, utensils, ingredients and mix-ins and let your guests do their thing. Just print a cute sign with directions and stand by the microwave for quick zapping! {A group of 6, for example, will only take 9 minutes total to "cook" for.}

Here are the simple steps on how to make your own bowl:

Step 1: Place quick cooking oats in a bowl.
Step 2: Choose your liquid.
Step 3: Sweeten it up.
Step 4: Give it some spice.
Step 5: Bump up the flavor with extract.
Step 6: Zap it.
Step 7: Have fun with mix-ins!

The base recipe below is just a suggestion, but the possibilities are truly endless! I'm also sharing two amazing oatmeal recipes to spark your creativity -- Mocha Chip Oatmeal & Maple-Bacon Pecan Oatmeal. They're both scrumptious!

I hope #BrunchWeek has given you plenty of ideas for your celebrations! A huge thanks to our many wonderful sponsors and our hostesses, Terri from Love and Confections & Susan from The Girl in the Little Red Kitchen!  If you haven't entered to win one of our giveaway prizes, be sure to do so by using the Rafflecopter widget below!
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Looking for more fabulous recipes? These gals know their brunch foods!

Brunch Beverages:

Brunch Eggs:

Brunch Mains:

Brunch Breads:

Brunch Fruit and Sides:

Brunch Desserts:

D.I.Y. Instant Oatmeal - Base Recipe

1/4 cup quick cooking oats
1/2 cup your choice liquid - Suggestions: milk, almond milk, water, etc.
2 teaspoons* sweetener of choice - Suggestions: brown sugar, honey, maple syrup, etc.
1/4 teaspoon spice of choice - Suggestions: cinnamon, cardamom, ground ginger, etc.
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon extract of choice - Suggestions: vanilla, almond, coconut, coffee, etc.
Desired amount of mix-ins - Suggestions:
 - Dried fruit {raisins, dried cranberries, dried blueberries, dried mango, banana chips, etc.}
 - Chopped fresh fruit {apples, strawberries, bananas, blueberries, etc.}
 - Nuts {pecans, almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, etc.}
 - Healthy add-ins {flax, chia seeds, protein powder, etc.}
 - Nut Butters {peanut butter, almond butter, sunbutter, etc.}
 - Jellys, Jams & Preserves {any flavor}
 - Naughty add-ins {cookie pieces, mini chocolate chips, marshmallows, caramel, bacon!}

*2 teaspoons is a good start for some sweeteness, but if you'd like sweeter oatmeal, add a bit more.

Mocha Chip Oatmeal

1/4 cup quick cooking oats
1/2 cup milk milk of choice
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon coffee extract*
1 to 1/2 tablespoons mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Combine oats, milk, brown sugar, coffee extract and cinnamon in a microwave-safe bowl.
2. Microwave mixture on high for 90 seconds to 1 minute 50 seconds {depending on how thick you like your oatmeal}.
3. Stir until slightly thickened and cooled.
4. Mix in mini chocolate chips.

*If you don't have coffee extract, you can use 1/2 teaspoon of instant coffee granules instead or replace half of milk measure with strong-brewed coffee.

Maple-Bacon Pecan Oatmeal

1/4 cup quick cooking oats, such as Bob's Red Mill
1/2 cup milk of choice
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons pecans, chopped
2 tablespoons crispy bacon, chopped

1. Combine oats, milk, maple syrup, vanilla and cinnamon in a microwave-safe bowl.
2. Microwave mixture on high for 90 seconds to 1 minute 50 seconds {depending on how thick you like your oatmeal}.
3. Stir until slightly thickened and cooled.
4. Mix in pecans and bacon. Drizzle with extra maple syrup if desired.


Alice // Hip Foodie Mom said...

I love DIY food stations for parties!! it's so much easier and fun for the guests as well!!! I have to try your maple bacon pecan oatmeal. . oh my gawd, yummmmm!

Taylor @ Food Faith Fitness said...

LOVE THIS! What a fun idea for a brunch party. Oatmeal is my fav, in fact I am eating it right now! Pinned!

BecHeflin said...

Coolest idea EVER! I just love your posts...and you <3 said...

What a great idea for an easy, tasty brunch party!

Erin said...

I love the idea of an oatmeal bar! Great thinking.

Shaina Wizov said...

What a great idea!!! I have got to do this sometime

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