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Making oatmeal fun

Add raspberries to make your morning oatmeal a sweet treat.
Add raspberries to make your morning oatmeal a sweet treat.puravida@morguefile.com

January, that month of bitter winds, piles of snow and sheets of ice is also the month in which American's purchase the most oatmeal. With its warm temperature, hearty texture and ability to take on any flavor we'd care to stir into it, oatmeal is the perfect January breakfast.

As inexpensive as a container of quick-cook oats is, you can have a different breakfast every time with just a few adjustments.

Cereal: Cook the oatmeal as directed on the box and then stir in one or two of your favorites: maple syrup, strawberries, blueberries, peaches, cream, brown sugar, raisins, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, applesauce, jam, nuts, or honey.

Baked Oatmeal: this is more of a cakey version of regular oatmeal. You can eat it as a cake or put a piece in your bowl and pour warm milk on it.

* 3 cups rolled oats
* 1 cup brown sugar
* 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
* 2 teaspoons baking powder
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1 cup milk
* 2 eggs
* 1/2 cup melted butter
* 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
* 3/4 cup dried cranberries

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2. In a large bowl, mix together oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt. Beat in milk, eggs, melted butter, and vanilla extract. Stir in dried cranberries. Spread into a 9x13 inch baking dish.
3. Bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes.

Gifts: With Valentine's day rapidly approaching, you can make a jar with all the ingredients to make oatmeal cookies to your children's teachers or other friends in need of a lift. In a clear canning jar layer:

1 cup white sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 cups quick cooking oats

Cover with a piece of fabric and a ring. Attach a gift tags with the instructions to: Add contents of jar plus, 1 cup butter, softened, 2 eggs, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Mix well. Drop by spoonfuls onto cookie sheet and bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes.

Do you have any creative oatmeal recipes? Log in and share them with us.

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