As I write this it is a warm clear day here in Sonoma County. But in many parts of the country it is a very different story. People are bracing for yet more snow and freezing temperatures at what should be the end of one of the worst winters in many years.
Having just recently returned from what I call my “blizzard tour” of the east coast and Midwest, I began to think of things that might make life a tiny bit easier for those buried in the white stuff.
Here it is: Overnight Crockpot Steel Cut Oatmeal. Wake up to a wonderful hot breakfast with almost no effort on your part. Steel cut oatmeal is healthy, warm, tasty, and kids will love it. This recipe will work as long as you have power. This version makes 4 servings, but feel free to multiply, one and one half for 6 people, or double for 8. If you are cooking for fewer than four just make a single recipe and reheat—or throw the leftovers into something baked. It is the same recipe my mother used to make when I was a small child, but she used a cast iron kettle in the oven on low overnight. The crockpot is safer and cooks very evenly.
Steel cut oats are the closest to whole oats and have all the goodness of whole grain. You can find them in the hot cereal section in a can or in the bulk bins of most natural food stores.
Use a 3 and one half-quart slow cooker. The time I suggest here is average. If you know yours runs hot, (or cool) you should adjust accordingly.
Butter to grease the slow cooker so the oats don’t stick
One cup steel cut oats
4 cups water
1 half cup raisins
Put all the ingredients in the slow cooker and set to the LOW setting. Cook for 9 hours or so. In the morning enjoy a piping hot bowl of goodness!
Or try these variations: substitute milk or cream for all or part of the water, maintaining a 4:1 ratio of liquid to oats. Add any kind of dried fruit you want—figs, cranberries, apples, blueberries, whatever you want. Or, add a bit of fresh apple.
Top with all the regular toppings for oatmeal—brown sugar or maple syrup, a bit of cream, a pat of butter, or whatever you like.
We may not be able to hurry spring, but at least we can make winter a bit less painful.