For years, my kids have eaten oatmeal made with Quaker Oats flavor packets, and by the time they were 3 years old, they could make it themselves. Convenience is crucial to a busy family.

This oatmeal required a little more work, but surprisingly not much. I ordered 1lb bulk steel cut oats, 1lb bulk dried cranberries and 1lb bulk walnuts from Green B.E.A.N. Delivery in preparation.

Steel cut oaks take at least 1/2 hour to cook, which makes them problematic in the busy mornings when children demand to eat NOW. But, I found a cooking method that reduces this to five minutes AND retains more of the vitamins and minerals that are lost during a prolonged cooking process.

I placed my pound of oats in a bowl of water last night. I used a 2:1 ratio for water:oats. After absorbing most of the water, they took only 5 minutes in the rice cooker this morning.

In my blender, I placed 5 peeled oranges and 1 cup of walnuts. Oh, and 1/2 cup of organic sugar. Shaaaazaaam. I added this mixture and 1 cup of dried cranberries to the oats. The resulting dish was delicious.

A little bit of info: steel cut oats are an amazing source of soluble and insoluble fiber and contain double the protein and heart-healthy fat of the convenient regular oats, making them a stand alone balanced meal. They are a rich source of the vitamin B-complex and iron.

Adding walnuts to the mix creates nutritional perfection. They are one of the best plant sources of protein and additionally contain fiber, B-vitamins, magnesium, vitamin E and omega 3 fatty acids. The FDA has listed walnuts as being one of seven nuts known for less than 4g of saturated fat (per 50) and beneficial in lowering LDL cholesterol levels. They have officially earned the ‘heart-healthy’ stamp of approval.

I can’t say much about the benefits of powdered sugar. Except maybe this: my kids ate steel cut oats and walnuts for breakfast, and I didn’t have to pay them to do so.