My husband and I were on a serious oatmeal kick that lasted for, oh, a couple years. At first we were going through a box of fancy, pre-packaged organic instant oatmeal every week. But then we had this sudden realization that we could make the packets ourselves and save a whole lot of money -- and reduce package waste. An added bonus was that we could come up with much more interesting flavors than were available at the store. Our homemade oatmeal packets were as convenient as the factory kind, but with more pizzazz, more personality, more flavor. They were not your average grab 'n' go breakfast; they were elevated oats.
The possibilities are nearly infinite and you can use any fruits, sweeteners, spices (or herbs!), powdered milks, nuts, etc. that you can think of. I'll share here one of my favorite combinations -- a zingy, peppery combination that'll remind you of chai tea -- and you can use it as a template for your own creations.
I like to use half-pint mason jars for storing the oats in individual servings -- they're easy to store, transport, prepare in, and reuse. If you find that the preparation method makes the oatmeal too soupy for your taste, cook it in the microwave for 30 seconds to a minute -- just remember to take off the metal lid! —vrunka
Mix all the ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Be sure to break up any lumps in the brown sugar.
Measure the oats out evenly among 10 containers (I recommend half pint mason jars) -- it will be about 1/3 cup per container. Store these in the pantry until ready to use.
To prepare the oats, combine each pack with 2/3 cup boiling water. If you are using half-pint mason jars, fill them almost to the brim. Cover tightly and let sit for 2 minutes. stir and enjoy!
Note: You'll want to chop all your fruits and nuts so that they're minced pretty small. This can be tricky with dried fruits as they tend to be sticky and tough. I usually coat my knife with a little granulated sugar as the knife gets sticky -- this will help it cut through your fruit.