Food is Love, Love is Food.

A blog devoted to the connection between meals, memories and the special moments in our lives.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Breaking the Breakfast Rut: Slow Cooker Oatmeal with Apples, Almonds, and Craisins

Girls cannot live by frozen waffles alone.  Believe me, it is true.  My girls have tried.  We seem to get into these breakfast ruts around my house.  Crazy school mornings when one teen and one preteen girl are having a hard time getting themselves out of bed due to the fact that they have stayed up past their bedtime talking to each other in the bedroom that they share lead to this over reliance upon quick convenience foods for breakfast.  There's nothing bad for them in these breakfast waffles; I buy the low fat ones, and spread with a little bit of low fat cream cheese and some 100% fruit jam.  It's just that there is nothing good  for them in these waffles either.  No grains, no real nutrients, and therefore, no staying power.  The kids are hungry by 10:00, and lunch is not until after noon.  Not a good scenario when kids are expected to have brains that are firing on all cylinders at school.  So I need to get us out of our breakfast rut, and I decided to employ the slow cooker.  My husband scoffed at this plan; steel cut oats and dairy sitting overnight in the warmth of the crock pot were a recipe for disaster, he thought.  I felt that if meat and broth could sit together in this little 'hot tub,' well then, why couldn't the grain and dairy do the same?  And if it worked out right, our breakfast would be waiting for us in the morning, all warm and bubbly, ready to stick to our ribs.  The fruit, cinnamon and brown sugar would make the house smell wonderful, helping the whole waking up process along.  Lastly, the kids would have a delicious breakfast, with some actual fiber and nutrition, and would be ready to focus on their schoolwork until lunchtime came around.  And what I found was this:  in addition to the aforementioned benefits, there was also another.  The morning chaos subsided because breakfast was already made, and just needed to be ladled out, sprinkled with the almonds and craisins, and a little milk.  And if I do say so myself, it was really good.  So much so that I packed some up for my lunch as well that day.

Slow Cooker Oatmeal:

for the oatmeal:
1 cup steel cut oats
4 1/2 cups milk
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
3 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp real maple syrup
2 tsp vanilla
1 large apple, grated

for the topping:
9 tbsp sliced almonds
6 tbsp craisins

Put all the ingredients for the oatmeal in the slow cooker and stir to mix.  Turn the slow cooker on low and let cook for up to 7 hours.  Serve in a large bowl, sprinkled with 1/2 tbsp almonds and 1 tbsp craisins per serving.  Add a little extra milk to desired consistence (makes six servings).


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