One of the benefits of afternoon kindergarten is the morning play-date.
One of the challenges of the morning play-date, however, is what to serve. See, I like to provide snacks, and usually of the homemade variety, when having people over to our house. But when having people over for breakfast, that either means waking up way earlier than I want to or preparing things ahead of time.
For today's play-date, I found something that I could prepare ahead of time, but that would still provide something warm and delicious - pumpkin oatmeal that you make in the crockpot. How cool is that?
Now, you probably know by now that my preference is always for buying and eating my foods as fresh as possible. Unfortunately, finding fresh pumpkin is a little difficult in March. So I made due with canned.
The other interesting ingredient for these was the oats. Not that oats are new or odd, but for oats that you plan to cook for such a long time, the best ones to use are steel cut, rather than the old fashioned rolled oats I already have. I had never actually seen steel cut oats before, and found them quite fascinating when I opened the container.
The preparation was pretty much as easy as could be. Take all ingredients and put them into the crock pot.
A quick stir, put on the lid, set the cooker to low, then go to sleep.
Doesn't get much easier than that.
When I went into the kitchen in the morning, it smelled pretty darn good. So I took the lid off of the slow cooker, gave the contents a quick stir, and here's what we had, all ready for breakfast with our friends:
Okay, okay, I'll admit that it didn't look all that extraordinary all in the pot tucked in the corner, but the smell was heavenly, and it plated up beautifully.
And the best part? Everyone liked it! Little miss said it tasted like pumpkin pie. My friend and I thought it was delicious. The highest complement? Even little man liked it! Score!
The only downside is that it makes a huge batch, and oatmeal generally doesn't re-heat well out of the fridge, but I'll cross that bridge when I get to it... like... tomorrow morning...
Overnight Pumpkin Oatmeal
(slightly adapted from Laa Loosh)
1 15 oz can of canned pumpkin
5 cups water
1 1/2 cups steel-cut oats
1/3 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 heaping teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 (scant) teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
optional - garnish with a few dried cranberries, for a fabulous taste and dislpay
Combine all ingredients (except dried cranberries) in slow cooker. Cook on low for six hours. Stir well before serving. Sprinkle dried cranberries on top of each serving, if desired.