DIY Instant Oatmeal

DIY Instant Oatmeal

DIY Instant Oatmeal

Are you are wanting to lose weight, eat healthy, or just manage time better in 2015? DIY Instant Oatmeal can help! January is Oatmeal Month, and since oatmeal is one of my favorite breakfasts I wanted to share some of my favorite combinations with you. Growing up, oatmeal meant blah – thick cereal that needed lots of brown sugar. I didn’t hate it, but I liked cold cereal better. I fell in love with oatmeal in college when I had a friend introduce me to PB, chocolate oatmeal. It was like eating cookies for breakfast; who wouldn’t love that! Since, I have put together many combinations with fruits, nuts, and other mix-ins for fun, healthy breakfasts.

Oatmeal on the stove can be time consuming, especially if you are washing or cutting fruit as well. Dry oatmeal is quick, shelf stable, and customizable. You can make a bunch one day and have breakfast for weeks.

The recipe is basic – just 1/3 cup quick oats, 1 tsp brown sugar, and 2-3 Tbsp of  your favorite mix-ins. Simply add 2/3 cup milk and leave the in fridge overnight or pop in the microwave for 3 minutes and breakfast is ready. You may be used to using water for oatmeal, so why am I saying to use milk? Simple. Not only does it taste better (a bit thicker and creamier) but milk delivers protein. Oats + milk are a powerhouse combination: Oats + Milk = Protein + Fiber + 9 Key Nutrients

NDC MilkPEP Quaker_oat milk infographic_FINAL


Processed with VSCOcam with s1 preset Processed with VSCOcam with s1 preset Processed with VSCOcam with s1 presetYou can use any combination you would like. Feel free to try different fruits, spices, nuts, marshmallows…anything! Just remember it needs to be shelf stable so nothing that needs refrigeration (or add it just before cooking).  Below are a list of a few I like.

  • Sweet Raisin Nut- 1 Tbsp raisins, 1 Tbsp almonds, sprinkle of cinnamon
  • Peanut Butter S’more- 1 tsp powered peanut butter (found with regular at the grocery store), 1 Tbsp milk chocolate chips, 1 Tbsp marshmallows
  • Strawberry Banana- 1 Tbsp freeze dried strawberries, 1 Tbsp freeze dried bananas, sprinkle cinnamon
  • Tropical- 1 Tbsp coconut, 1 Tbsp dried pineapple, 1 Tbsp, macadamias
  • Chocolate Cherry- 1 Tbsp dried cherries, 1 Tbsp milk chocolate chips
  • Blueberry Almond- 1 Tbsp dried blueberries, 1 Tbsp slivered almonds, sprinkle cinnamon
  • Apricot Blueberry- 1 Tbsp dried apricot chopped, 1 Tbsp dried blueberries
  • Other Ideas: Chocolate covered strawberry, sugar and spice, cranberry pistachio, blueberry coconut, banana walnut, peanut butter banana, blueberry cashew, apricot ginger, apple cinnamon, peach raspberry. The options are endless!

DIY Instant Oatmeal

Basic Oatmeal (1 serving)

  • 1/3 c. quick oats
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 2-3 Tbsp mix-ins
  • Sprinkle of spices (optional)
  • 2/3 cup milk ( added when ready to eat)


Measure out dry ingredients into small sealable container (could be jars, plastic containers, or Ziploc baggies) Store until ready to use. To make, add 2/3 cup milk and microwave 3 minutes or leave in the fridge overnight. Enjoy!

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Our 12 Cows of Christmas

Over the last 12 days we have been featuring cows from all around Utah on Instagram. In case you missed our 12 Cows of Christmas, we wanted to share these cow cuties again.

Day 1: Mini Oreo. A new member of the Otten Family Farm

Dutch belted

Day 2: Baby Cow Kisses!

Circle B-496

Day 3: The Font Seat Calf

front seat calf

 Day 4: 6 year old Tilly is Branden Anderson’s favorite show cow.


Day 5: Baby Show Calf


Day 6: Trent Brown’s attention seeking best friend.

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Day 7: Rosie, the matriarch of the Dutch Belted herd at Barex.


Day 8: Snug as a bug calf from Katharine Nye


Day 9: The Cuddle Cow from Lacey Papageorge


Day 10: Megan’s love at first sight

Megan and Baby Cow

Day 11: Matt Leak’s Christmas Cow

Day 12: Two little dolls give two gifts of milk to two little babies at the Munk Farm


Merry Christmas!

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French Apple Christmas Breakfast

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Christmas is just around the corner, and I have a delicious bread custard from Becky Low. This is perfect for Christmas morning, or any morning. It is prepped the day before, so you just pop it in the oven christmas morning while opening presents and then breakfast is served. So easy and so yummy!

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I made a half batch because it is just me and my husband, but a full batch makes enough for 12. If you are making a full batch, you will need a 9X13. For a half batch, you can use an 8X8 or 8 inch round baking dish. Simply butter the dish, then layer skinned, sliced apples in the bottom.

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Sprinkle on some raisins.

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Next you add your bread. French bread or a crusty bread works really well, but any leftover bread you have should work. Just tear it into pieces and layer it on. Next you mix and pour the custard over the bread, cover, and refrigerate overnight. Super easy!

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An hour before you are ready for breakfast, take it from the fridge to the oven and bake uncovered. When a knife comes out clean and sweet smells feel the air, it is ready. Whip up some caramel syrup and breakfast is served!  Processed with VSCOcam with s1 preset


  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 4 medium apples, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 10 slices firm bread
  • Caramel Syrup (see below)

Butter sides and bottom of 9×13 baking pan. Combine milk, brown sugar and white sugar. Stir to dissolve sugar. Add eggs, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg; mix well and set aside. Peel, core and thinly slice apples. Arrange apples in bottom of prepared baking pan. Sprinkle raisins over apples. Tear bread into pieces and place on top apples. Pour custard over bread. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 8-10 hours or overnight. Preheat oven to 350º F. Remove cover and bake 60-70 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Serve warm with caramel syrup.

Caramel Syrup

  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 2/3 cup light corn syrup
  • 2/3 cup cream
  • 3 tablespoons milk

Combine brown sugar, white sugar, corn syrup, and cream in heavy sauce pan. Stirring frequently bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and simmer gently 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Syrup will thicken as it cools. Stir in vanilla. When cool stir in milk, one tablespoon at a time, thin to desired consistency. Serve warm. Store unused syrup in the refrigerator.

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Gifts for a Merry Dairy Christmas

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It is just over a week until christmas. Do you have all your holiday shopping done? Whether you need something for the neighbors, a gift for a foodie friend, or something for your cow-loving Aunt Lucy, we got you covered. Check out the ideas below!

1. Cookie Jar Full of Cookies. Cookies are always a big hit this time of year. Whip up some of your favorites or try one of 19 cookie suggestions! You could even try a cow cookie jar for aunt Lucy!

2. Local Artisan Cheese. We have many award winning artisan cheese makers here it Utah, so keep it local and give the gift of incredible taste. Check out the following cheesemakers!


3. Holiday Artisan Mac and Cheese Basket. This brilliant idea is from Foodie Crush.

4. Cheese Fondue Basket. Don’t just give kitchen tools, give the whole experience! Love this idea from The Law Students Wife

5. Cheesecake! Have a sweet-tooth on your list? Give them creamy cheesecake. Just one, or as a monthly club!

6Flavored Butters: This is a great idea for neighbors, who may be getting sick of all the sweets. These are simple, fun, and great for cooking!

7. Cow Mugs would be a great gift paired with hot cocoa fixings!

8. Cow Ice Cream Bowls are sure to be a hit with Aunt Lucy!

Happy Holidays!





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5 Tips to Lightening up the Holidays

by: Alyssa Reidhead USU Dietetics Student

Holiday Cheese Spread

Splurging over the holidays is common, almost expected! What would the holidays be without your favorite Christmas cookie, sweetbread, or fresh baked rolls? I wanted to provide a few tips to stay healthy over the holidays while fitting in those favorite treats.

  1. Try substituting. Many times oil can be halved or replaced with greek yogurt or applesauce in cakes, sweet breads, or pancakes.This will reduce the amount of fat (and overall calories) in the recipe. Greek yogurt also provides many important nutrients such as protein and calcium.
  2. Use lower-fat cheese or strong cheese. Try lower fat cheeses such as part-skim mozzarella or provolone. If you want the cheese flavor to stand out, use sharp cheese such a feta, bleu cheese, asiago, aged parmesan or sharp cheddar which have more flavor in less volume therefore reducing calories.
  3. Include fruits in your baked items and vegetables in the main course. For example, make an apple crisp for dessert or try shredding squash and adding it to your favorite pasta sauce. It will add extra fiber, vitamins, and minerals to your favorite recipes. This helps you stay full on few calories!
  4. Serve at least one vegetable side with each holiday meal. Green beans with parmesan and almonds happens to be one of my favorites. Cooking vegetables in a variety of ways keeps you wanting more. Try roasting, steaming, or sautéing.
  5. Get Moving! Ride bikes around the block with the family after a meal, play Frisbee, sign up for a holiday 5k, or walk around town to see the Christmas lights. Anything to get you moving will help to keep you healthy and feeling great.

Remember that the holiday season is focused around traditions and food. Depriving yourself of your favorite dishes and treats would be silly and unsatisfying. I hope these 5 tips will help keep you satisfied and healthy over the holidays. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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19 Must Try Christmas Cookies

Chocolate Peppermint Patty Cookies from Two Peas & Their Pod


When I think Christmas desserts, I instantly think cookies. This association is probably because of my late grandmother. Every year she had Christmas cookie parties and all the grandkids came over to make and decorate an array of cookies. So weather you have a cookie party/swap, are making neighbor gifts, need some for Santa, or just want them for yourself, these cookies are sure to be a hit. Don’t forget a tall glass of milk for dunking!

Chocolate Peppermint Patty Cookies- Two Peas and Their Pod

White Chocolate Oatmeal Lace Cookies- Skinny Taste

White Chocolate and Peppermint Christmas Wreath Cookies- Foodie Crush

Red Velvet Gooey Butter Cookies- Recipe Girl

Holiday Cut Out Sugar Cookies w/ Easy Icing- Sally’s Baking Addiction

Peppermint Kiss Thumbprint Cookies- Crème de la Crumb

Triple Ginger Cookies- Cooking On The Front Burners

Minty White Chocolate Cookies- Your Home-based Mom

Ginersnaps- Chef in Training

Candy Cane Pudding Cookies- Number 2 Pencil

Soft and Chewy Nutella White Chocolate Chip Cookies- Averie Cooks

Chocolate Turtle Cookies- Two Peas and Their Pod

Oreo Peppermint Crunch Cookies- Inside BruCrew Life

Carmel Apple Cider Cookies- The Girl Who Ate Everything

Rocky Road Cookies- Glorious Treats

Chocolate Cherry Thumbprint Cookies- Julie’s Eats and Treats

Snickerdoodle w/ White Chocolate Chip Cookies- Foodie Crush

Red Velvet Cheesecake Cookies- Two Peas and Their Pod

Orange Cookies Dipped in Chocolate- Closet Cooking


Check out our “Dunk it in Milk” Pinterest Page for more fun cookie recipes!


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Dairy Farming vs Cattle Ranching

By Alyssa Reidhead- USU Dietetics Student

The conversation was always the same. Dad did you have to hit every pot hole in the road?” “Mom I need air I think I am getting sick” “How much longer until we get there?” Five hours down and still two more to go, and did I mention the rest of the drive would be on dirt road. Going to my grandma and grandpa’s house was always well worth those bumpy 80 miles of dirt road. When the windmill gradually came into view on the hill, we were at the O’Toole Ranches! IMG_8784

This meant that until we left, my cell phone wouldn’t ring, sourdough pancakes would be served every morning for breakfast, and the beautiful setting sun would draw streaks of red and orange across the Nevada sky every night.

I come from a long line of Nevada ranchers, which dates back to my great great grandfather who came to the United States from Ireland. I know of the blood, sweat, and tears that come from ranching. From the smile for getting a high price for cattle in the fall to the tears because the feed for the year froze, and the bank would not provide another loan. Ranching and raising dairy cattle are both thankless and hard jobs, so why do these farmers continue to provide food for America? They love what they do, they love their animals, and they love their way of life


Although different, cattle ranching and dairy farming share many similarities. Let’s break this down, what are the true differences between cattle ranchers and dairy farmers?

  1. Cattle ranchers produce the beef that you see in the store or are severed at a restaurant. Dairy farmers harvest milk from their cattle which is sent to grocery stores or made into products such as cheese or sour cream.
  2. Cattle ranchers usually sell their cattle one time a year, generally in the fall. Dairy farmers sell their milk consistently throughout the year. Can you imagine year old milk? I’m sure glad they sell it daily.
  3. Beef cattle tend to have more muscle while dairy cows are leaner and use their energy to produce large amount of milk.
  4. Both cattle ranchers and dairy farmers spend hour providing care for sick animals to ensure that their herd is healthy.
  5. Dairy farmers follow a strict daily schedule. Cows must be fed and milked on a schedule to ensure they produce a high volumes of milk. Cattle ranchers have more flexibility in their schedule. Ranchers may spend their time checking their herd, hauling water, fixing fence, or moving cows to new pastures.
  6. Cattle ranchers rely heavily on public lands to provide feed for their animals while dairy farmers pay a very high price for quality hay and other feedstuffs. A carefully balanced ration for dairy cattle provides the energy and nutrients required to produce consistent, high quality milk. Beef cattle don’t need the high quality feed therefore, cattle ranchers can spend less money on feed.
  7. Both beef cattle and dairy cattle produce great sources of protein that we can include in our diet. Meat and dairy contain proteins that are essential for our body.
  8. Most importantly, dairy farmers and cattle ranches both work hours on end to put food on our tables.


I have loved growing up in an agricultural family, and I hope that I can use my background to educate others about agriculture and the health benefits we receive from farm fresh food. I encourage you to meet a farmer if possible. Thank them for providing the food on your table. Check out what they do every day and why they do it. I am so thankful that farmers and ranchers work hours on end to provide me and others with food. I will leave you with this…

“My grandfather used to say that once in your life you need a doctor, a lawyer, a policeman and a preacher but every day, three times a day, you need a farmer.”

- Brenda Schoepp

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