Oatmeal, the Strack way.

“Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and supper like a pauper.” -Unknown

In many households, it is the staple of all staples. Those who have given up the often expensive, and unhealthy habit of sugary cold cereal every morning, find in oatmeal a hot, cost effective, and healthy alternative. The following is the art form it takes to produce the perfect oatmeal (It’s not oat porridge), according to the farmer’s standard, the result of a recipe developed over the course of many years in the Strack household.

Authors: Jolene Strack, Deborah Strack, Farmer Sean

Yield: 1 Large Hearty Serving for every 1 1/8 cups oats

Seasons: All


• Rolled, or Sprouted Rolled Oats. Quick oats work too but have a slightly different consistency. (Be sure they are GF certified if you are sensitive to gluten.) Steel cut groats are great, takes a lot more liquid and time, and we will address them in a separate recipe.

• Water

• Plant-Based Milk (Sweetened or Unsweetened)


• Maple Syrup, Cane or Coconut Sugar, or Dates (if milk is unsweetened, or just water is used)

• Raisins and Cinnamon

• Dried Cranberries

• Apples (Earth First Farms, right here in Berrien Center, is a great place to get those, they are organic and do U-pick, besides a CSA share and some markets)

• Blueberries (Frozen is best, we get ours from the Organic Blueberry Ranch in Mishawaka, IN)

• Peanut Butter (Or Almond Butter, or your favorite nut butter)

• Homemade Canned Applesauce (see part IV) (Or non-GMO Organic store-bought)

• Coconut Flakes

• Chia Seeds

• Sunflower Seeds

• Hemp Seeds

• Limitless other options…



1. Liquid:

– For 1 large or 2 average servings it would be 2 cups liquid (I’d do one milk and one water),

– 2-4 servings, 4 cups liquid.

– For a family of 10, I usually put 12-16 cups liquid (1 quart of milk and the rest water). You could do just straight milk or water, but we usually prefer a mix.

2. Oats: 1 1/8 cups for 2 cups liquid, 4 1/2 for 8 cups, 5 1/2 for 10 cups, 6 1/2 for 12 cups. (9 for 16 cups, this amount is too much for the instant pot and most average stove pots)

3. Toppings:

– Apples (chop them up, 1 apple to every 8 cups liquid, but not less than half of one.)

– Raisins (1/4 up to 2 cups) and Cinnamon (to taste, could also do Apple Cinnamon),

– Dried cranberries to taste, 1/4 up to 2 cups (if they are sweetened, don’t add extra sugar, unless you use unsweetened milk),

– Dates, (half to one for every cup of liquid is usually enough),

– Sugar or Maple Syrup (2 teaspoons up to 2 tablespoons, if you didn’t use sweetened milk or dates, or you could do a combination of things).

Sauce Pan

1. In a sauce pan add the liquid. Start bringing it to a high heat boil, before adding oats.

2. When liquid is at almost a rolling boil, add the oats and stir, bring back to boil and then reduce to medium heat.

3. Mix in any toppings.

4. Turn temperature slowly down, as it thickens. It will stick and burn if it’s too hot. Stir often. Watch for starch overflowing, turn it down or remove from burner to prevent burning.

5. Once at a very low simmer and cover until it thickens up to desired consistency.

Instant Pot

1. In it just put liquid and oats together. Don’t start it yet.

2. Mix in any toppings.

3. Pressure cook, High pressure, 3 minutes.

4. Wait for pressure to come down, vent after several minutes according to your instant pot manufacturers directions.


Serve with whatever other toppings you have planned for that day. If you take advantage of frozen fruit in the dead of winter, then it can be cooled off quickly in the bowls and can be eaten almost immediately.

We like eating other fresh fruit with oatmeal, and sometimes toast with peanut butter and applesauce.

Add pinch of salt if you don’t use milk that has salt in it or don’t eat a nut butter with salt.