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Powerball Cookies

By Rachel Tiemeyer
Powerball cookies have been a longtime favorite in my home. Look no further for a great make-ahead, freezer-friendly snack. 
 
No Bake Powerball Cookies on a plate

What’s in these no-bake Powerball Cookies?

With a few simple pantry ingredients, you can whip these up in no time! The beauty of this recipe is the ingredients are somewhat fluid. Add or subtract based on what you like or what you have on hand. Here is what you’ll need:

  • Peanut butter or almond butter
  • Honey
  • Old-fashioned oats
  • Flax seed (Why eat flaxseed?)
  • Dark chocolate chips (or 3/4 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips)
  • 1 cup any combination of these add-ins:
    • chopped nuts (i.e. chopped pecans, sliced almonds, etc.)
    • unsweetened shredded coconut
    • chia seed
    • soft dried fruits (i.e. raisins, dried cranberries, etc)
Powerball cookie ingredients in white bowls

Once you’ve gotten all of your ingredients beautifully placed in nice, neat, white bowls like above … (JUST KIDDING! No one actually does that unless they are a food blogger, right?!)

Anywhoo, once you’ve rounded up all of the ingredients you want in your powerball cookies, you’ll add them all into a big ‘ol mixing bowl.

Tip: I’ve found that if I warm the peanut butter and honey just a tad it makes it easier to stir all of the ingredients together.

Powerball cookie ingredients being mixed together

Watch How Easily Powerball Cookies Come Together…

How do I store Powerball Cookies?

Here’s the fun part. Using wet hands and/or a small ice cream scoop, form small balls and place them on a parchment lined baking sheet.

You’ll freeze them this way so that they hold their form. Once they are frozen, transfer them to an airtight freezer container and store them in the freezer.

Be sure to train the kids to know where they are at. They’ll be asking!

A hand holding a powerball cookie

Make sure to make a double batch too. Not only do these make a great afternoon snack, they can also be a great breakfast!

Closeup of powerball cookies
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Powerball Cookies

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 3035 cookies 1x
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Mix
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Powerball Cookies are a healthy, real-food snack. Careful, it’s hard to stop at just one!


Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-natural peanut butter or almond butter (crunchy peanut butter is really yummy!)
  • 1 cup honey (I often cut this back to 3/4 cup and make up the 1/4 cup with more nut butter)
  • 3 cups old-fashioned oats (quick-cooking works fine)
  • 1/2 cup ground flax seed (Why eat flaxseed?)
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips (or 3/4 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips)
  • 1 cup any combination of these add-ins:
    • chopped nuts (i.e. chopped pecans, sliced almonds, etc)
    • unsweetened shredded coconut
    • chia seeds
    • soft dried fruits (i.e. raisins, dried cranberries, etc)

Instructions

Make It Now:

  1. In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the peanut butter and honey until smooth. (Tip: You may want to warm them in the microwave first to make this step easier.)
  2. Stir in oats and flaxseed.
  3. Add the chocolate chips and your 1 cup of preferred add-ins. Stir until well combined.
  4. Using wet hands or a wet cookie scoop, shape the mixture into 30-35 balls. Use a heaping tablespoon of mixture per cookie.

Freeze For Later: Follow Steps 1-4. Place the rolled cookies on a sheet pan (line with parchment paper for easier clean up). Place in the freezer for an hour or so, until hardened. Place them into a freezer bag or airtight freezer container for up to 3 months. Prepare From Frozen: Either set cookies out on the counter to thaw slightly or warm in the microwave for about 15 seconds.

Hand grabbing a powerball cookie
 

More Healthy Snacks You Might Like:

 

Blueberry Muffin Overnight Oats

By Rachel Tiemeyer

Make-ahead blueberry muffin overnight oats take just minutes to put together and provide a super nutritious and quick breakfast.

Blueberry Muffin Overnight Oats

We are obsessed with overnight oats! That’s why we’ve consistently rolled out recipe after recipe for you, like these flavors so far:

Take a look at all the benefits below, and you’ll see why we make overnight oats every week in our homes.

What are the Benefits of Blueberry Overnight Oats?

Just like our Blueberry Muffin Smoothie Pack, we are obsessed with this easy and healthy make-ahead breakfast idea. Here’s why:

Make-Ahead: You can whip up several of these on the weekend and have breakfast ready to go for the week. They just take minutes to put together.

No Cooking Involved: The oats softened in the liquid as it sits in the refrigerator, which means no cooking is needed. Doesn’t get much easier.

Super Healthy: Breakfast doesn’t get much healthier than this! The combo of fresh or frozen blueberries, oats, milk, and walnuts provide fiber, protein, antioxidants, and valuable minerals. Read more about why walnuts are so good for you here. We use all-natural sweetener in our recipe, like pure maple syrup or honey.

Blueberry muffin overnight oats ingredients

Eat On-the-Go: Whether you have just a few minutes before you leave for the day or need to eat breakfast in the car or at your desk, this breakfast-in-a-jar fits the bill! Eat these blueberry overnight oats cold or warm.

Eat a Muffin in a Jar: This combo of hearty oats, sweet blueberries, real maple syrup, and a dash of cinnamon and vanilla will remind your tastebuds of one of the best muffins on the planet–the Blueberry Muffin! Stir in chopped walnuts to provide even more variety of texture and some added protein. It’s up to you.

How to Make Blueberry Overnight Oats

In just four simple steps, you can throw together your overnight oats and be ready for the week. Here’s how:

How to assemble overnight oats
  1.  Build the Base: In a clean 10 ounce or 12-ounce mason jar, pour in your favorite (unsweetened) milk. Add old-fashioned or rolled oats and your all-natural sweetener of choice (pure maple syrup or honey). 
  2. Add Fruit: Whether it’s fresh or frozen berries (like this recipe), chopped peaches or tropical fruit, or your favorite dried fruit, this ingredient adds more sweetness, flavor, and nutrition. We do recommend adding banana slices fresh rather than ahead of time, but they can work if you don’t mind mushy bananas. 🙂 
  3. Add Toppings: Pour in the remaining add-ins, like walnuts, cinnamon, and vanilla for this version.
  4. Shake and Refrigerate: Seal and shake. Set in the refrigerator for up to 3-5 days. 

Check out our video showing just how simple it is to make blueberry overnight oats…

Do I Eat Blueberry Overnight Oats Warm or Cold?

We hear this question a lot. The best way to serve Blueberry Muffin Overnight Oats is…whatever you like best! Eating them cold or warm works.

Serve Overnight Oats Cold: Shake the jar. Stir in a little extra milk if it’s too thick and more sweetener if you’d like. Grab a spoon and eat your oats cold. This is the perfect solution for those mornings when you’re on the run!

Serve Overnight Oats Warm: This is our preferred way to serve overnight oats. Shake the jar and then remove the lid. Warm the oats in the microwave for about 45 seconds. Stir. Add more milk or sweetener as needed. Warm up even more, if desired.

Blueberry Muffin Overnight Oats

CAN I FREEZE OVERNIGHT OATS?

As cookbook authors and long-time freezer meal evangelists, our professional opinion is that this is one dish that won’t freeze and thaw well. The texture will be adversely affected because of the high-water content in the fruit. If you’d like a freezer-friendly oat recipe, try one of our Baked Oatmeal recipes:

Blueberry Muffin Overnight Oats Recipe

Prep a few of these overnight oats ahead of time and enjoy healthy, hearty breakfasts throughout the week.

Overhead shot of blueberry muffin overnight oats
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Blueberry Muffin Overnight Oats

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 4 hours 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 4 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: 1 1x
  • Category: Breakfast
  • Method: Mix
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This make-ahead blueberry muffin overnight oats recipe takes just minutes to put together and provides a super nutritious and quick breakfast.


Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup milk (your choice), plus more for serving
  • 1/3 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup or honey
  • 1/2 cup frozen or fresh blueberries
  • 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


Instructions

  1. In a clean 10 ounce or 12 ounce mason jar, pour in the milk.
  2. Add old-fashioned or rolled oats and your all-natural sweetener of choice (pure maple syrup or honey).
  3. Pour in the remaining add-ins, which is fresh or frozen blueberries, walnuts, cinnamon, and vanilla for this version.
  4. Screw on the lid tightly and shake. Set in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours and up to 3-5 days.
  5. You can eat it cold or warm. Here’s how to serve it:

Serve Cold: Shake the jar. Stir in a little extra milk if it’s too thick and more sweetener if you’d like. Grab a spoon and eat your oats cold. This is the perfect solution for those mornings when you’re on the run!

Serve Warm: This is our preferred way to serve overnight oats. Shake the jar and then remove the lid. Warm the oats in the microwave for about 45 seconds. Stir. Add more milk or sweetener as needed. Warm up even more, if desired.

Hello Peaches! Make This Pecan Peach Crisp Now.

By Polly Conner

.5Pecan peach crisp dessert. Heaven help me, this fruit bake was delicious. Super easy to make too!

Heaven help me, this was good.

I’m already a sucker for any fruity dessert so add a crispy-pecan crust to the top of fresh-seasonal peaches and I about fall over thinking about it.

I stumbled on this recipe over at Cooking Classy, made a few tweaks along the way, and now have a peach crisp recipe I will use for the rest of my life. Pecan peach crisp dessert. Heaven help me, this fruit bake was delicious. Super easy to make too!

(I don’t have big feelings at all, do I?)

Lets get cooking, shall we?

What puts this recipe over the top is using in-season peaches. In fact, I used less sugar because I seriously had just picked these ripe peaches off of our peach tree. Chop up about 4-5 peaches and give them a stir in some sugar, flour, and lemon juice. Spread them out in a 9×13 baking dish.

Look at them showing off and being all pretty in there.

Pecan peach crisp dessert. Heaven help me, this fruit bake was delicious. Super easy to make too!

The crumble topping is really simple.

Combine flour, oats, brown sugar, a few seasonings, butter, and pecans. Spread them out over the peaches evenly and then pop it all in the oven.

Wait patiently as pure greatness is being created in your oven.

Voila…

Pecan peach crisp dessert. Heaven help me, this fruit bake was delicious. Super easy to make too!

Give it time to cool a bit before eating.
Pecan peach crisp dessert. Heaven help me, this fruit bake was delicious. Super easy to make too!

Scoop some in a bowl and top with either ice cream or whipped cream. (Thank you Alex, for being my ice cream scooping hand model.)

Pecan peach crisp dessert. Heaven help me, this fruit bake was delicious. Super easy to make too!

This dish makes quite a lot so it’s a great one to use for a group.

Pecan peach crisp dessert. Heaven help me, this fruit bake was delicious. Super easy to make too!

Side note: Some people like to remove the skin from peaches for dishes like this but I don’t mind them being in there. They also add a tad more nutrition (because that is totally what you’re concerned about when making a peach crisp, right?)

Pecan peach crisp dessert. Heaven help me, this fruit bake was delicious. Super easy to make too!

Pecan peach crisp dessert. Heaven help me, this fruit bake was delicious. Super easy to make too!

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Pecan Peach Crisp

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This pecan peach crisp dessert is delicious. The key to incredible flavor is to use peaches at their peak of freshness.


Ingredients

  • Peach Filling
  • 45 peaches, cored and diced into wedges
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/8 cup sugar (up this to 1/4 cup if your peaches aren’t ripe)
  • 1.5 tablespoons whole wheat flour
  • Topping
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat
  • 3/4 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 10 tablespoons butter, cold and diced into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

Instructions

  1. Toss peaches with lemon juice, sugar, and flour until well coated.
  2. For the topping, combine flour, oats, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and brown sugar.
  3. Using either a pastry cutter or your hands, cut in the butter until everything is crumbly.
  4. Stir in pecans.
  5. Bake at 350 for about 40 minutes.
  6. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream!

Dark Chocolate Banana Baked Oatmeal (with Sneaky Spinach) {Freezer Meal}

By Rachel Tiemeyer
This dark chocolate banana baked oatmeal is sure to be a crowd pleaser! With fresh ingredients and a rich, chocolatey taste, this dish pairs perfectly with fresh fruit. You won't even be able to taste the sneaky spinach!

You caught us. Yes, it’s slightly ridiculous how much we eat oatmeal around here, whether it’s Homemade Instant Oatmeal Packs or another baked oatmeal recipe from our breakfast recipe index. We love them all!

But, I know, I know. You’re thinking, “Rachel’s gone off the deep end on this one. Spinach in your oatmeal?” Look, my baked oatmeal philosophy is similar to my smoothie philosophy: what they don’t see, they won’t taste. It’s true. You really cannot see or taste the spinach after using the blender to puree the wet ingredients. This warm bowl of comfort is just pure dark chocolaty goodness…filled with lots of fiber, vitamins, and minerals!

This warm bowl of comfort is just pure dark chocolatey oatmeal goodness...filled with lots of fiber, vitamins, and minerals!

Chock this recipe up to just one more genius way to sneak more fruits and vegetables into a kid favorite (check out 50 more ways here)!

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Dark Chocolate Banana Baked Oatmeal (with Sneaky Spinach)

Dark Chocolate Banana Baked Oatmeal (with Sneaky Spinach)

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x
  • Category: Breakfast
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This warm bowl of comfort is just pure dark chocolaty oatmeal goodness…filled with lots of fiber, vitamins, and minerals!


Ingredients

  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup dark cocoa powder (or regular cocoa powder)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil (or butter)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup honey or maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla
  • 1 large or 2 small bananas

Optional: 2 cups fresh spinach, loosely packed


Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9×9 baking pan with coconut oil or baking spray.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients (from oats through salt).
  3. In a blender, layer the wet ingredients in order (from milk to spinach). Blend until very smooth.
  4. Pour wet ingredients into bowl with dry ingredients and stir until combined. Pour batter into a baking pan and bake for 20 minutes or until set in the middle.
  5. Serve warm with milk and fresh sliced fruit on top.

Notes

Freezer Meal Instructions:

To Freeze:
Make the batter and pour into baking pan, but do not bake. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and/or foil and freeze for up to 3 months in back of freezer.

To Prepare:
Let baked oatmeal thaw in refrigerator for 24 hours or defrost in the microwave using the defrost setting. Bake according to directions. Cook time will increase if baked oatmeal is still cold or partially frozen. Cover with foil if top begins to brown too much.

Baked Chocolate Steel Cut Oatmeal {Freezer Meal}

By Rachel Tiemeyer

Baked Chocolate Steel Cut Oatmeal: A super health, easy, freezable breakfast.

After our first indulgent Thanksgiving feast (my first one to host in 37 years!) at our house and then a second indulgent feast with more family plus leftovers for every meal, we needed this recipe this morning. I call it my post-holiday breakfast cleanse. Ha! Are you with me?

We’ve been making baked oatmeal around my house for years. My kids down it like ice cream and I get to sneak in all kinds of nutrition. It’s a well-rounded meal in one pan–whole grains, protein, calcium, and vegetables or fruit. Our favorites (using old-fashioned rolled oats) include Brownie Baked Oatmeal, Peanut Butter and Banana Oatmeal, and Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal.

Baked Chocolate Steel Cut Oatmeal: A super health, easy, freezable breakfast.

But…I’ve had quite a few people ask me over the years if these recipes can also be made with steel cut oats. The short answer is no. At least, you can’t just sub it one-for-one with rolled oats. The longer answer is yes! You can make a baked oatmeal with steel cut oats.  However, it requires more liquid, an overnight soak in the fridge, and a longer baking time. But, rest assured, it’s not hard to put together.

Now for the good news!  I recently developed this easy, super healthy Baked Chocolate Steel Cut Oatmeal recipe that is a delicious start to your or your kids’ day. You won’t believe what goodness lies within the chocolatey sweet walls of this make-ahead baked oatmeal recipe, including even some (gasp!) spinach. (With the help of a high-powered blender, you can sneak just about anything into this breakfast of champions.) Make it the night before, stick it in the fridge, and pop it in the oven in the morning.

But, let’s back up for a moment to ask a few important questions.

Baked Chocolate Steel Cut Oatmeal: A super health, easy, freezable breakfast.

What are steel cut oats? Why are they healthier than old-fashioned or quick oats?

Oatmeal is one of the healthier breakfast items you can eat, offering up B vitamins, Vitamin E, protein, iron, calcium, and potassium. But there are differences in nutrition when comparing steel-cut oats to other varieties.

All oatmeal starts as whole groat oats, which are then processed to varying degrees. Steel cut oats are whole groat oats that have been cut up, but not steamed or rolled like thick-rolled or instant oats. Since steel cut oats do not go through as much processing as their counterparts, they are more intact and have less surface area, which slows digestion. This causes the stomach to work longer to break down steel-cut oats.

The glycemic index, a measurement of the rise in blood sugar, is only 42 for steel-cut oats compared with 66 for instant oatmeal. Steel-cut oats also have more protein and calcium and twice the amount of fiber than old-fashioned and instant oats do. (source)

What makes this Baked Chocolate Steel Cut Oatmeal super healthy?

Well, you already know how great steel cut oats are for you. But now, let’s take a look at all the other nutrition packed into my Baked Steel Cut Oatmeal:

Flaxseed: Read “Why eat flaxseed?“.

Almond Meal: Along with ground flaxseed, almond meal (aka almond flour or ground almonds) is one of those health food staples I always have on hand to throw in recipes like this. With the same nutritional benefits as almonds, you’re looking at adding additional protein, Vitamin E (a powerful antioxidant that serves to protect cells against damaging free radicals and support immune function), plus the B Vitamins, folate and niacin. (source)

Fruits and Vegetables: I included an entire apple, banana, pumpkin puree, and spinach in the Baked Steel Cut Oatmeal. I can guarantee your kids will never know. The secret is using your blender to blend it seamlessly into the wet ingredients. This produce will add fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. As your family gets used to it, you can always play around with adding more pumpkin puree or spinach to the mixture. Or, if you prefer more texture, you can leave the apples in small chunks within the batter.

Cocoa Powder: This provides a chocolate flavor without all the added sugar and fat of chocolate itself. It’s also naturally full of antioxidants, fiber, iron, and magnesium. Look for “raw cacao” in the health food section to get the most benefit, but unsweetened baking cocoa will also add some nutrition. (source)

Cinnamon: This spice has been shown to be a natural anti-inflammatory food, plus it provides many more benefits. I always kick up the amount in recipes like this, so feel free to add more if you like the taste.

All-Natural Sweeteners: By now, we’ve probably all heard that sugar is our greatest enemy as Americans. It’s in everything and causes inflammation that can lead to obesity, heart disease, cancer, etc. (source) By using honey and fruit in this recipe, the steel cut oatmeal is naturally sweetened with “real food” ingredients that also provide nutrition and fiber that help slow the digestion of the sugar. You can always cut back on the honey in this recipe to cut out more sugar and/or you can replace some of it with liquid stevia–a safe yet potent alternative sweetener. When serving, the fresh fruit on top provides even more sweetness. You can also add coconut sugar (what is it and why is it better?) or more honey, if needed.

Can I make Baked Chocolate Steel Cut Oatmeal ahead of time and freeze it?

Absolutely! Baked Oatmeal is one of my go-to make-ahead freezer meals. In fact, I put my kids in charge of making it on Sunday nights sometimes, so that we can enjoy it at some point during the week. (Yes, it’s that easy!) Either store it uncooked in the fridge for up to 3 days or just wrap it tightly in foil and plastic wrap before putting in the freezer. Then, make sure to thaw it most of the way in the fridge for 24-48 hours before baking. Keep in mind that you may have to increase your bake time if it’s still really cold in the center.

What if I don’t have a high-powered blender? Can I still make this recipe?

Yep. You’ll just need to make a few adjustments. I would suggest chopping the apples and spinach up pretty finely before adding to the blender. It’s also a good idea to blend up just the liquid part first and then add the fruit/veggies. Start your blender on low, pushing the ingredients down with a wooden spoon if needed. Slowly increase the speed until the ingredients are smooth.

Baked Chocolate Steel Cut Oatmeal: A super health, easy, freezable breakfast.

As I always say, save yourself time in the future and double this recipe now and freeze it. You never know when you’ll need a “breakfast cleanse” during the holiday season. 🙂

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Baked Chocolate Steel Cut Oatmeal: A super health, easy, freezable breakfast.

Super Healthy Chocolate Baked Steel Cut Oats

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 50 mins
  • Yield: 8 1x
  • Category: Freezer Meal
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This easy super healthy Baked Chocolate Steel Cut Oatmeal includes whole grains, vegetables, fruit, protein and calcium. It’s a delicious, wholesome way to start your day!


Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cup steel cut oats
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1/4 cup ground almonds (aka almond meal)
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 cups milk (I used plain almond milk)
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 banana
  • 1 apple, cut into chunks
  • 1 cup spinach
  • Optional for serving: fresh berries, milk, banana slices, almond slices

Instructions

  1. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl, stirring well.
  2. Place all wet ingredients in a high-powered blender. Blend until completely smooth and spinach isn’t visible.
  3. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and combine well. Pour mixture into a greased 9×13 pan.
  4. Cover and sit in refrigerator overnight. (This step is important, as it softens the oats.)
  5. Set baked oatmeal on counter while oven preheats to take the chill off. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until it doesn’t move when you shake it. (Note: It will still be creamy inside but the top will be completely set.)
  6. Serve warm with milk and fresh fruit on top. Add more sweetener if desired.

Notes

Freezer Meal Instructions:

To Freeze:
Prepare through Step 3. Wrap tightly in foil and plastic wrap and freeze.

To Prepare:
Thaw in the refrigerator for 24-48 hours. Bake as directed, adding extra time if needed, until center is set.

Homemade Instant Oatmeal Packets (Personalized for Everyone!)

By Rachel Tiemeyer

Make these homemade instant oatmeal packs ahead of time to enjoy a healthy and quick breakfast. Perfect for busy school mornings!

My mom called me one day. “Rachel, I have this great idea for me and your family, and I think you could blog about it!”

Friends, it’s time to confess. This blog really is a family affair. Here’s the break-down in case you’re interested:

Husband = taste-tester, listener, encourager, editor, listener (oh, did I already mention that?)

Kids = taste-testers, posers for my pictures, budding recipe developers

      My Dad = photographer (check out this post and this one to see a bit of his work) and business    card designer/maker

      My Mom = My #1 fan.

You see, my mom listens to my business plans, is always brainstorming for the blog, has recently started helping us manage our Pinterest accounts, tests my recipes and tells all family and friends about Thriving Home (blush). She does all this for free…because she’s my #1 fan. Can you believe that?

I digress. My point is that today’s recipe idea was inspired by mom. And, it’s a darn good one. In fact, we’ve made approximately 50+ bowls of these Homemade Instant Oatmeal Packs just since we initially did this project about a month ago. They are awesomely, deliciously healthy.

Make these homemade instant oatmeal packs ahead of time to enjoy a healthy and quick breakfast. Perfect for busy school mornings!

The concept is simple really. Make ziplock baggies with portioned out instant oatmeal, full of all the good and healthy flavors and textures add-ins that YOU like.

See all those nutritious options that we collected from our cabinets and the store above? You’ll notice you WON’T find some of the ingredients that are in Quaker Oats Instant Oatmeal Packets, like these:

NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR, SALT, CALCIUM CARBONATE, GUAR GUM, CARAMEL COLOR, DEHYDRATED APPLES (TREATED WITH SODIUM SULFITE TO PROMOTE COLOR RETENTION), PARTIALLY HYDROGENATED SOYBEAN AND/OR COTTONSEED OIL**, MALTODEXTRIN, CONFECTIONER’S GLAZE, MAGNESIUM STEARATE, MODIFIED CORN STARCH, SOY LECITHIN, RED 40 LAKE, YELLOW 6 LAKE, YELLOW 5 LAKE, ARTIFICIAL COLOR, BLUE 1 LAKE, BLEACHED BEESWAX, CARNAUBA WAX, NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR

These Homemade Instant Oatmeal Packs contain all real, recognizable ingredients. But, believe me, your kids won’t mind, if they’re used to the store-bought stuff. Especially, if you give them ownership in the project…

Make these homemade instant oatmeal packs ahead of time to enjoy a healthy and quick breakfast. Perfect for busy school mornings!

Here’s how we did this with the kids. We set everything out in an assembly line. I portioned out the base recipe (oats, dried milk, sugar, etc) in each baggie for the little people, but then they decided on their add-ins. Each of us took turns building our personalized Homemade Instant Oatmeal Packs.

Make these homemade instant oatmeal packs ahead of time to enjoy a healthy and quick breakfast. Perfect for busy school mornings!

My children are kind of into writing recipes. I have no idea why.

Make these homemade instant oatmeal packs ahead of time to enjoy a healthy and quick breakfast. Perfect for busy school mornings!

And here’s my daughter doing her job as poser. All in all, we took home about 40 packs of individualized instant oatmeal. A fine day’s work. (Actually, it only took about 15 minutes.)

Make these homemade instant oatmeal packs ahead of time to enjoy a healthy and quick breakfast. Perfect for busy school mornings!

And, then we promptly ate every last pack within just a few days. So we reloaded again and will continue to reload every few weeks.

The best part of this easy-peasy recipe is that we all eat a fiber-and-protein-rich breakfast that’s prepared in minutes. My oldest son can even turn on the tea kettle and prepare his own and his siblings’ bowls. No moms required!

Moms of moms have the best ideas, don’t they?

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Homemade Instant Oatmeal Packets

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 3 minutes
  • Total Time: 13 minutes
  • Yield: 1 instant oatmeal pack 1x
  • Category: Breakfast
  • Method: Microwave
  • Cuisine: American

Description

These thrifty and healthy versions of oatmeal packets are a lifesaver! They’re easy to assemble and completely adaptable to what varieties your family prefers.


Ingredients

Base Recipe:

  • 1/3 cup instant oats
  • 1 teaspoon unrefined sugar
  • 1 tablespoon organic dried milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground chia seeds (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground flaxseed (optional)

Add-In Options:

  • cinnamon
  • cocoa powder
  • mini chocolate chips
  • dried fruit, chopped into bite-sized pieces (i.e. raisins, craisins, goji berries, dried bananas, apples, blueberries, apricots, mangoes, papaya)
  • nuts (walnuts, sliced almonds, peanuts, etc)
  • seeds (sunflower, pumpkin, etc)
  • shredded coconut

Instructions

To make bags:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a Ziploc bag, seal well, and store in pantry for up to 3-4 weeks.

To prepare oatmeal:

  1. Dump ingredients into a bowl. Pour about 1/2 cup boiling water over the top. Stir and then keep adding water until desired thickness. Add fresh, sliced fruit, if desired.

Peanut Butter and Banana Baked Oatmeal {Freezer Meal}

By Rachel Tiemeyer

  Delicious and healthy! Make this baked oatmeal ahead of time for a warm and comforting breakfast the whole family will love. Double and freeze an extra one for later, too. #freezermeal #realfood

After discovering how life-changing (well, close) Brownie Baked Oatmeal can be, I knew I had to try other forms of this make ahead oatmeal breakfast. Peanut Butter and Banana Baked Oatmeal did not disappoint.

The first time I made this, I prepared it the night before, popped it in the oven at 5:50 a.m. in the morning. And, by 1 p.m. it was gone. Yes, we had it for breakfast and lunch! It’s like dessert, except healthier. It’s full of protein-rich, fiber-rich ingredients that will keep you full all morning long. Peanut Butter and Banana Baked Oatmeal has been in the regular breakfast line-up for years.Delicious and healthy! Make this baked oatmeal ahead of time for a warm and comforting breakfast the whole family will love. Double and freeze an extra one for later, too. #freezermeal #realfood

Little people go crazy over this stuff. I mean it. Make a lot! I serve it with a little milk over the top.

One of my favorite parts of a simple recipe like this is that you can make two at one time and freeze it for later. As you probably know, Freezer Meals are our passion and specialty around here. So, I included Freezer Meal directions at the bottom of the recipe.

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Delicious and healthy! Make this baked oatmeal ahead of time for a warm and comforting breakfast the whole family will love. Double and freeze an extra one for later, too. #freezermeal #realfood

Peanut Butter and Banana Baked Oatmeal {Freezer Meal}

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 6-8 1x
  • Category: Breakfast
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Delicious and healthy! Make this baked oatmeal ahead of time for a warm and comforting breakfast the whole family will love. Double and freeze an extra one for later, too.


Ingredients

  • 3 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed (Why eat flaxseed?)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/31/2 cup honey (I prefer raw honey)
  • 1 cup milk (any kind will do)
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter or almond butter, melted or softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3 ripe bananas, smashed
  • 1/31/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F degrees. Grease a 9×13 inch baking dish.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the oats, flax, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the honey, milk, peanut butter, eggs, vanilla and bananas. (Tip: I find it’s much easier to throw all of the wet ingredients into the blender instead.)
  4. Stir wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until combined. Add the chocolate chips and mix well.
  5. Spread into the dish. Bake at 350°F until firm around the corners and still a little soft in the middle, about 20-25 minutes. If you like it a little crunchy on top, cook for a few minutes longer.
  6. Serve warm in bowls with milk poured over the top. We also like fresh berries on top. Enjoy!

Notes

Freezer Meal Instructions:

To Freeze: Prepare according to directions but freeze the baked oatmeal before baking. Wrap tightly in a few layers of plastic wrap and one layer of foil. Place in the back of the freezer for up to 3 months.

To Prepare: When ready to eat, thaw in the fridge for 24 hours and bake according to directions. You can also defrost in the microwave and bake.

Coconutty Granola with Dried Fruit

By Rachel Tiemeyer


This granola recipe is packed full of oats, unsweetened coconut, nuts, dried fruit, honey or maple syrup, with a hint of cinnamon. It is also free of any oil!

If you’ve been around here for a while, you know that Polly already has a Homemade Granola recipe that she claims is the best. Now, I haven’t personally made it yet, but I’m going to claim that Mark Bittman’s granola recipe–what I’m dubbing Coconutty Granola with Dried Fruit–will easily rival hers. I found it in his incredible cookbook called How to Cook Everything: The Basics. I have been cooking for years, but I’ve learned so much from this quick read, including that I’ve been hard-boiling my eggs the wrong way! No wonder I always had a hard time removing the shell. Highly recommend you pick it up at the library. I digress.

This granola recipe is packed full of oats, unsweetened coconut, nuts, dried fruit, honey or maple syrup, with a hint of cinnamon. It is also free of any oil!

This particular granola recipe is packed full of oats, unsweetened coconut, nuts, dried fruit, honey or maple syrup, with a hint of cinnamon. And, a little calorie-saver: it includes NO oil at all. With a splash of milk over it, Coconutty Granola with Dried Fruit tastes like comfort in a bowl. It beats out any dry cereal in your pantry hands down for taste, cost efficiency, and healthy ingredients.

This granola recipe is packed full of oats, unsweetened coconut, nuts, dried fruit, honey or maple syrup, with a hint of cinnamon. It is also free of any oil!

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Coconutty Granola with Dried Fruit

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 8 cups 1x
  • Category: Snack
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Hints of coconut and cinnamon make this delicious homemade cereal a sure hit for the whole family!


Ingredients

  • 6 cups rolled oats
  • 2 cups nuts, chopped
  • 1 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • a pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup honey or maple syrup (I used a blend of both)
  • 1 cup raisins or other dried fruit

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine the oats, nuts, coconut, cinnamon, and salt. Drizzle the honey or maple syrup over the dry ingredients and stir until it coats everything.
  3. Spread the mixture on a baking sheet with sides. Bake for 30-35 minutes, stirring the granola a few times so it browns evenly.
  4. Remove from the oven when golden brown and add the raisins.
  5. Let cool in the pan on a cooling rack. Continue to stir once or twice, as the pan will still be hot.
  6. Once the granola is cool, store in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 2 months.

Blueberry Oat Bars {Freezer Meal}

By Polly Conner

These blueberry oat bars have a buttery shortbread that cuts easily for sharing. On top of the shortbread is a sweet, but not too sweet, blueberry filling topped with an oats crumble topping.

After making a batch of these Blueberry Oat Bars for some friends and family over the Fourth of July, my family declared that this recipe is “blogworthy.” So while Rachel was busy putting together a post about Seven Healthy Berry Recipes, I felt the need to compensate with a not-so-healthy, eat-in-moderation, worth-every-calorie berry recipe.

These blueberry oat bars have a buttery shortbread that cuts easily for sharing. On top of the shortbread is a sweet, but not too sweet, blueberry filling topped with an oats crumble topping.

I got this Blueberry Oat Bar recipe from Tracy’s Culinary Adventures and pinned it knowing I would for sure use it in the future. Well, I was right. After blueberry picking with my kiddos, we had an abundance of berries to use up and this recipe was the first one I tried.

I loved the simplicity of these bars. They have a buttery shortbread that cuts easily for sharing or even freezing. On top of the shortbread is a sweet, but not too sweet, blueberry filling topped with an oaty crumble topping.

These blueberry oat bars have a buttery shortbread that cuts easily for sharing. On top of the shortbread is a sweet, but not too sweet, blueberry filling topped with an oats crumble topping.

I also liked that they were easily portable and a great dessert to take to a gathering of friends.

Want to make a batch?

Blueberry Oat Bars

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, divided
  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup blueberry preserves (I used jam and it worked fine)
  • 3/4 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Instructions

First step is to recruit a two-year old helper.

These blueberry oat bars have a buttery shortbread that cuts easily for sharing. On top of the shortbread is a sweet, but not too sweet, blueberry filling topped with an oats crumble topping.

(Just kidding)

Preheat oven to 375 F. Line a 13×9 baking pan with foil, leaving an overhang on opposite sides to use as “handles” to lift the bars out afterward. Spray the foil with nonstick cooking spray.

Add the flour, sugar, and salt to the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix briefly on low speed to combine.

Cut the butter into small, 1/2-inch pieces and then, with the mixer on low, add 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) of the butter, one piece at a time. When you’ve finished adding the butter, continue mixing on low speed until the butter has been broken down into small pieces and the mixture resembles wet sand (shouldn’t take much longer than a minute or two).

Transfer 1 1/4 cups of this crust mixture to another bowl and set aside.

Dump the remaining crust mixture into the prepared pan and press into an even layer over the bottom of the pan. (This could be a good job for a kiddo).

Bake for about 15 minutes, or until the edges of the crust turn golden brown and it is set.

These blueberry oat bars have a buttery shortbread that cuts easily for sharing. On top of the shortbread is a sweet, but not too sweet, blueberry filling topped with an oats crumble topping.

Meanwhile, make the streusel topping:

Add the oats and brown sugar to the bowl with the reserved crust mixture. Stir to combine. Add the remaining two tablespoons of butter to the bowl and use your fingers (or a pastry cutter) to work the butter into the dry ingredients until combined.

These blueberry oat bars have a buttery shortbread that cuts easily for sharing. On top of the shortbread is a sweet, but not too sweet, blueberry filling topped with an oats crumble topping.

Make the filling by combining the blueberry preserves (or jam :), fresh blueberries and lemon juice in a bowl. Mash the blueberries – you want to break them down some, but still leave some chunks resembling berries.

These blueberry oat bars have a buttery shortbread that cuts easily for sharing. On top of the shortbread is a sweet, but not too sweet, blueberry filling topped with an oats crumble topping.

When you remove the crust from the oven, add the filling directly on top of the hot crust. Spread in an even layer.

These blueberry oat bars have a buttery shortbread that cuts easily for sharing. On top of the shortbread is a sweet, but not too sweet, blueberry filling topped with an oats crumble topping.

Sprinkle the streusel topping over the filling. I grabbed a handful and kind of  “tickled it” on top of the filling. Don’t press the streusel into the filling!

These blueberry oat bars have a buttery shortbread that cuts easily for sharing. On top of the shortbread is a sweet, but not too sweet, blueberry filling topped with an oats crumble topping.

Bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until the filling is bubbling and the streusel has browned.

Remove the pan and let the bars cool to room temperature, about 1-2 hours. Use the foil handles to lift the bars from the pan and cut into squares for serving. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

After cutting mine up, I moved some to a freezer bag and have them stored for future use. They freeze great and could be a great treat to take to a new mom or someone who needs a meal.

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Blueberry Oat Bars

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 40 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 16 bars 1x
  • Category: Snack
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

These blueberry oat bars have a buttery shortbread that cuts easily for sharing. On top of the shortbread is a sweet, but not too sweet, blueberry filling topped with an oats crumble topping.


Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, divided
  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup blueberry preserves (I used jam and it worked fine)
  • 3/4 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Line a 13×9 baking pan with foil, leaving an overhang on opposite sides to use as “handles” to lift the bars out afterward. Spray the foil with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Add the flour, sugar, and salt to the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix briefly on low speed to combine.
  3. Cut the butter into small, 1/2-inch pieces and then, with the mixer on low, add 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) of the butter, one piece at a time. When you’ve finished adding the butter, continue mixing on low speed until the butter has been broken down into small pieces and the mixture resembles wet sand (shouldn’t take much longer than a minute or two).
  4. Transfer 1 1/4 cups of this crust mixture to another bowl and set aside.
  5. Dump the remaining crust mixture into the prepared pan and press into an even layer over the bottom of the pan. (This could be a good job for a kiddo to help with).
  6. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until the edges of the crust turn golden brown and it is set.
  7. For the Streusel Topping:
  8. Add the oats and brown sugar to the bowl with the reserved crust mixture. Stir to combine. Add the remaining two tablespoons of butter to the bowl and use your fingers (or a pastry cutter) to work the butter into the dry ingredients until combined.
  9. Make the filling by combining the blueberry preserves (or jam :), fresh blueberries and lemon juice in a bowl. Mash the blueberries – you want to break them down some, but still leave some chunks resembling berries.
  10. When you remove the crust from the oven, add the filling directly on top of the hot crust. Spread in an even layer.
  11. Sprinkle the streusel topping over the filling. I grabbed a handful and kind of “tickled it” on top of the filling. Don’t press the streusel into the filling!
  12. Bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until the filling is bubbling and the streusel has browned.
  13. Remove the pan and let the bars cool to room temperature, about 1-2 hours. Use the foil handles to lift the bars from the pan and cut into squares for serving. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Notes

Freezer Meal Instructions:

To Freeze:
Bake bars according to recipe directions. Let cool completely. Once cool, cut bars apart. Store in freezer safe bag or container for up to 3 months.
To Prepare:
Remove desired number of bars. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator or warm in the microwave.

Summer Peach Smoothie

By Polly Conner

This peaches ‘n almond cream-style shake is packed with healthy ingredients and anti-inflammatory properties. Try this as a delicious start to your summer morning.

Instead of making pie of those leftover peaches—the ones so soft and ripe they make your kitchen smell like an orchard as they go about collapsing under their own weight—try this spiced late-summer smoothie instead.

The flax seeds add a toasty, nutty background—and vegetarian omega-3s—to this peaches ‘n almond cream-style shake. Rolled oats bring on the fiber and protein, while turmeric and ginger lend pie-spice flavor along with fantastic anti-inflammatory properties. I try to avoid sweetened almond butter and almond milk at the grocery store; they’re both packed with surprising amounts of sugar. A super-ripe peach and banana should be all the natural sweetness you need; and if not, a little teaspoon of honey or maple syrup goes a long way.

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Summer Peach Smoothie

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 as a meal; 2 as a snack 1x
  • Category: Smoothie
  • Method: Blend
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This peaches ‘n almond cream-style shake is packed with healthy ingredients and anti-inflammatory properties. Try this as a delicious start to your summer morning.


Ingredients

  • 1 very ripe fresh peach, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 small very ripe banana, sliced and frozen
  • 1 heaping tablespoon natural almond butter
  • ¼ cup rolled oats
  • 1 tablespoon roasted whole flax seeds (if you aren’t used to the flavor, I recommend starting with half)
  • tiny pinch of sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric, optional
  • ½-inch chunk of fresh peeled ginger, optional
  • 1 cup plain unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon raw honey, or to taste
  • 2 ice cubes

Instructions

  1. Add everything except the honey to your blender and puree on high for a full minute or two.
  2. Now have a little taste. Does it need that teaspoon or so of honey, or is it sweet enough? How about a bit more cinnamon? Do you want more liquid? Adjust to taste and texture, then blend on high again until you’re satisfied.
  3. Pour into a glass and enjoy immediately.

Homemade Granola Recipe

By Polly Conner

This granola recipe is a household favorite! It's simple, easy, and versatile. Plus, you have lots of health benefits from the oats.

For the past few months, my husband has kindly reminded me that I haven’t made my granola recipe in a while. I had good intentions to make it but just added it to the very long to-do list and it never made it to the top. As time went on, his reminders became more and more frequent and I figured, “Heck, if my bacon-loving, extra-cheese-please husband is ASKING for a healthy snack made with whole grain oats, I shouldn’t delay on having that available.

The more I learn about oats, the more I want to find ways to squeeze them into the food I make for my family. They are crazy good for you! Here are just some of the health benefits of oats:

This granola recipe is a household favorite! It's simple, easy, and versatile. Plus, you have lots of health benefits from the oats.

  • They are a storehouse of essential vitamins such as thiamin, folic acid, biotin and minerals such as zinc, selenium, copper, iron, manganese and magnesium.
  • New research suggests that children between ages 2-18 years old who have a constant intake of oatmeal lowered their risk of obesity. The research found that the children who ate oatmeal were 50% less likely to become overweight, when compared to those children that did not eat it.
  • Oats contain hundreds of phytochemicals (plant chemicals) which are thought to reduce a person’s risk of getting cancer.
  • A daily serving of whole oats rich in soluble fibre can reduce hypertension, or high blood pressure, and so reduce the need for anti-hypertensive medication.
  • Oats help keep you regular. Enough said.
  • The soluble fiber in oatmeal slows down your digestive process. The result is that you’ll feel full longer, i.e. oatmeal can help you control your weight.
  • New research suggests that eating oatmeal may reduce the risk for type 2 diabetes. In fact, the American Diabetes Association already recommends that people with diabetes eat grains like oats. The soluble fiber in these foods help to control blood glucose levels.

(Source One, Source Two)

This granola recipe is a household favorite! It's simple, easy, and versatile. Plus, you have lots of health benefits from the oats.

This granola recipe is a household favorite! It’s simple, easy, and versatile. My husband and I like it plain and simple but you can add ingredients to it if you want (raisins, almonds, etc.). We add it to our cereal, yogurt and other breakfast foods.  I also find it satisfactory for that 3 p.m. snack craving I get every day. I always double the batch when making it – this stuff goes fast in our house!

Another great thing about the granola recipe is that is makes a great gift. Put some in a mason jar and give it to the bride-to-be on her wedding day, the new mom, the new neighbors, or anyone else you may come across who needs a little yummy snack in their life.This granola recipe is a household favorite! It's simple, easy, and versatile. Plus, you have lots of health benefits from the oats.

To make giving this recipe away even easier, I’ve created a printable recipe card that you can attach to your granola. Here is what it looks like: Homemade granola printable

Trust me, people will want the recipe! Download your free recipe card HERE.

If you poke around our recipe index a bit, you’ll find lots of other recipes with oats. Here are a few more you might be interested in:

Brownie Baked Oatmeal

Oatmeal Pancake Mix

Baked Oatmeal

Powerball Cookies

Homemade Clif Kid ZBars

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Homemade Granola

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: 3 cups 1x
  • Category: Snack
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Homemade granola is a flavorful and delicious snack that’s easy to make. Your family will dig right in.


Ingredients

  • 3 cups of oats (old fashioned- not quick oats)
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup PURE maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup oil (preferably canola)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together oats, flour and salt.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine syrup, oil and vanilla.
  4. Pour mixture over oats and stir until well coated.
  5. Spread oats out on greased baking sheet.
  6. Bake 25 minutes then give your granola a stir. (add raisins or other ingredients at this point)
  7. Bake another 25 minutes.
  8. Store in air tight container in refrigerator.