Breakfast is always a challenge for me, because I don’t like to eat in the mornings and I’m not a fan of most breakfast food. I really have to be in the mood for cereal or english muffins or pancakes or what have you. I am quite fond of bacon and eggs, but I never have time to cook breakfast and bacon certainly is not something I’m putting on the menu often, so that leave me nowhere. I really just don’t eat in the mornings most of the time. Since I know that’s terribly unhealthy, I’ve tried repeatedly to find a breakfast food that is healthy and that I can stomach.
I like toast, so it is a real bitch that I am on the outs with wheat as a staple of my diet.
I keep coming back to oatmeal. The problem is that I hate oatmeal. It is pretty much disgusting. I’ve tried it soupy, I’ve tried it chunky, I’ve tried instant, I’ve tried stove top, and I’ve tried slow cooker. I’ve tried plain versions, cinnamon apple versions, cherry pie versions, maple and brown sugar versions… I have even tried a “cookie dough” version. I just do not like it.
I have thought for some time that slow cooker steel cut oats are the closest thing to stomach-able that oatmeal will get for me so lately, that’s where I have experimented the most. My husband likes it and I can sneak in healthy additives like flax seed or chia seed, so that’s a bonus. Unfortunately, the recipes that sound the best do tend to call for apples. I’m not crazy about apples in most applications. I’m really not crazy about hot, cooked, apple skins, so I’ve peeled dozens of apples and tried several versions of slow cooked apple oatmeal. The last venture was the most successful, but I still hated it. I choked down one bowl and then pressured my husband every day to eat the rest. He’s a fan, but come on, man can only eat so many bowls of apple oatmeal before it goes bad.
Desperate to keep trying and (FINALLY) out of apples (THANK YOU JESUS), and not ready to give up entirely, I decided to make a peach version of the tortuous apple crap and (HALLELUJAH), it was good. At last.
Don’t get me wrong – I will not be able to eat it every day or anything – but it’s good. It’s really good! It makes a solid 4 to 6 breakfasts, give or take relative hunger and it tastes sweet and fresh and a lot like peach cobbler. Let’s face it, fruit cobbler is good. If I can make a breakfast that tastes a little like cobbler, but is actually healthy, then I call that a “win”.
My recipe was as follows:
6 qt slow cooker (sprayed with non stick spray)
1 cup steel cut oats
2 cups water
2 cups milk (or milk alternative – I have made it with almond milk and rice milk both of which work great)
1 Tbs flax seed (or chia seed, but flax is better)
3 Tbs brown sugar (or to taste, but why put it in now when you can just add more when you serve it?)
1/2 tsp salt (your favorite, but ours is course sea salt)
1 tsp cinnamon
Some frozen peaches (it’s fall, there are no fresh ones around here right now)
Cook on low overnight. (Times vary, but it’s going to be 6 to 10 hours, depending on various factors that are discussed later)
I don’t add butter or anything, because it’s totally not necessary and if I can cut an ingredient that isn’t healthy, I will.
The peaches do get mushy so you always have the option of throwing them in later in the cooking. I’m lazy and also, I want to sleep straight through the night, so mushy peaches it is.
One word of caution – every slow cooker is different and everyone’s tastes are different. I cannot tell you how to get the perfect consistency for you with your equipment, so I will say the following: if you like very moist oatmeal consistency, do not skimp on the liquids and maybe err on the side of too much (at least 1 part oats to 4 parts liquid), especially if you are going to sleep for 8 to 10 hours, which we try to do. We always get a more solid consistency along the bottom edges of the crockpot. This is not a tragedy because it’s still edible and there are ways to soften them up.
If you want to soften up the edges (I don’t, hubby does), just throw it in your bowl with a little milk (or whathaveyou) and stir. Done.
You can refrigerate the leftovers. Just microwave to your preferred temperature. If it dries out a little or clumps up too much for you after refrigeration, microwave and then add milk and stir. You seriously can’t hurt this stuff.
You can add toppings (I’m too lazy), but nuts would be delish, as would fresh fruit, but if you’re going the fresh fruit route – why cook it in the oatmeal and cook out some of it’s nutrition? Just reserve and add in the morning.
Here’s the thing with steel cut oatmeal – you really may have to make it a few times to figure out what works for you. Length of cook time and amount of liquid are going to vary, based on your lifestyle and your taste preferences. Go with what is recommended the first time and adjust from there.
And don’t forget the salt. I did the first time and bleck.