One of my favorite cookbooks in the whole world is the one by Beth Hensperger and Julie Kaufmann titled Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook. It has a wealth of recipes that not only rise above my admittedly tacky and pedestrian Chicken, Broccoli and Rice Casserole, but also offer a variety that I'd never before associated with a slow-cooker. Like breakfast foods, for instance.
I was very intrigued by the hot cereals recipes in chapter two, which was delightfully titled "From the Porridge Pot." The very idea of "porridge" makes me go all Mamsie Pepper, but the problem is that I'd never eat it. Because, yuck. Didn't that little boy named Paul have to manfully choke down a bowlful of porridge every morning in order to please his old-fashioned grandmama in Anne of Avonlea? See, he didn't like it either.
But Beth and Julie had some recipes that honestly made me think that cooking some oatmeal for the family's breakfast would be a really smart thing to do. First of all, steel-cut oats are very rich in protein and fiber. Secondly, if you make them yourself, you control the amount of sweetner your children use in them. I mean, I don't want to offend that Quaker Oats guy, mostly because HE IS FREAKIN' SCARY, going around and offering chewy oatmeal granola bars to children and the only food character who could possibly be any more WRONG than the Quaker guy is the Burger King with that giant head, but the instant oatmeal? FULL of sugar. MOSTLY sugar. So much sugar, it's like having a bowl of sugar for breakfast with a few rolled oats sprinkled on top.
So last night, I got out my small slow-cooker and assembled what ingredients I happened to have on hand, and kind of cobbled this recipe together from several that the cookbook's authors had listed.
OVERNIGHT SLOW-COOKER OATMEAL
1 cup steel-cut oats (I used organic steel-cut oats from Bob's Red Mill )
4 cups lukewarm water
1/2 cup evaporated milk (Don't use fresh milk because it will turn caramel-colored in the slow-cooker, and this recipe is already slightly dark because of the oats themselves, and the spices.)
1/2 cup raisins
1 teaspoon apple pie spice OR 1 teaspoon cinnamon with a pinch of ground cloves, nutmeg and allspice
Spray a small round or oval slow cooker with cooking spray. Combine all ingredients in cooker and stir well. Set on LOW heat and cook overnight or for 8-9 hours. Easy-peasy!
When we woke up this morning, the house smelled absolutely divine. I ate my oatmeal with a dollop of milk and two packets of Sweet-n-Low (I understand that it makes little sense to buy organic oats and then muck them up with an artificial sweetner, but I have to watch my blood sugar and I forgot I had some stevia in the cupboard until it was too late.) My husband ate his with one packet of Sweet-n-Low and a tablespoon of brown sugar. Meelyn used some sugar and added some vanilla soy milk. Aisling, who is the family's champion oatmeal-eater, was nervous about an upcoming sleepover and couldn't finish her bowl, which I'm sure she regrets now that she's with her friends and having so much fun.
I look forward to making this oatmeal and trying dried cherries or cranberries instead of raisins. I look forward to smooshing half a banana into it. I like the idea of adding some chunks of fresh, ripe peaches or crisp apple to the pot in the last half hour of cooking. So many possibilities for a delicious, hot breakfast, full of proteiny goodness!
It was good the first time,, but how did the leftovers stand up? Find out by clicking here.
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