04 January 2008

Domestic Victory!

Thank you to all of you who posted comments and e-mailed me with your thoughts on doing household chores. This may be a subject I'll keep re-visiting with more specific topics; we'll see. It's not too late to add your thoughts; just leave a comment at this post, and I'll be able to read more. In case you've never left comments before, please select the option to register with Google beforehand, as they may end up being lost in cyberspace otherwise. I'm pretty sure registering doesn't open your in box to junk mail traffic; please let me know if there are any of you out there who know or have experienced otherwise.

Well, I was going to begin posting about new year's resolutions, and I may do so in the future, but the topic just doesn't excite me right now. What does have me a little excited is my new bright idea about how to use up leftover oatmeal from breakfast. I know many of my readers are well-experienced in the cooking and baking departments, so this may not be a "new idea" to you, but I'm so proud of it I thought I'd share.

We sometimes like to eat oatmeal for breakfast, especially during the cold weather, and I tend to make more than we all can eat. Without fail, there is usually one or two cups worth of leftover cooked oatmeal after breakfast is over. I always feel guilty throwing it out. Being a one-income family, we try to not waste food whenever possible. Enoch eats lots of leftovers for lunch, and I try to re-use reusable leftovers for re-invented meals.

I was thinking about how to use the leftover oatmeal, and was reminded of my teenage years working at Trout Creek Bible Camp over the summer. (Looking back now, I wish I had volunteered to be the cook's assistant instead of dish and biffy crew because of the loads of cooking experience I would have gained.) The cook who was there that summer (I never knew her real name) used to make a delicious hot breakfast cereal that was some kind of 12-grain combination of who-knows-what. With the leftovers, she would make wonderful whole-grain dinner rolls, and with those leftovers, she would cube and toast up to use for salad croutons! Talk about not wasting! She would also sometimes make cinnamon bread or cinnamon rolls, and with those leftovers she would make a delicious bread pudding for dessert!

So I took a little time to look for bread recipes online that would use cooked oatmeal, but decided it was a waste of time. Then, the idea came to me. Since most of my basic muffin recipes end with the proverbial "stir in a cup of your favorite fruit or nuts," I decided, "why not try a cup of cooked oatmeal?" I finally tried it a few weeks ago for the first time with great success. Today I did it again, and even took a couple of snapshots of the wonderful results.

For those of you who want the nitty-gritty details, here's what I did: I followed the recipe from Joy of Cooking for making "Basic Yogurt, Buttermilk, Or Sour Cream Muffins." (I used yogurt.) Since I had about 3 cups of cooked oatmeal (from two days of oatmeal for breakfast), I was going to triple the recipe. But I only had 5 eggs. So I doubled the recipe, which called for 4 eggs, and then decided to add the 5th one because I had no need for one egg hanging around causing trouble. I stirred all three cups of wet gooey oatmeal into the wet ingredients bowl before mixing the wet into the dried. I also added a generous handful of raisins, since there were already some in the oatmeal, and I wanted there to be enough to go around.

The results were wonderful. It yielded exactly three dozen muffins, which the kids and I enjoyed for breakfast today. Julien ate three (!) and I was showered with compliments. The nice thing is that I know we will have an easy breakfast option available for the next couple of days, and it feels good to have made good use of something that would have otherwise gone to waste. Someday I hope to find a good 12-grain hot cereal recipe that I can then convert into delicious dinner rolls and croutons. In the meantime, I'm celebrating this domestic victory!


  1. Hey Mama!
    I found you at Biblical Womanhood.. I do the same thing but I add it to my bread, left over oatmeal that is. I use a bread maker and drop about 1/2 cup in before I add the flour!

    Great Idea by the way.

  2. Those muffins look great! Thanks for sharing this tip, I will have to try it sometime!

  3. Those sound really good!

  4. Awesome thriftiness, Kid! Oh yeah, hey--I've got a recipe for oatmeal cake, with the chopped nuts and coconut topping, that uses 1 c. quick oats combined with 1 1/4 c. boiling water...same as already cooked oatmeal...Its from the More with Less Cookbook, by Doris Janzen Longacre. Yum-mee!