Saturday, November 6, 2010

Eat your Oats!

There are lots of different types of oats and each have their own advantages and uses. Here is a little more about oats.

All types of oats are cleaned, hulled, and conditioned, which removes the outer shell (called a hull), leaving the inner kernel or “oat groat”. Then, the groats are heated and become stable for storage. From there, the groats are processed differently depending on what type of oatmeal they are being made into. The type of oats you have (regular, quick, etc) all depends on how thinly the oats were rolled. The thinner the rolling, the quicker the oats cook because of the greater surface area.

I was once told that the best way to store oats is to store the oat groats which are available from Walton Feed or any other distributer. The advantage to this is that regular oats will mold easily if there is ANY moisture at all in them. The disadvantage is that you then need an oat roller to roll your own oats. This is not extremely expensive but may just be one more thing to buy.

Regular Oats: These are made by steaming the groats and flattening them with a roller. Old Fashioned Rolled Oats are thinly rolled.

Quick Oats: Quick oats are rolled oats that have been cut into small pieces, then steamed and rolled extremely thinly (more thinly than regular). Because they are so thin, they cook very quickly.

Instant Oats: Instant oatmeal is thinly rolled, then pre-cooked and dried, usually with sweetener and flavor added to it. Just add hot water and stir.

Steel-cut oats: Steel-cut oats are whole grain groats which have been cut into only 2 or 3 pieces. They look a bit like small pieces of rice. Many people prefer the taste and texture of steel-cut oats over regular or instant oats. The only real disadvantage of steel-cut oats is that they take a bit longer to cook.

Both regular and quick oats can be used interchangeably in most recipes – it simply depends on the results you are looking for. If you want something that looks very whole grain and is chewy, you’ll want to use regular oats. Quick oats, on the other hand, are cut smaller and are less noticeable in recipes.

As you gather oats for your longer-term storage, consider how much your family eats it and factor that in. If your family doesn't eat oats often, consider trying them in some different ways - maybe it will be a big hit! Oats are so healthy, and they store really well, so it's perfect for your food storage! Here are some optional ways to use your oats.

Oatmeal Batter Bread
Batter breads are much easier than regular yeast breads because you don't have to knead them. This hearty loaf is ready in under two hours, most of that rising time.
2 to 2-1/2 c. flour
3/4 c. rolled oats
1 t. salt
1 pkg. dry yeast
1 c. water
1/3 c. honey
1/4 c. butter
1 egg
Grease an 8x4" loaf pan. In a large bowl, combine 1 c. flour, oats, salt and yeast and mix well. In a small saucepan, heat water, honey and butter until very warm, about 120º. Add to flour mixture along with egg, and beat for three minutes. Stir in additional 1 to 1-1/2 c. flour to make a stiff batter. Cover batter and let rise until light, about 25-30 minutes. Stir down batter and place in prepared pan. Cover and let rise until batter reaches top of pan, about 15-20 minutes. Heat oven to 375º. Bake bread for 35-40 minutes until loaf sounds hollow when lightly tapped. Remove from pan immediately and place on wire rack to cool. Y: 1 loaf

Basic Oatmeal Muffin Mix
18 cups flour
5 cups sugar
2 1/4 c. buttermilk blend or non fat dry milk
6 T. baking powder
2 T. baking soda
2 T. salt
3 T. ground cinnamon
3 t. ground nutmeg
(Oats will be added into the batter when mixing)
Measure all ingredients into a large bowl, blend well then transfer to a sealable storage container.
To Make 12 Regular Size Muffins:
Preheat oven to 400°.
Combine the following
2 eggs
1 ½ t. vanilla
1 c. water
½ c. oil
2 c. muffin mix
½ c. oats
2 c. raisins or grated apples
The batter should be slightly lumpy. Fill muffin tins 3/4 full. Bake for 18- 20 minutes or golden brown and spring back to the touch. Muffins freeze well. To reheat frozen muffins, microwave on high for 30 seconds per muffin.

Healthy Homemade Oatmeal Muffin Mix
This easy muffin mix is low fat and low sugar, and contains whole grains. Mix the dry ingredients and store in an airtight container on your shelf for several weeks.
2 c. white flour
2 ½ c. whole wheat flour
2 c. quick cooking oats
2 c. wheat bran
2 c. milled flax seed
1 c. sugar
2 t. salt
3 T. baking powder
Mix together the dry ingredients listed, and store them in an airtight container. When you are ready to make muffins, follow the next steps. For 12 regular healthy muffins: Measure 2 c. of muffin mix into a large bowl. Add:
1 c. buttermilk
1/3 c. oil (canola, olive, or corn oil
1 large egg
Stir everything together, mixing just until the dry ingredients are moistened. The batter will be a bit lumpy.
Prepare 12 muffin cups with spray or paper liners, and spoon the batter into the muffin cups. Bake these in a preheated 400º oven for about 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
*You can make easy Variations of these delicious muffins. As you add the wet ingredients, include your favorite additions. Raisins, nuts, or chopped dates are great. Try stirring in the zest of a lemon or orange, or add cinnamon or nutmeg to the batter. To add 1 c. chopped apple, reduce the oil to 1/4 cup and proceed with basic recipe. Try a touch of honey on a warm baked muffin.
*This muffin mix can also be used to make a Coffee Cake. Begin with 2 c. of the dry mix, and add 1 c. buttermilk, 1/2 c. oil, and 2 eggs. Mix together thoroughly and pour into a prepared bundt pan. Bake the coffee cake at 350º for 25 - 35 minutes, checking after 25 minutes. Any of the variations you like for the muffins can also be used with the coffee cake.

Instant Oatmeal Packets
¼ c. Quick cooking oats
Pinch of salt
1 T. Creamora dry non-dairy creamer – any flavor(optional)
½ t. Sweetener – sugar, brown sugar (or add honey when you make it)
Flavorings of your choice (Cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla powder – or other powdered flavorings)
Dried fruit if desired (raisins, dates, dried cranberries, apricots, blueberries, chopped dried pineapple, apples or any dried fruit)
Nuts if desired
Sealable sandwich bags
Mix oats, of salt, cream substitute (dry milk tends to mold and could be used if the packets will be consumed in one week) and sweetener. Add your own flavorings, dried fruit or nuts if desired. Pack in individual sealable baggies. Label baggies by flavors.
To Use:
Add 1/4 cup water and microwave for 60 seconds. If you did not add Creamora, ¼ cup of milk can be substituted for water. If you like thicker oatmeal, add 1 T. oatmeal flour to the packets. To make Oatmeal powder, blend oats them in a blender. This can also be made without a microwave. Stir boiling water into your oatmeal and let set a minute or so.

Oatmeal Cookies
1 c. butter or shortening
1 c. white sugar
1 c. brown sugar
2 eggs
1 t. vanilla
2 c. flour
1 t. baking powder
1 t. soda
1 t. salt
1 t. cinnamon
2 c. oats
1 c. raisins or chocolate chips
½ c. chopped nuts (optional)
Cream shortening or butter and sugars. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Combine dry ingredients well and add to creamed mixture. Stir in oats. Stir in the raisins or chips and nuts if desired. Mix well. Bake at 350º for 10 - 12 minutes.

No Bake Cookies
2 c. sugar
½ c. milk
½ c. butter
2-3 T. cocoa
½ t. salt
Mix all together in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add:
3 c. quick oats
1 c. coconut
Nuts if desired.
Drop by spoonfuls on waxed paper to cool.

No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies
2 c. sugar
¼ c. cocoa
1 cube margarine or butter
½ c. milk
3 c. quick oats
½ c. peanut butter
½ t. salt
1 t. vanilla
Combine sugar, cocoa, margarine and milk. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add peanut butter. Stir well. Add oats, salt and vanilla; mix well and drop by teaspoonful onto wax paper. Let set, and then eat.

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