Saturday, January 25, 2014

Apple Cinnamon Slow Cooker Oatmeal

Are you still stuck in this polar vortex?!

It's freezing (or below) here in Providence, and there's still snow all over the ground. While hiding out in my cozy house on my cozy couch, I was inspired to make some really cozy food. Enter: the slow cooker.

We have a nice little slow cooker stowed away in our cabinet, yet no one in my house (including myself) use it very often. But let me tell you, it's amazing! I always forget about the wonders of a slow cooker. In this case, dump everything in, let it go overnight, and wake up to the incredible aroma of vanilla and  warm cinnamon. It doesn't get much better than that.

This awesome steel-cut oatmeal was approved by all my housemates and even the guys who live next door. Everyone loved it drizzled with honey - and I bet they didn't even know it had flaxseeds in it. See?! Healthy food that actually tastes good!

Speaking of healthy food, steel cut oats are the best. They're chewier and heartier than regular oats, plus they don't get gummy and weird if you cool and reheat them. You know those packets of flavored instant oatmeal that are touted as health food? Well, not so much. Here's a little oat story.

Oats start out as whole grains. The hulls are removed, leaving you with the groat. I've seen whole oat groats in the bulk section at Whole Foods, looking just like this:
Organic Whole Oat Groats

The next step down from the whole oat is steel cut oats - groats that are basically just chopped up so that they cook faster.
Organic Steel Cut Oats

Then, we get into the more processed stuff. Rolled oats are whole groats that are steamed, rolled out, steamed again, and toasted to become what we usually think of as oats. That processing makes rolled oats easier (faster) to digest, leaving us hungry sooner.
Rolled Oats

Lastly, we come to instant oats. You probably guessed it by now, but these are the most processed. They're whole groats that are steamed, rolled, chopped, cooked, and then dehydrated...not so much a "whole grain" anymore, huh?

Oats Instant
Anyways, this is just my very lengthy way of saying that you're probably better off buying steel cut oats (they're cheap as heck in the bulk section), tossing them in the slow cooker one night, and reheating them for the rest of the week, than you are buying highly-processed, not-as-filling "oats" supplemented with a handful of sugar and artificial flavors. Sorry dad, I know I'm bursting your bubble here (love you!). 

If that all made sense and you're still here for an awesome, comforting breakfast recipe, here you go!

Apple Cinnamon Slow Cooker Oatmeal:

Makes 8 serving
  • 2 cups steel cut oats
  • 2 1/2 cups milk (dairy or nondairy; I used unsweetened almond milk)
  • 6 cups water
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseeds
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla exract
  • 3 small apples, finely chopped
  • Garnish (optional): honey, chopped apples, walnuts
  1. Put all ingredients in the bowl of a slow cooker.
  2. Set on low and let cook overnight or for about 8 hours.
  3. Stir (the spices and apples will probably end up on top) and serve!


  1. i'm making these tonight! Thanks for the recipe!

    1. Awesome, let me know how it turns out!