January is National Oatmeal Month. Okay, that really means nothing to me but it’s a great excuse to share our favorite oatmeal recipe. One of the reasons it’s a fav is because it cooks itself. With just a couple steps we wake up to a hot and healthy breakfast.
First, let me say that all crock-pots are not created equal. You may have to tweak the amount of liquid until you get your desired oatmeal consistency. I have found that our older and smaller crock-pot has worked the best. There is a theory that the fuller the pot the better it cooks (much like a full refrigerator stays colder).
Notice there isn’t much for measurements. That’s because this is a very forgiving recipe once you figure out YOUR crock-pot. This is the most basic version, you can change it a million ways.
- 1 part steel cut oats
- 5 parts water or liquid
- 1 apple
- 1 banana
- splash of vanilla (a heavy handed teaspoon)
- dollop of molasses (great way to sneak in a little extra iron – a heavy handed tablespoon)
- palm full of cinnamon (if using, that’s about a teaspoon)
- pinch of salt (1/4 teaspoon – use a quality salt, nothing processed)
The oats to water ratio is 1 to 5. So if you use 1 cup of oats, use 5 cups of water.
1 1/2 cups of oats (and 7 1/2 cups water) feeds my 6 eaters.
I use some of that water in my vitamix with an apple and a banana. Puree it and add to sweeten the oatmeal. Put everything in the crock-pot and set it on low for about 8 hours. The basic idea is oats, water, something to sweeten it, something to flavor it and hopefully you add something to increase the nutritional value.
*Yeah know how wasteful toddlers and young children can be with food? Totally sounds gross but if someone only eats half a banana or apple I just toss it in the fridge until I make the oatmeal and it gets used as the sweetener. (I wouldn’t serve that to guests). Makes me feel a little better about toddler food waste.
In the morning, top with your favorite fruit, berries, nuts and/or dried fruit. Kind of like an oatmeal bar! (My kids like nut butter in oatmeal).
- almond milk
- coconut milk
- hemp seed milk (boost the nutrition)
- my paleo friends like raw milk
- fresh juice
- pureed apple
- pureed banana
- steamed and pureed winter squash
- steamed and pureed sweet potatoes
- raw honey
- agave if you must
- Chocolate Banana: omit the cinnamon and apple, double the pureed banana, add cocoa powder, top with fresh bananas
- Cranberry Walnut (pictured): to the basic recipe add 1/2 teaspoon each of cloves and nutmeg, top with dried cranberries, walnuts and flax seeds (my fav)
- Sweet Potato Pecan Pie: trade the banana & apple puree for a couple of steamed and pureed sweet potatoes, top with chopped pecans and almond milk
- Tropical Delight: trade half the water for coconut milk, omit the apple and cinnamon, add crushed pineapple (or chunks), top with shredded coconut, slice bananas and macadamias
- Honey Vanilla Butternut Squash: trade the banana and apple for about a cup of steamed and pureed butternut squash, double the vanilla, add a once-around-the-pot of honey, top with sliced almonds
This list goes on and on. We also like to cook the oatmeal with coconut milk and add fresh strawberries and blueberries. The possibilities are endless. What is your favorite oatmeal recipe?