One of my favorite breakfast recipes involves preparation the night before. This is the magic of the slow cooker. If you haven’t invested in one of these handy gadgets yet, I highly recommend you try one out. They make the kitchen a more friendly place because they can be cooking something toothsome while you’re doing something else – like sleeping.
Apple Pie Oatmeal
This serves about four people. There are three in my household, and we tend to have at least a serving for leftovers, depending how hungry folks are in the morning. One thing I like to do with this is cook it and leave containers next to it so folks can spoon some and take it to work with them. It’s especially welcome on cold Winter mornings like we get here in Chicago and, since none of us are morning people, we don’t have to stuff it in our face right away. We can eat on the train. Much better than fat and cholesterol bombs one can find in fast food places.
1 C steel cut oats
I’ve tried other kinds of oats with this, and you definitely want slow-cooking ones. They’re hard to find, at least here in the states. Traditional grocery stores seem to only carry the quick-cook kind and ‘regular’, which cook in 5 minutes (and, therefore, aren’t “regular”). If you poke around other kinds of stores like Whole Foods and locally-owned groceries, you can find things like steel cut, Irish cut, etc. I like Irish cut too, and this is one recipe where experimenting pays off.
4 cups water
1 t cinnamon or cake spice
1 t vanilla extract
I know, I know, I’ve said it before and I’ll likely repeat myself. The best place to buy spices is The Spice House, and they have a fantastic website that is filled with good information about herbs and spices. Another excellent resource is the Frontier Coop.
Not all cinnamon is alike. For one thing, due to the embargo with Vietnam after the war with the United States, most Americans lost their palate for real cinnamon. Much of what we had available wasn’t the cinnamon of our grandmothers. Now the embargo is over, you can explore a whole new spectrum of flavor. Check out the different kinds of cinnamon available to your tongue.
My absolute favorite for seasoning, though, is their Cake Spice. Seriously yummy stuff, folks.
Don’t scrimp on your vanilla extract, either. For the love of Pete, do not use “vanillin” or “vanilla flavor.” Spring for the real vanilla extract and poke around, see if you can’t find Madagascar vanilla. It’s like sex on a spoon.
1 C fresh apple, cored and diced
I never knew all the amazing variations of the humble apple. I grew up with Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, and Granny Smith. Then Fuji and the Japanese Apple Pear. The Red and Golden Delicious are disgusting, mealy and gross. Don’t consider them part of the apple family. Try Pink Lady, Rome, or Macintosh. Failing that, you can use any apple that’s good in pies; Granny Smiths hold up well and I like Fuji in this recipe too.
1 C dried berries
You can use raisins if you have to, but look around for dried berries. It’s hard to find unsweetened cranberries, and if you’re watching your processed sugar intake that’s not desirable. But the other day at the store I found a bag of mixed berries. They were fantastic in this – cherries, cranberries, and blueberries. Yum city.
Are you ready for this? This is for all my lovely readers who tell me, “I just don’t cook.” This isn’t even cooking; if you can wash a pan, you can make this recipe.
You see all those ingredients up there? Dump ’em in the slow cooker. Stir. Put it on low and let it sit overnight.
That’s all there is to it.
A word to the wise: once everyone has served themselves, take the remaining stuff and put it in a storage container in the fridge and FILL THE POT WITH HOT, SOAPY WATER. Do.not.leave.it.til.you.get.home.from.work. TRUST the Noony. Unless you LIKE cleaning concrete out of stuff with your bare hands, do yourself a favor and pre-clean.
The Tasty Tuesday Bus
Check out the other wonderful Tasty Tuesday posts my compatriots have prepared for your gustatory enjoyment. Make 2013 a year to remember by trying new recipes in your home kitchen!
A Taste of Nostalgia, by Moira Keith
Stay-In-Bed Soup, by Nancy Lauzon
Great Balls of Italian Soup by Selena Robins