As I’m sure you’re aware by now, Starbucks has added some “healthy” options to their breakfast menu. I guess it’s more like a pastry case, not really a menu. I’ve read some reviews on the items, and I’ve even eaten the Stella berry tart thing. I also saw the bowl of oatmeal you can get there. I recently read a blog where someone praised Starbucks for offering this oatmeal item, this bowl of hearty, whole-grain goodness, even if it was slightly more expensive than making it at home. And then I sighed. Congratulations, Starbucks! You’ve succeeded once again! Your first accomplishment was convincing people it was worth $2 for take-out coffee (and way more for fancy frothy drinks). And now you’ve got people praising you for suckering them into overpriced oatmeal.
Oatmeal, people. I understand that it’s probably better than the Quaker Instant Oatmeal that gets pasty with hot water. But, Starbucks isn’t cooking you oatmeal over a stove. They aren’t adding cream and gently mixing it in. Yes, they give you a packet of chopped nuts or dried fruit. Yay. I’m pretty sure all they’re doing, though, is adding hot water to your cup of dried oats, charging you way too much, and then smiling and you head out the door feeling like you got a healthy breakfast for a bargain price. Now, I get that people are in a rush. We want breakfast on the go. No time for sitting down and home and making a bowl of oatmeal on our own. Starbucks lets us grab and go. So convenient!
I’m going to offer you an alternative. Go buy some non-instant oats. Rolled oats, steel cut, whatever. Trader Joe’s has some good boxes; Costco has that bag of Coach’s steel cut oats. Now, go get those Ziploc round containers with screw-top lids. I’m assuming you have brown sugar at home. I don’t care if you have chopped nuts or dried fruit. If you’re at Costco, you can pick up bags of those, too. When you get home, measure out a serving of dried oats into the Ziploc container, scoop in some sugar and whatever add-ons you desire. Figure out how much water you need and pour it in – note how full the container is now. Follow the microwave directions and you should end up with hot, cooked oatmeal.
Here’s the magic part. Go fill up the rest of the Ziploc containers with oats, sugar, and whatever. Close them up. Now, when you’re running around in the morning, grab one of the containers and take it to work. When you get there, add the water, stick it in the microwave, and you’re now one step ahead of Starbucks. Is it really that hard?
Granted, I don’t eat oatmeal during the week. I do, however, eat shredded wheat when I get to work. It’s a little soggy, but still sweet and tasty (to me). I would certainly never pay $2 to grab a tiny bowl of cereal and milk to go. That’s just ridiculous.
While we’re on the subject of food, I’m going to give you a warning to stay away from Eating Right beef soups. I picked up Beef Barley because it was on sale (but not nearly as cheap as the Progresso) and I love a good beef barley soup. You’d think I would have made it at home by now, but I never have. I ended up eating it for lunch, at work, and it made me so sad. You know how beef turns that funny dark brown/red color if it’s left out and dried up a little? That’s what the beef cubes in the soup looked like. They also smelled a little like doggy beef jerky. The texture was was too chewy and Slim-Jim like. It totally turned me off. Then I got to the point where I couldn’t scoop up non-beef spoonfuls anymore. I gave up. I don’t know if the problem is with Eating Right or beef soups in general. I usually eat chicken soups in the can. But, in any case, do not eat the Eating Right Beef Barley. It is not tasty, you will not eat it all, and then you will get hungry. Of course, then you’ll remember the odd beef cubes that made you lose your appetite in the first place. I would have been better off eating the Snickers bar in my desk drawer.
Hmm… now I feel bad leaving you with such a poor review of food. I will make it up by telling you about the awesome tortillas I found at Costco. Actually, they’ve been there for ages but I never bought them. They’re the uncooked flour tortillas in the refrigerated section. I mean, who needs 40 tortillas? They come in two packages of 20 tortiallas, and once you open a package you’re supposed to finish them within a few days. That would mean eating tortillas every day. I ended up freezing one package and then freezing half of the second. I’ll let you know if they survive the freezing process. Anyway. You peel off a tortilla and throw it on a hot skillet. It puffs up, you flip (and deflate), and you end up with a thin, soft, chewy tortilla that is way better than the thick floury ones at the market. These are delicate and tasty. Perfect for fajitas. I used up most of the open ones making breakfast burritos for the freezer. Those turned out pretty well, too. A minute in the microwave and it was just enough to hold me until lunch.
There you go. Starbucks is preying on consumers by making them buy a cup of dried oats and water. Be wary of beef cubs in canned soup. Cooking your own tortillas rocks.