Steel yourself for Slow Cooked Steel Cut Oats with Caramelized Apples and Blueberries

december-4-2016-steel-cut-oats-in-bowl-with-walnuts

Breakfast in Bed? No problem. Make this nutritious apple and cinnamon scented oatmeal the evening before in your rice cooker or crock pot. It will be ready for you when you wake in the morning and your kitchen will smell like apple pie! This is the best way to wake up!

Note: If you make this in a slow cooker or rice cooker before bed, it’s best to start it at least an hour before hitting the sack. Once the oatmeal thickens, stir well to prevent lumps. However, that is not necessary if you are using the Instant Pot. 

Steel cut oats have the most nutrition and lowest glycemic index of all the oatmeal products.  I add flax seed, oat bran and chia seeds to further boost the nutrition, and sprinkle with walnuts for extra protein. My recipe uses only a tablespoon of brown sugar, unlike most of the slow cooked steel cut oats recipes you find on the web. The raisins, apples, and cinnamon bring a natural sweetness to the cereal. Of course you can add more brown sugar or maple syrup when serving, but I’m fine without that.

Making it in the instant pot (I have a 6 quart Duo) is the easiest way to cook this. I spray it with nonstick canola oil spray and cleanup is very easy. I do not add milk or milk substitute, only water. 

I used a nonstick rice cooker with a slow cook setting.  Like the instant pot, clean up is easy after spraying the cooker with nonstick spray. I’ve made this in the crock pot too, but be sure you spray it well. Even so, more cleanup is involved. If the oatmeal sticks, soak the crock pot with hot water and a few tablespoons baking soda. 

dry-ingredientsIngredients (makes approximately 9 cups/ Four  2 1/4 cup servings). Refrigerate leftovers for more breakfasts.

Nonstick canola spray

6 cups water

3 cups milk or milk substitute or 3 cups water (9 cups water total)

1 1/2 Tb butter (or a mixture of butter and coconut oil)

4 large Gala, Jonagold, Pink Lady, or other sweet cooking apples peeled and chopped 

1 Tb brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup steel cut oats

1/2 tsp salt

1 Tb cinnamon

1 Tb flax seed meal

3 Tb chia seeds

1/4 cup oat bran

1/4 cup raisins

2 cinnamon sticks (optional)

For serving:

1  cup walnuts or pecan pieces to stir in the next morning (1/4 cup per serving)

1  cup fresh or 2 cups (16 oz) frozen blueberries to stir in the next morning (optional)

caramelized apples and dry ingredientsDirections for rice cooker or slow cooker:

Spray your cooker very well. Fill with milk and water, or only water.

apples cooked in butter with cinnamon and brown sugar

Fry apples in butter and sprinkle in a few shakes of cinnamon, the vanilla and brown sugar, stirring often until they caramelize. If I have cream on hand, I stir in a tablespoon for real caramel.

Mix dry ingredients in a bowl, then pour into cooker and mix well with the liquids. Mix in caramelized apples, raisins, and cinnamon sticks. Set slow cook timer for 7 hours. It’s best to make this with at least an hour before bedtime so that you can stir it while it thickens and avoid lumps.

Instant Pot Directions:

In sauté mode, melt butter and add apples, brown sugar, etc. and sauté until apples are beginning to caramelize. Add oats and other dry ingredients and mix well. Stir in 9 cups water and press Cancel. Set timer for 9 hours in Slow Cook mode using low pressure. I did not have any lumping problems in the Instant Pot.

apples-on-top-of-cooked-oats

In the morning, the apples will rise to the top.  I like to stir in a cup of fresh (or frozen) blueberries. Acai berry puree is also good to stir in. Stir oatmeal well and ladle into bowls.

frozen blueberriesIf you don’t have apples on hand or just don’t want to do all that work, stir in a 16 oz package of frozen blueberries into the cooked oatmeal.

oatmeal with frozen blueberries

Sprinkle with pecan or walnut pieces and serve with more milk or milk substitute if desired.

Steel-cut oats oatmeal with apples and nuts

???????????????????????????????This fiber-rich, creamy and crunchy oatmeal will stick to your ribs on these cold winter mornings when you need something to warm you up and keep you going.

I used the quick-cooking steel cut oats from Trader Joe’s. They cook in only 8 minutes. Nuts add crunch and protein, and apples and/ or raisins add sweetness and fiber. This recipe serves 2, but you can double or triple it to store some for those weekday mornings when you need a quick warm-up before work. It’s all-natural, so much better than those instant oatmeal packets.

Serves 2

1 1/2 cups water

a few shakes salt

1/2 cup quick-cooking steel cut oats

2 Tb ground flax seed

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 apple (I used a honey crisp apple)

1/4 cup raisins

1/2 cup walnut pieces

1/2 cup sliced almonds

1/4 cup milk

1 Tb cream (optional)

pure maple syrup or brown sugar (optional)

Peel and chop the apple into bite-size pieces. Bring water to a boil. Add salt, oatmeal. flax seed, cinnamon, apple and raisins. Lower heat and cover pot, and cook for 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn off heat and stir in nuts and milk for one minute. Pour into bowls and add a tablespoon of cream for a treat. If you desire added sweetness, add maple syrup or brown sugar to taste.

My Homemade Muesli

Muesli

muesli with berries

I eat my homemade muesli every workday morning for a crunchy high protein start to my day that keeps me full all morning. It’s made with oatmeal, quinoa flakes, raw nuts and seeds, and a dash of cinnamon for sweetness and flavor. I serve it with fresh fruit such as berries or peaches and 1% milk.  (I used freeze-dried blueberries from Trader Joe’s when fresh fruit was out of season.)

muesli ingredients: Makes 8 cups (8 servings)

4 cups rolled oats

1 cup quinoa flakes

3/4 cup pepitas (green shelled pumpkin seeds)

3/4 cup sliced raw almonds and/or diced roasted almonds (I get mine from Berkeley Bowl)

3/4 cup shelled raw pistachios

¼ cup ground flax seeds (flax-seed meal) must be refrigerated or frozen

¼ cup chia seeds

¼ cup sesame seeds

1/4 cup hemp seeds (no, you will not get high from them!)

1 tsp cinnamon (to taste)

Mix together and store in airtight container in the fridge or freezer.

“Daddy Cereal” Oatmeal

When I was a little kid, my daddy made us oatmeal for breakfast so often that we called oatmeal “Daddy Cereal.”  I’m posting this on Father’s Day  in his memory.

These days I make oatmeal for my family. We only like the regular kind, not the quick oats, which taste mushy. (We really dislike the flavored packaged stuff, which is overly sweet and tastes artificial.) Oatmeal really does lower cholesterol, so if you need to keep yours down, it is a delicious choice.

Serves 2

ingredients

2 cups water

1 cup oatmeal

¼  cup raisins

½ tsp cinnamon

shake or two of salt

a handful of walnut pieces

I mix the cinnamon and raisins with the water and oats, which adds a natural sweetness. 1/8 cup raisins per person is 70 calories.

ingredients in pot

Boil,  then cook for 5 minutes on medium flame, stirring often. When it’s done,  add maybe a teaspoon of maple syrup if you want it a bit sweeter. Serve with milk  (or soy milk for a vegan version.) I like to add walnuts to the oatmeal. It adds a delicious crunch as well as extra protein for making it through the morning.

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