Slow Cooker Maple and Brown Sugar Oatmeal

I am sometimes scared of kitchen gadgets. I don’t like trusting things that I don’t have control over. I do find that when I learn how to use an appliance, it quickly becomes a go-to in my kitchen. I was hesitant to buy a food processor because I did not know how to use it for anything other than shredding zuchinni (that’s what my mom used it for). Once I attempted my first batch of hummus, I was hooked and now use it for everything from soups to sauces to cookies. It’s wonderful!

The slow cooker has also been a learning curve. Each fall when I want to bring it out, I get that anxious feeling when I try to relearn how to use it. I am afraid I will burn whatever I am making. I am afraid I will burn the house down leaving it on while I am gone. I am afraid I will make a batch of something and hate the way it tastes. Then, I make my first thing, it is successful and I use the slow cooker every week for the rest of the cold weather (in NY that means till May).

To kick off slowΒ cooker season, I was not ready for soup or stew because it isn’t too cold yet. Something I miss from my childhood are those Quaker oatmeal packets that I had for breakfast at least three times a week. It was not my choice, my mom capitalized on oatmeal because it was cheap, but I was never against having it. On the internets people are OBSESSED with oatmeal. It’s nuts because I’m like “Have you ever heard ofΒ a breakfast burrito?!” Sometimes though, the nostalgia gets to me and I want a bowl of oatmeal.

My favorite as a child: the strawberry which was actually dehydrated apples.

My favorite in high school: maple and brown sugar

The kind in today’s recipe: Maple and brown sugar, slow cooker style

I did not burn the house down. I did not burn the oats (even though I left them cooking for 9 hours instead of the 7 I originally planned) and they taste delicious! These are not as sweet as the packets, but are very hearty for a cold or mild morning. This morning was actually warmer, so I ate the oats at room temperature and topped them with more brown sugar and granola. The addition of pecans and Earth Balance gives the dish a velvety smooth and rich texture. I can eat a lot of breakfast, but am still full from this meal well into the afternoon. I hope this breakfast makes it’s way into your fall comfort foods and assures you that a slow cooker is nothing to be afraid of!

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Maple and Brown Sugar Slow Cooker Oatmeal

1 c steel cut oats

3 c water

1/4 c brown sugar

1/4 c maple syrup

2 T Earth Balance

1 t cinnamon

1/3 c chopped pecans

Spray the inside of your slow cooker with cooking spray. Melt the Earth Balance in the microwave. Add all the ingredients to the slow cooker and stir. Cook on low for 7 hours (or 9…). Stir oats if you choose a couple times throughout. When the oats are done, I turned off the cooker and left the lid half off to release the steam while it cooled. I then replaced the lid overnight. I ate this the next day, but it is also great right away. If you like soupier oats, do not uncover them to release the steam.

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[This is what it looks like, do not be afraid of the look, it tastes great!]

I topped it with sugar and granola, but I think raisins and peanut butter would be great as well. Luckily, this recipe makes three days worth (for me, it depends on how much you want) so I’ll try other toppings tomorrow.

What is your favorite slow cooker recipe?

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