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As our DD is leaving in a few days for her “divorce cruise“, I am trying to get ahead of things in preparation for our grandsons staying with us in lieu of her for “her weekends” and such.

Since I have now added yet another grouping of “letters” to my long list of chronic and debilitating diseases (just found out I have CPPD-or pseudogout in my knees, hence the extreme pain)and morning have been harder than ever to navigate the last few months of no doctor listening to me, I’ve found some bake ahead oatmeals that are formulated for freezing and popping in the microwave for quick service.

The boys still don’t like to eat anything other than instant oatmeal, which I find loathsome, full of needless sugar and miniscule in size to serve to growing boys and DH’s, so these are healthy, easy and provide me with at least a couple of mornings (I double the recipe!) for the 4 of us.

Here’s the one I’ve been using and I’ll add options for different flavors along with it-because as usual, it’s the method more than the ingredients:

2-1/2 C rolled oats (I use my favorite of steel-cut and it works well)
1-1/4 C of mashed banana (I have also tried pumpkin puree, pureed butternut squash too)
a packet of stevia OR 1/4 C maple syrup or honey (I used some Splenda the other day and it was also good)
2/3 C water (add 1/4 C if using the stevia) (I like to use unsweetened almond milk, but feel free to use any type of milk)
2-1/2 tbsp. of oil, nut butter or more of whatever puree you‘re using
1-1/2 tsp pure vanilla or extract of your choice
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 C cocoa powder
Feel like taking it “up a notch“?  Add mini-chocolate or other chips, chopped nuts, chia seeds, raisins, dates, coconut, etc.

Total time:  30 minutes
Depending what you add-this is good for 11-12 muffins

Pre-heat to 380.  Line a muffin pan and spray.  In a large bowl, mix all the dry ingredients.  In another bowl, blend the wet ingredients and then combine bowls.  Pour into prepared liners and bake 21 minutes.  DON‘T OPEN THE OVEN DOOR OR REMOVE!!!  Turn off oven and let them sit for 10 minutes.  Let cool.  The flavors will deepen if you can contain yourself and not eat until the next day.

These will stay in the fridge in a zipped bag for a week or freeze for 2 months.

To further promote young children eating them-drizzle with warmed nut butter with just a tad of warmed honey or syrup.

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